you are needed

We've all heard the ways we can get involved in missions: pray, give, or go. However, Dennis calls us to a broader, more robust and personal approach to service in God's Kingdom. You are needed!

In god’s economy, the gifts of each contribute to all

As the ministry presentation rounded the final corner and prepared for a timely landing, the seasoned missionary challenged the audience to partner with the ministry to build the Kingdom of God. The needs were critical. The call was compelling. Kingdom citizens are needed for active involvement in the Kingdom! And the options for involvement were clear: pray for the ministry, support the ministry financially, or volunteer time as a worker in the ministry. As I listened, however, I found myself wondering whether these really were the only three categories for active service in the Kingdom of God.

We’ve all heard the calls to action: pray, give, or go. These three aspects are necessary components of every ministry, and the Kingdom needs many more people involved in these ways. But as we face the enormous task of taking the Gospel to every nation, and as we encounter never-ending opportunities and challenges in ministry, do these three words adequately encompass all that is needed?

The global operations of the US military offer a small parallel to the task faced by today’s mission organizations. While we do not agree with the work being done by this conglomerate, Paul also used the military to draw parallels with the Christian life (see I Timothy 2:3-4). Two lessons stand out as we look at the infrastructure of the US military: the need for support personnel and the value of partnerships between the military and private enterprise.

About 10% of military members see active combat. While this number varies based on the number of combat zones at any given time, on average 90% of those enlisted in the military serve in support roles rather than on the front lines. In fact, mechanics comprise the largest group of personnel in the military. While this may seem surprising, it makes efficient and skilled operations possible. After all, it would be foolish for a skilled pilot in the air force to be required to fuel the plane, replace the tires, or service the engines. It would likewise be foolish for a skilled mechanic with years of experience diagnosing and repairing airplanes to be placed in the danger of front-line combat.

“As citizens of the Kingdom of God, it is important that we individually realize our opportunities for active involvement.”

In contrast, ministry organizations sometimes downplay the need for support personnel. Mission workers on the front lines also serve as bookkeepers, graphic designers, and kitchen workers. Those skilled in culinary arts or communication are asked to minister on the front lines in ways that may not align with their giftings and training. Sometimes this is caused by a misguided view of what “efficiency” looks like in a ministry. After all, hiring too many support personnel will result in a ministry’s overhead consuming a larger portion of their budget than may be deemed acceptable. Unfortunately, in the process of promoting low overhead we may inadvertently deny our frontline ministry personnel the support they need to truly thrive and pursue their God-given calling.

Another lesson we can learn from the US military is the way they partner with private businesses. For example, where would the air force be without Boeing or Lockheed Martin? The only two shipyards in the USA that manufacture nuclear-powered submarines are owned by private companies. Private companies can innovate and operate more quickly and efficiently than government agencies. Private enterprise can also use its knowledge and infrastructure gained by working for its commercial customers to benefit its work for the military.

For example, Boeing recently reported that less than 30% of its revenue is from producing equipment for the US military. Over 70% of its income was from commercial airlines and the support services it provides to its customers. While the $23 billion received from the US military is an enormous number, it is reasonable to believe that without the other $53 billion received from other sources Boeing would have difficulty maintaining the same level of research and development and global support infrastructure that makes it so valuable in its partnership with the military.

In a similar way, ministries depend heavily on for-profit businesses to further their callings. While financial support is an obvious way independent businesses partner with ministries, businesses have found many other ways to be actively involved in Kingdom work. For example:

  •  Artists, graphic designers, and printers serve ministries by designing eye-catching newsletters and websites and by printing and mailing information to ministry partners.
  • Construction workers provide critical support for ministries by building their facilities and helping maintain and upgrade existing structures.
  • Attorneys help ministries avoid difficult legal situations and work through details when conflicts arise.
  • Doctors bring their expertise to Kingdom work by helping workers meet immunization requirements and by providing advice and care to those who contract diseases that may be uncommon in the USA.
  • Computer programmers inject efficiency and accuracy into a ministry’s operations by providing software customized to the needs of the organization.
  • Accountants enable ministries to maintain donors’ trust and avoid governmental interference by accurately tracking and reporting on the ministry’s financial aspects.

If we did not have individuals and for-profit businesses in our list of clients, it would be difficult for our accounting firm to maintain the level of education and infrastructure needed to serve ministries well. Our ability to charge going rates for the services we provide to non-ministry clients enables us to partner with ministries by providing professional services at a very reasonable price.

The global work of the Kingdom of God is much greater than our front-line workers can accomplish alone. Ministries must utilize support personnel and partnerships with for-profit enterprise to increase their effectiveness around the world.

As citizens of the Kingdom of God, it is also important that we individually realize our opportunities for active involvement. The work of spreading the Gospel is not limited to praying, giving, and going. As Kingdom citizens, we must individually embrace involvement that can go beyond these three ways. Sometimes our calling is to serve those on the front lines by honing our Godgiven abilities and finding ways to enable ministry work while working in for-profit businesses.

A story from the early church highlights the need for Kingdom workers beyond those on the front lines. In Acts 6 we read that an incident arose in the church concerning the distribution of food to needy widows. The wise response of the apostles to this issue is instructive for our ministries today: “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” (Acts 6:2, KJV). Instead, support personnel were called to fill this need, while the apostles continued to “give [themselves] continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4, KJV). These support personnel were not seen as second-class citizens of the Kingdom. Their job description included the high requirement to be “men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3, KJV). 

In a vote of confidence to those involved in supporting front-line workers, God chose Stephen, one of these support personnel, to bear the honored title of being the first martyr among the followers of Jesus. In the Kingdom of God, those on the front lines and those in support roles have equal importance. Both have the privilege of being part of the glorious advance of the Kingdom of God that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against (Matthew 16:18).


  1. https://www. what-percentage-of-themilitary-sees-combat/
  2. These companies are General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls
  3. Boeing Corporation, 2019 Form 10-K