Self-supporting, Bi-vocational ’Tentmakers’
Anchor command. Make
sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with
what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I
ever forsake you” Hebrews 13:5
Anchor story. Aquila,
Priscilla and Paul served Christ as ‘bi-vocational’ tentmakers. Acts 18
Anchor verse. “These
hands ministered to my own needs and to
the men who were with me. … Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He
Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35
Learning goal. Affirm that Paul and
other apostles and church planters often served the Lord without pay,
supporting themselves by manual labor.
Growth goals. Be willing, even eager,
to serve as self-supporting (bi-vocational) “tentmakers,” or, if receiving
pay, respect and multiply volunteer, non-paid workers.
Skill goal. Mobilize many
bi-vocational pastors and church planters.
Outcome goal. Many volunteer workers support themselves and serve the
Body of Christ
Lord Jesus, we love you and want to
serve you. Please, prosper the work of our hands, so that we can meet our
daily needs, can continue serving your Body, and can extend your Kingdom into
and Pricilla had a small business and employed Paul.
Learn from the activities of Priscilla
and Aquila, Acts 18.
did Priscilla and Aquila have to leave Rome and settle in Corinth? Verses
did the apostle Paul stay with Priscilla and Aquila? 3
did the three workers earn their living? 3
did the Lord assure Paul of his safety? 9-10
Long Did Paul stay in Corinth? 11
people tried unsuccessfully to have Paul arrested for his teaching? 12-16
did Paul, along with Priscilla and Aquila, sail to? 18
powerful speaker did Aquila and Priscilla mentor in Ephesus? 24-26
did Apollo’s crew to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ? 27-28
Plan with coworkers activities that you and
your coworkers will do next week. Ask God to help you find and mobilize
several bi-vocational workers to evangelize and gather new churches.
the story of Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, and ask the believers questions
what the story tells them about the way Christian workers can be supported.
the believers to talk about bi-vocational work.
bi-vocational workers give a testimony of how God has blessed
Encourage the believers to look
for ways in which they can serve the Body of Christ while earning their own
the children to present what they
Those who teach children should read study #58 for children.
introduce the Lord’s Supper, read Matthew
the man who attended a wedding who did not wear the proper garment. Compare
that to Aaron who had to wear the special priestly costume when serving at
Explain that we, too, must “put on
Christ” as our spiritual clothing when we come to the Lord’s Table.
Memorize together Acts
your heart and mind by prayer and the Word of God to recruit new workers.
In many places shepherds and apostles must have another job to support
themselves while serving the Body of Christ, as Aquila and Priscilla did.
These places include …
a. Where believers are
starting many new congregations and cells.
b. Where you, or the
apostles that you send, need to demonstrate a proper attitude toward labour,
as Paul did for lazy Thessalonian Christians, 2 Thessalonians
c. Where civil
authorities are hostile towards followers of Jesus.
d. Where believers are
too poor to pay their shepherds and must train many new leaders rapidly.
your flock reproduces by starting new cells and congregations, you must
recruit new leaders and help them to know what they are to do, and to serve
steadily. As you start new flocks in other towns and far-away places, perhaps
you or the apostles you send can start a small business to support
the Apostle Paul described Aquila and Priscilla who supported themselves. (3)
the place they and Paul worked in together was a safe or was hostile. (4)
the congregation that they attended met. (5)
Plan with your co-workers activities for the week
and for starting new flocks.
with your co-workers what you learned about Aquila and Priscilla. Explain to
your co-workers that they have two jobs, a secular job to earn their living
and a pastoral job that they do for the Lord. Discuss with them whether
members of the flock should start a small business that would allow them to
go start new flocks.
what kind of small business ‘tentmakers’ should develop.
should be a business that can be taken to another town or city.
business should be small enough to manage by themselves.
should be able to employ a co-worker who also works to start new flocks.
should be easy to start, using a simple technology and inexpensive materials.
should provide contact with people of the local community.
should allow bi-vocational workers to choose their own working hours.
It should enable them to
serve the Lord in their own home.
Pray to discern the Lord’s will about the business.
Discuss what kind of shepherding work they should do. Since
they will not have many resources or a lot of free time, they must…
a new flock in their own home until others open their homes.
disciples in small flocks, not in public places or chapels.
new leaders privately or in very small groups.
training materials like the study you are reading right now.
Studies should be cheap, easily-copied, and menu-driven
(having options from which to choose).
worship, have the believers form small groups to encourage one
another, plan together and pray one for another and for people living in