The idea of tent-making has largely fallen on hard times in the 21st Century. The general consensus seems to be—either you’re “good enough” to preach full time, or else go and get a real job and pay your bills; don’t look to us for hand-outs.
Usually in our day the only “tent-makers” that make it build very fancy tents. In other words, they are well-to-do businessmen who can afford to take time off from successful careers.
What would we do with a man like Paul? He’s the one who modeled tent-making for us (see Acts 18:1-4). More than likely his tent business didn’t cover all his costs. In fact, he tells us that one purpose of his trade was to help support less known young men working with him.
We need to do some creative thinking in this area. Certainly the Great Commission in North America will not be fulfilled at the present rate. We hope to have a report in a subsequent issue about a group of men in Quebec who are doing just that—thinking creatively about tent-making.
C.S. was a tent-maker: “It may be asked by some, how could I preach all my life in so many places and provide for my family? Well, I found there was nothing too hard for the Lord…my custom was to preach three or four times a week, sometimes more, and work the rest…the Lord often helped in a remarkable way.”