By Aaron Babyar
The following article is in partnership with SRS and was originally published via supportraisingsolutions.org.
“We don’t need insurance, because we trust God, and He is our provider.”
“Prayer is our form of health insurance! ”
“Healthcare? Nah, it’s gonna be OK, because we are ministry workers, God will take care of us! ”
If you’ve ever thought, or even said, words like this, I am concerned for you. I hope it’s not too late for me to convince you to avoid a quite painful end that follows failing to prioritize the necessary steps to care for your own healthcare needs.
It is true that we need faith in Him and his plan for our lives. Additionally, it’s true that He is our provider. It is also true that our creator provided you with a brain, and He expects you to use it!
I was foolish with insurance, and I hope you might to learn from my error.
When I first started raising support for full-time ministry, I neglected to consider the cost of failing to plan properly in this area. I had just rolled off staff at a church for a fresh ministry vision that I was excited about, and I didn’t find it necessary (or want!) to pay the bills to keep our healthcare coverage. It felt more important to use our income for ministry, and to pay for my family’s day-to-day bills.
I told myself that we would be OK without healthcare coverage and that we would rely on prayer for our good health. My wife and kids were all healthy and once we got through the initial support-raising phase, I figured I would eventually go back and sign us up for a good insurance plan and maybe some simple investments for the future. I had a lot of faith, but not much wisdom.
Soon after we dropped off any sort of health coverage, my wife’s health began seriously deteriorating. Even though she had been healthy and athletic her whole life, the debilitating symptoms, constant pain, and numerous surgeries produced some gigantic medical expenses that endure to this day. I remember one moment specifically where she was in the midst of literally fighting for her life in the hospital. I was by her side as she attempted recovery following one of the four invasive brain surgeries she has endured thus far. In the midst of that, I opened one of several medical bills that had started to pile up. That particular bill alone was for $80,000! I was shocked.
We had no reason to think my wife was about to get really sick at the moment we chose to no longer pay for health insurance. By God’s grace she is a fighter, and is still fighting to have a decent quality of life. Health challenges have created a hard path physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet our medical bills have also brought an additional element of pain to our lives by putting us in a financial hole that has taken considerable effort and time to overcome.
Foregoing good health insurance coverage is just one area that we Christian workers living on support are often guilty of. We can claim all day long that we are exercising a “holy-inspired frugality”, but when we opt out of raising additional support for basic needs to protect and provide for our family, we are really just blind—and in denial. Choosing to ignore 1 Timothy 5:8 which says anyone “who doesn’t provide for their family is worse than an unbeliever” put my loved ones at risk. It also may have undermined the respect and testimony I seek to have with my family and friends.
Our family’s experience has clearly changed my thinking. I fully believe that God provides all things, in many different ways. As you prepare your budget and engage in raising support, be sure to consider more than groceries and rent–include healthcare, savings for emergencies, future college costs, retirement, disability, and life insurance in your vision-driven budget. The foresight to get these things in place before you report to your assignment, even if your ministry doesn’t require you to do so, will free you to fully focus on the ministry before you.
God will provide for your family and ministry. He will use YOU as the conduit for planning and procuring that provision as you raise your support. Yes, get on your knees and pray. Yes, trust. And yes, you’ll need to get up off your knees and make calls to set up more appointments. Pray and ask for wisdom as you approach each line item in your budget and get FULLY funded!