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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

Should A Church Borrow Money To Do God’s Work?


All the instructions, promises and patterns that I find in the Bible teach me to answer this question with an emphatic “No”. All my ministerial experience also says the same.

I find it extremely imprudent to borrow money to do God’s work.

  • It portrays our God as One who commands His people to do a work, without providing for it, even though they do not have the means to accomplish it.
  • It expresses distrust in the promises of God that He will provide for His work.
  • It entices the church to rely on rich men and banks for aid.
  • It distracts people from seeking God’s guidance and provision with genuine reliance upon Him.
  • It causes the church to presume that it can engage in any project as long as money is made available through the credit scheme.
  • It brings the church under heavy debt and monetary obligations to the lender.
  • It allows the church’s programme and plans to be determined and guided by secular principles and ideologies rather than God’s revealed Word of promise and wisdom.
  • It denies the church of a great opportunity to teach its people how to live with contentment and by faith, and not on credit.

By God’s grace, in Gethsemane B-P Church, we have so many wonderful experience of God’s unfailing provision for all the ministries and ministers of the church. Whenever there were needs in the ministry, whether small or big, we prayed and the Lord provided.

Just consider a few of the many needs of our church’s ministry, which the Lord has provided, without the church looking for any kind of loan. We have acquired our Church Resource Centre for S$600,000/-, without any debt. We purchased two lorries for The Gethsemane Care Ministry for more than S$100,000/-. We have purchased two church vans, the first one for more than S$80,000/-, and the second one for about S$60,000/-. We also bought a small van for our mission church in Cebu, the Philippines, for about S$24,000/-. Just about a week ago, we have reached S$500,000/- for the fund to build a church and Bible college in Ethiopia. Today, the church supports 25 people who are in the full-time ministry. The average monthly rental of our church’s premises is about S$10,000/-. Last year, the church’s total annual expenses exceeded S$850,000/-, but the Lord provided us with more than S$875,000/-. Is it not amazing that a small church of 180 members could do all these without borrowing, not even once, to meet all these needs? All of us in Gethsemane know that we are not a group of rich people who can meet this kind of huge financial needs in the ministry. Whenever the need arose, we prayed, sometimes even with fasting, God provided. God is our provider, not banks nor a lender. We live not on credit, but on His promises. Blessed be His name!

“The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20).

A Testimony Of Thanksgiving

First of all, I would like to thank God for His mercy and love towards me. It was in January 1999 in Ethiopia that I first received the call to serve the Lord full-time. After two years, by God’s grace, I had an opportunity to join a local church to serve Him. Through this ministry I had the privilege of serving in that local church for 5 years. At the same time, I began looking around for a Bible college, praying that God would open a door for me, according to His will.

In 2005, I joined one of the Bible colleges in Ethiopia, where I met Pastor Ephrem. I recall that when I began my studies at the Bible college, Pastor Ephrem was teaching I Corinthians. What impressed me about his teaching was that it was sound and deep, much different from what I had encountered before in my local church. I was touched and admonished by his teaching, especially concerning tongue-speaking, because at that time I did not believe that tongues had ceased. Subsequently, I decided to ask Pastor Ephrem some questions about his faith and doctrine. That was when he explained to me his belief in fundamental, reformed Christian doctrines. I decided there and then to learn the doctrines of Bible- Presbyterianism. For nearly three months, he solidly taught me the B-P doctrines. I was then further convicted of the truth and decided that I would serve God together with Pastor Ephrem.

After a few years, by God's grace, our mother church offered me an opportunity to study God's Word in Singapore. When I first heard it, my heart was filled with joy, because in His own time, God had answered my prayers for a good college to have theological training. I never planned to come to Singapore, but by God's providential leading, I was accepted to study in Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). So on July 12, 2007, I came to Singapore.

I am finishing a three-year programme in FEBC. The courses offered in FEBC have indeed given me a strong foundation and a sound biblical knowledge to build up my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. A deep and thorough knowledge of fundamental doctrines is very important for my future ministry as well as my spiritual life. I wish to thank God for our mother church, for the kindness and generosity of Pastor and brethren who have supported and continue to support me, that I may see God’s plans come to fruition in my life.

Indeed, many of you have been a great source of encouragement during my stay in Singapore. Thank you all, for you have shown me true brotherly love. I would like to acknowledge our Pastor (who is also the FEBC's Dean of Students), Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy, for personally supervising and taking care of me during my studies in FEBC. Especially in my first Semester, as a new student, I remember I became very discouraged in my studies. I found it extremely difficult to cope because the workload of assignments and course readings were very heavy for me. Throughout that difficult time, Pastor always encouraged me, and never once did he give up on me. Looking back, I think he truly demonstrated his pastoral love! I thank God for granting us such a godly example in our Pastor. I am also thankful to all my lecturers in FEBC who taught me and guided me.

Recently, I experienced some kind of discomfort and illness in my body. This troubled me greatly, but I dared not tell anyone. But God has graciously moved some brothers in our church to notice my uneasiness and brought me to see a doctor and get medication for my illness. The doctor was also a member of one of our B-P churches; and he has shown much kindness in treating my sickness. Praise the Lord that I am fully well now. May the Lord bless all of you in Gethsemane BPC, Singapore, for your kindness towards me!

At this juncture, I also want to give thanks to God for His provision for the building of a church and Bible college in Ethiopia. May God bless all cheerful givers. By God’s grace again, this Semester, I am going to graduate with a Diploma in Theology. After my graduation, my desire is to go back and help in the construction of the church and Bible college in Ethiopia. I would like to ask you to keep me in prayer.

Pray that the Lord may use me for the future ministry and for the extension of His kingdom here on earth. Also, pray that the Lord may find me faithful as I impart to my people the sound biblical teachings I have received from FEBC.

All glory be to God!

Your brother in Christ


Pastoral Exhortation