Tentmaking Tips

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What is Your Freedom Number?

general tentmaking May 03, 2024

Do you know your Freedom Number?

This is an important metric to track on your journey toward financial independence.

Your freedom number is the amount of money you need in investments in order for the return on investments to equal your living expenses.

Once you hit this number, your investments will pay your monthly expenses and you’ll become work optional.

Work optional just means that you can choose whether or not you want to continue generating more income since you don’t need it to sustain your lifestyle.

Many people think the best way to calculate your freedom number is to multiply your yearly expenses by 25. This is based on the 4% withdrawal rule in early retirement.

For example, if your annual expenses are $60,000, then $60,000 x 25 = $1,500,000 becomes your freedom number. Once you accumulate $1.5MM in investments, you can likely retire financially and live off your investments.

By reducing your annual expenses, your freedom number gets smaller, and you can...

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Is Tentmaking a Distraction?

general tentmaking Dec 08, 2023

Many of us grew up in a church context where the pastor was paid full-time.

Some of us even grew up in churches were many of the staff were paid full-time.

It’s easy for us to assume that our experience is the norm.

But it may surprise you to learn that many churches, perhaps most churches globally, don’t operate this way.

There just aren’t the funds available to pay a pastor full-time.

Most of us live in a context of great wealth. But most of the world doesn’t live in that context.

And the early church certainly didn’t live in that context.

Tentmaking is the norm. Funding pastors full-time is the exception.

It may not have been the norm in the church you grew up in, and that’s ok.

But, even in a Western context, there are thousands of bi-vocational pastors. They serve in churches where they get very limited pay, if any at all.

So, the first way I’d answer the question, “Is tentmaking a distraction?” is to say:

Far from being a...

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How to Get All of Our Courses Free

I’ve had quite a few conversations with pastors recently who are wanting to make extra money with real estate.

I tell them I’m glad to help. Then, I direct them to the free resources we offer like:

But it’s usually the case that they want to pay extra for additional courses & coaching.

I tell them about some of our paid products and then share the ways they can get those free as well.

After all, if I’m teaching hacks to get free travel or live nearly free, shouldn’t I give hacks for getting my paid content for free? Ha!

Here are the ways I tell them they can get any or all of our courses for free (and you could too):

  1. Follow my step-by-step guide to earn an extra $1,200 quickly and apply that to any or all of the courses
  1. Refer 3 friends to any course and get all of the course...
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10 Advantages of Tentmaking

general tentmaking Jan 06, 2023

While some might see being a tentmaker, bi-vocational, or co-vocational as less than ideal, there are actually many advantages.

So many, in fact, that perhaps you will find it could be preferable to full-time paid ministry in some cases.

Here are 10 advantages (in no particular order):

  1. Reduces church budget

    Especially when you’re planting a church or serving in a small church, the salary of the pastor can be a significant percentage of a budget. And even if you serve in a larger church, the salaries collectively are likely a large percentage of the budget. If you were to remove your salary, or even part of it, that could greatly lessen the strain on the church budget.

  1. Sets an example of hard work

    Paul gave this as a reason for tentmaking when he was working among the Thessalonians (2 Thes 3:7). There was a laziness problem in the church and he wanted to set an example for the church of what it looked like to work hard in order to honor God.

  1. Not a hindrance in any way...
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How I Came Off the Church Payroll in 3 Years

On February 17, 2017, I sent a letter to our Board of Elders asking them to cut my salary $25,000 effective immediately. I told them my desire was to continue to ask them for salary reductions until my salary was $0.

2 years and 9 months later, I asked for the last reduction all the way down to $0.

I was off the payroll and it was a dream come true!

You’re probably thinking, “Are you crazy?”

Haha. Yes, a little.

Our church was doing fine financially during those years. The elders were glad to continue paying me full-time. Other staff continued to get paid full-time.

But, in the Feb 2017 email, I gave the elders 2 reasons I wanted to come off the payroll. It was a long e-mail, but I’ll share a little of what I wrote to them here:

  1. “We are beginning to cast the vision for ordinary men & women to start making disciples & planting churches themselves. You heard me talking about this in our Meltdown series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) & you...
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How to Make Your First $1,000 Tentmaking

general tentmaking Dec 02, 2022

A few weeks ago I talked about how you can overcome the fear of tentmaking. You can read that blog here.

I encouraged you to focus on just making your first $1,000. I want to share a number of ways you can make your first $1,000 tentmaking.

  1. Redeem Credit Card Rewards for Cash

    I wrote a PDF guide which explains this process called "Make an Extra $1,200 Quickly" that you can download here. The gist is that you’ll apply for cards with high welcome bonuses, earn those bonuses in the first three months, and then redeem the points for cash. I think this is likely the easiest way to make your first $1,000.

  1. Earn Checking Account Sign-Up Bonuses

    It’s common for banks to offer cash rewards for setting up a checking account with them and completing certain qualifying activities. You likely won’t get all $1,000 by setting up one account but if you set up accounts at multiple institutions, you could likely come close. For example, right now at Chase, they are...

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Overcoming the Fear of Tentmaking

general tentmaking Nov 04, 2022

The thought of tentmaking scares a lot of pastors, missionaries and others in ministry. Many of them have never worked outside of ministry and they wonder if they have the skills to be successful.

I’ve got good news.

The gifting that many people in ministry have is exactly what’s needed to be successful in a side business. You need to love people & serve them well. And you need to help them solve a problem they have. Most of you are already great at that!

Christian counselors help people overcome fear by strengthening faith in God and taking small steps of increasing exposure to that fear over time.

The solution to fear is not to suppress it, avoid it, or deny it. It’s to trust God & gradually be exposed to the fear over time until your fear is diminished.

The same is true with tentmaking.

The best way to overcome the fear of tentmaking is faith & exposure. Trust God & start doing a little bit of tentmaking. We’re not talking about quitting...

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4 Reasons I Started Tentmaking

general tentmaking Sep 23, 2022

Why did I begin a tentmaking journey?

It’s a good question.

I certainly didn’t “have” to. I was paid full-time by our church and the elders were glad to continue paying me. There was no financial struggle involved.

So, why do it?

I’ll give you 4 reasons.

  1. It’s a joy to do ministry for free.

    When we moved back to Lubbock after graduating from seminary to start our church, we had no income. Our sponsor church was unable to help us financially, so we had to raise our personal support and also a budget for the church.

    We had many generous people give to help fund a salary for me and my family and a start-up budget for our church.

    Once our church started, all of the tithes and offerings went directly to church ministries because my salary had been covered for the first 2 years. I loved this!

    After 2 years, the church had the funds to bring me on the payroll, and while I was grateful, I really enjoyed not being on the payroll. Soon after coming on the...

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5 Myths About Tentmaking

general tentmaking Aug 05, 2022

Many people don’t understand tentmaking & have never tried it themselves, so myths can circulate in their minds regarding what it’s all about. I want to help dismantle some of these myths.

1. Tentmaking will require me to come off the payroll at my ministry.

That’s simply not true. Tentmaking is not an all or nothing proposition. Some people want to continue getting paid by their ministry but want to generate some extra income from tentmaking for family vacations or other extra costs that might not fit in the budget. Tentmaking allows you to generate additional streams of income & how much you make in tentmaking is really up to you.

2. Tentmaking will take way too much time.

This is also a myth. I generate full-time income through tentmaking and it takes me a few hours each week. From the beginning of my tentmaking journey, I made sure I never spent so much time that I felt distracted from my ministry. I wanted tentmaking to be like a hobby and I only...

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How to Begin a Tentmaking Journey

Maybe you’ve thought about doing some tentmaking on the side but you’re not sure where to begin.

I’d love to help.

By tentmaking, we mean earning money to support your ministry from outside your ministry. This could be supplemental income if you already have a ministry income. Or it could completely replace a ministry income and you could derive all of your income outside of your ministry.

Here are 4 steps to begin a tentmaking journey:

1. Determine how much extra income you need

Are you just needing an extra $5,000 each year? Or are you needing part-time income? Or do you need full-time income? This will help you decide what types of tentmaking opportunities to pursue.

2. Determine how much time you have to generate this extra income

Do you only have a few hours available each week or could you spend more time? Depending on the type of ministry you’re in now, you may either have quite a bit of flexibility to pursue tentmaking on the side or you may have...

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