Editor’s Note: Any person who has had an individual or a group of people come to help with a tangible need knows how encouraging that help is. Max and Phyllis Tucker offer that kind of help. They have found their niche in helping others with common ministry matters. They are Barnabases for local churches today. Here are some frequently asked questions Max receives, followed by his answers.

Why did you choose the name “Barnabas” for your ministry?

My wife, Phyllis, and I were both born and raised in Ohio, and for the past nearly seven years we have had a wonderful experience serving as church-planting coordinator for the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches. In this capacity we have taken on a Barnabas-type ministry, which we now continue as consultant for Baptist Church Planters in Elyria. Barnabas of Bible times was known as an encourager and a great helper to the apostle Paul and to the early New Testament church (Acts 4:36; 13:2–5).

We have heard of a special ministry that God has given you in church financing, especially in the area of church building programs. Can you share a little bit of that with us?

In the mid-1950s, while I was pastor of Fostoria Baptist Church in Fostoria, Ohio, it was necessary for our church to sell its building and relocate. My wife and I had just returned from a Bible conference in New York, where the emphasis was simply upon prayer and faith. We, therefore, approached this challenge to build by laying the following foundation. We titled it, “A Program for Progress— a Spiritual Happening.” Here were the main points:

• Prayer is not everything, but everything is gotten through prayer.

• God will not do apart from prayer what He has promised to do in and through prayer.

• We are to importune not the reluctance of God but the will of God.

• Prayer produces an active faith; faith honors God; and God honors faith.

We believe that simple yet earnest prayer brings the infilling of the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit of God brings wisdom and divine guidance. The writer and theologian A. W. Tozer feared that if the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from our churches today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and nobody would know any difference. Yet if the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would have known the difference.

With this foundation laid, we began the ministry of prayer in our church. We prayed that God would give us a buyer for our building, and it was sold in a few days. We prayed that God would give us land in a place we considered the best spot in the community, and God gave us the land.

With that provision in place, what challenge was left to be conquered?

I, along with other members of the church, did not want to raise funds to pay off the building loan by worldly methods and pledge card pressure. While I consulted with godly elder statesmen, a deacon from another church suggested that we study the precepts and principles in 2 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 24.

We followed that advice and created an offering process that we titled “The Joash Offering.” We called upon God’s people to give sacrificially as they had never given before. Did they ever! This continued throughout our ministry in Hobart, Indiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan—the list goes on and on, including churches we did not pastor.

Would you give us a look at the “Joash Offering” and how you implemented it?

First, we implemented the following talking points found in 2 Kings and 2 Chron­icles:

• Second Kings 12:2 says that “Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD.” He was raising money.

• In verse 4 we see that raising money was a spiritual happening because every man gave as he purposed in his heart (cf. 2 Co­rinthians 9:7).

• In 2 Chronicles 24:8 we see that the people made a chest, which we call the Joash Chest, to receive the sacrificial gifts.

• Verse 9 states that they made a proclamation so all would understand what was taking place.

• Verse 10 reports that the people “rejoiced,” or were wrapped in joy, as they gave.

• According to verse 11, the money came in great abundance.

We understand there is an initial kickoff banquet.

Yes, we gather the entire congregation together for a Joash Banquet. The decorations, music, and skits follow the theme “Building for God.” However, the theme is different for churches that are not in a building program but are instead seeking to increase their overall financial giving.

At the close of the presentation, every family is given a card that reads, “By the grace of God, we will give a quarterly sacrificial offering in the amount of ____.” Then all the individuals and families go to various places in the building for private prayer, asking God to lead them concerning their giving. The cards are between the individual and God, and therefore they are not signed. They are then placed in a beautiful Joash Chest to be counted.

We are thrilled to report that during the past fifty years, no offering has been less than the amount recorded on the cards. As a matter of fact, much more has been given. Also, at the time of the sacrificial giving, all the other offerings of the church have increased. And we are equally thrilled that God has honored the faith of His people, and many surprising donations have come from unexpected places. As we write this article, we have just received an invitation to speak at Faith Baptist Church in Kenton, Ohio. This church will be celebrating its fifth anniversary of the Joash offering. Congratulations to Pastor Dennis Burns and the Faith Baptist congregation!

Tell us about those surprising donations from unexpected places.

This would take a couple of chapters in a book, because there are so many, but permit me to list just a few:

In Fostoria Baptist Church, Fostoria, Ohio, a man who had not wanted to sell us the land not only sold us the land but then returned the check as a donation; thus the land we had prayed for was a miraculous gift.

In First Baptist Church, Hobart, Indiana, an unsaved contractor donated an addition to the building, which we could not afford at the time of the construction of the building.

In other churches, a beautiful pipe organ, an entire air-conditioning unit, and a water sprinkling system were donated. In another place, land was given in an area where there was expected to be a population explosion, which bodes well for the future ministry of the church.

Seeing those things happen is not the motive; it is the result of a spiritual happening. God wants to meet our needs and bless us abundantly, because this will make an eternal spiritual impact on men and women, boys and girls.

Now that you are a seasoned citizen, are you excited about your future ministry?

Someone has well said, “Years wrinkle the skin, but the lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” By God’s grace, we do not want to have our enthusiasm dampened by spiritual apathy and lack of service for Him.

What specific area of your ministry might help pastors and churches with financial challenges?

Our “Program for Progress” is designed for those who do not want big, costly stewardship planners and plans. We introduce this program by first meeting with the pastor for an afternoon of prayer, seeking divine guidance and wisdom. A few weeks later, we follow with a meeting with the leadership of the church. If we are all on the same page and believe it is the will of God, we take the program to the entire congregation, either on a Sunday morning or on a weekday with a “Spiritual Happening Banquet.”

Bible conferences, evangelistic meetings, and missionary conferences are additional areas of our ministry that pastors and churches find helpful.

Max Tucker served as senior pastor for forty-eight years and for the past six years as Church Planting Coordinator for the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches. He is currently involved in Bible conference ministries, including church finance and building programs. Max and Phyllis are also consultants for Baptist Church Planters of Elyria, Ohio. The Tuckers live in Lancaster, Ohio, and can be reached at (740) 654-6181 or pltucker5@juno.com.