By Dick Scoggins
Dennis has been one of my most important sponsors, and one of the best examples of apostolic sponsors I know. He is a businessman who decided to follow Jesus during the time I was helping establish Kingdom communities in Rhode Island. Dennis is one of the most passionate, generous leaders I have ever met, and wanted to do apostolic work; however, God had clearly anointed him as a businessman to keep other apostles “on the job.”
After he got established in the faith, Dennis joined one of our apostolic teams just as I was moving to England. Though we were thousands of miles away from each other, Dennis was committed to supporting my ministry, kept in touch with me, and even traveled with me to several countries to strengthen those we were sponsoring. He began to do the same with some of his other relationships. Being a businessman, Dennis realized he could sponsor other entrepreneurs who used business to build Kingdom communities. Additionally, Dennis supplied start-up capital and offered business coaching to a number of Kingdom businesses in multiple countries.
Dennis modeled the diverse ways that a sponsor can offer support to an apostle. For me personally, without Dennis’ financial support, I would have been severely restricted in my own apostolic ministry. He too is accruing great rewards in the Kingdom of heaven. Though he hasn’t been on “the front lines” of apostolic work, by underwriting apostolic workers and their projects, he is key to seeing Christ known where the church isn’t. Throughout history, God has used such people who are gifted in making money and then invest it strategically to move the Kingdom of God forward. May God multiply many others who follow his example!
A note for younger apostles: In the postmodern era, it is likely that the traditional and current methods of financial support won’t work anymore. The result will be that a whole generation of older apostles who relied on financial donors in the past will increasingly lose their support and struggle to find new churches willing to give to “old timers.” It is important that you be sensitive to this as you seek out sponsors and mentors. The New Testament exhorts the younger generation on several occasions to share with those who are training them (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:13, Galatians 6:6). So I would urge apprentice apostles and teams of younger apostles to give financially to senior apostles who sponsor you.
A note for older apostles: If you want to be a sponsor, you can’t just offer advice; you have to be relational. Believe in the person and be willing to stick with them through the ups and downs of their ministry.
Here are some key points highlighting the numerous ways my sponsors have supported me throughout my apostolic career:
- Personal discipleship and character development that promotes ongoing growth
- Offering access to their personal networks to open doors for ministry
- Practically assisting to build my new ministries
- Navigating me through organizational politics to help me gain a place of leadership
- Providing personal training for what I lacked or arranging it for me (and paying for it)
- Giving lots of encouragement, including personally observing my ministries and offering help as needed
- Opening my eyes to move out of my comfort zone and existing patterns; getting me to face issues I would rather avoid, both personally and in my ministries
- Tracking with me and interacting on an ongoing basis—from months to even years
- Giving ongoing financial support for both my personal needs and for my work