Post 1 originally predicted this series would end at post 5. Instead, this post 10 will be the last in the Christians and Money Series. This journey is just short of 18,000 words has given me greater clarity to navigate the Wayside Ministry’s goal.
Due to the difficulty of forming a trusting, sincere relationship, there are many barriers between developing a Patron and Recipient relationship. Post 9 showed Patron and Recipient both have boundaries, life themes, and priorities. When they come together to form the Patron-Recipient relationship, these boundaries, life-themes, and priorities meld creates the common ground of a sincere, trusting relationship over time between them. The levels of trust and sincerity vary and change according to the unique blending outcomes.
Henceforth, the word boundaries or boundary used in this post shall mean boundaries, life themes, and priorities.
This post has the following sections to address practical issues arising from this blending.
- Wayside Ministry – A recap.
- Flexibility and Adaptability of the Wayside Ministry Models.
- Nature of Patron and Recipient Relationships.
- Patron and Recipient Boundary Concerns.
- Various Economic Scenarios of the Wayside Ministry.
- Practical Help of Wayside Ministry
Wayside Ministry- Recap
This Wayside Ministry was something both my wife and myself experimented with over the last 15 years. My wife started this independently without my knowledge. The neighborhood environment presented the environment for the Wayside Ministry.
The table shows the Wayside Ministry spanning a continuum across the categories of resource commitment level, duration of commitment, availability, and visibility. The table displays the flexibility of the Wayside Ministry to be able to adapt to various real-life scenarios. This adaptability is critical to accommodate the endless permutations of boundaries.
Flexibility and Adaptability
The Wayside Ministry is one of the means to experience soul salvation by fulfilling the 2nd Commandment of love, according to 1Pet1:7-9, 1:22. Remember, post 6 that presented the evidence to show the paramount importance of soul salvation?
This table shows a continuum of related traits that one can flexibly and interchangeably adopt in a single relationship.
E.g., Most Wayside relationships start as a Jesus’ model with sincere but low commitment and occasional engagement. As trust forms and sincerity reciprocated, this relationship gradually develops over time into a good neighbor relationship. If Recipient’s family social support becomes available, the innkeeper model or Jesus’ model is more relevant to allow family support to be the primary support.
The Wayside Ministry is to provide support where the traditional sources fail to materialize. It must never be the Wayside Ministry’s intention to deprive the Recipient’s family network of soul salvation opportunities.
The Wayside Ministry is not a linear model. The three models can function simultaneously within a single relationship. Where trust is present, the good neighbor model is relevant. But for areas where trust is insufficient, Jesus’ model is more appropriate. As such, the Patron needs to select the models flexibly and blend them to provide the best fit for the circumstances.
The Patron-Recipient relationship is predicated on God, presenting the opportunity to form a relationship. Without this opportunity, it will be an effort devoid of God’s purpose and will. In-other words, there is no stress to make this relationship happen. The Wayside relationship occurs organically.
The Patron also needs to recognize and expect that the Patron-Recipient relationship has an expiry date. The goal is to support the Recipient. The means is a trusting and sincere relationship (later sections will propose a framework to achieve this). Without the means, the goal is nonexistent. The ultimate GOAL is for one’s soul salvation that has eternal consequences.
Nature of Patron and Recipient Relationships
Patron and Recipient Relationships are Either Pre-existing Relationships or New Relationships
It is also common that the Patron has an existing relationship with the Recipient. This pre-existing relationship provides a natural entry engagement for the Patron-Recipient relationship to form. I know of one Patron-Recipient relationship that developed about 6 years after they have become friends. During these 6 years, the boundaries were exchanged and engaged based on friendship. When the Recipient fell on hard times, that friendship fostered the Patron-Recipient relationship.
When a new Patron-Recipient relationship is forming, the Wayside ministry has a likelihood to take the following pathway.
- Ice Breaker Stage to Clarify Superficial Boundaries
Usually, the Recipient has voiced the need for support. However, the boundaries relating to this Recipient is unknown, and the nature of support also requires clarification.
At this point, the Patron and Recipient are strangers. The ice breaker stage is a superficial exchange of boundary information. To show goodwill, after the Recipient clarifies the nature of help required, the Patron offers temporary and limited support according to their boundary conditions.
- Post Ice Breaker Stage, Hangover.
The help received will elicit a response from the Recipient. This response can assume the following forms. When the word
- The Recipient acknowledges the sincerity of the Patron and reciprocates to offer more boundary information. Likewise, the Patron offers more boundary information. This exchange fosters the consolidation of a Patron-Recipient relationship that mutually respects each other’s boundaries based on trust and sincerity.
- The Patron and Recipient do not feel that the boundaries were respected or acceptable. In such an instance, the relationship usually ends by mutual consent amicably. The Patron may maintain an offer to help even after the Recipient has decided to terminate this relationship.
- A blend of “a” and “b.” This outcome is usually the case because of incomplete boundary information. In such instances, either the Patron or the Recipient may seek clarity on the response and associated concerns relating to the boundaries. After that, the outcome could be a repeat of the Ice Breaker Stage, “a” or “b.” The Wayside Ministry model is flexibly adopted here to account for the dynamic nature of the outcomes.
- Relationship Nurturing Stage
The objective of the nurturing stage is to support Recipient independence, not deepening dependency. Independence occurs across the domains of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social. Fostering resilience in these 5 domains takes time and intimate knowledge of the Recipient’s situation and tapping or expanding the Recipient’s resources and social network.
The Patron may want to equip themselves with financial literacy, coaching skills, and counseling skills. The social domain involves connecting the Recipient with government social aid if they qualify, entreating their family members to partner with the Wayside Ministry effort, or inviting other like-minded parties willing to help with the permission of the Recipient.
Patron and Recipient Boundary Concerns
The Patron has the following boundary concerns.
- The Patron support is appearing or/and acting in a way that violates the Recipient’s privacy. Even worse is the Patron seems to control the life of the Recipient.
- Gender boundaries Confusing compassion for sexual attraction.
- The Patron support has conflicts with the Recipient’s next of kin/family authority or influence.
- The Patron support reinforcers the carnality of the Recipient.
- The Patron is held hostage by the Recipient, usually in the emotional sense, demanding support as an entitlement.
- The Recipient takes the Patron for granted as an infinite resource.
The Recipient has the following boundary concerns.
- Recipient privacy boundaries are not respected, and they feel their life is controlled or manipulated by the Patron.
- The Recipient’s family has conflicts with the Patron.
- The Recipient doesn’t want the Patron to view them as leeches. This worry compromises their sense of self-worth.
- The Recipient is afraid his actions jeopardize the Patron’s Commitment. In this way, his actions appear to be under surveillance.
It will take the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves to navigate the above concerns to attain harmony between the Patron and Recipient’s boundaries.
The guiding principle to attain harmony draws from the 1st and 2nd Commandments.
Firstly the 3 Do NO HARMs-
- Do NO HARM to God’s desire to help Man avoid carnality.
- Do NO HARM to the Patron’s sense of self-worth.
- Do NO HARM to the Recipient’s sense of self-worth.
Secondly, the dealings are sincere, respectful, and done with integrity.
If this harmony is of the 3 do no harm, sincerity, respect, and integrity are unachievable simultaneously after the post ice breaker stage, this means the Patron-Recipient relationship is not viable.
In actuality, the assessment of viability is not that clear cut and subjective. The measures of self-worth, sincerity, respect, and integrity are subjective. If the Patron and Recipient boundaries are too out of sync or overly complicated, this subjectivity gap or complexity could be the main barrier to forming a viable relationship. Simply put, the Patron and Recipient need to get along with one another.
Various Economic Scenarios of the Wayside Ministry
This section covers how to apply the Wayside Ministry blended model with the following economic baseline scenarios.
The Poor Single Income Scenario
This scenario has a single breadwinner income of $3,000.00, which is less than the median of $4,000.00 with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $500.00 per person below the $650.00, which partially meets the condition to qualify for social aid.
The family under this scenario cannot afford to help others but needs financial and social support. In this instance, the breadwinner’s primary soul salvation goal is to support the self and the family’s needs. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.
The Single Income Slightly Above Median Scenario
This scenario has a single breadwinner income of $6,000.00 is above the median of $4,000.00, with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1000.00 per person.
The family with this scenario is similar to the low single income scenario. There is no excess between income and expenses. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.
The Double Income Slightly Above Median Scenario with Dependents
This scenario has a double breadwinner income of $10,000.00 with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1500.00 per person.
The family with this scenario is similar to the low single income scenario, albeit with some excess. The income exceeds the expenses by $1,000.00 a month. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.
The 3 scenarios above are evidence of why apostle Paul encourages those who are single to remain single (1Co7:8) in-order that they may be able to serve the Lord without the encumbrances of family relationships. Nevertheless, apostle Paul recognized that not all are called to be single as he was (1Co7:7, 7:9).
I know of a family that has also experienced all the above 3 scenarios over their lives. The wife helped her neighborhood friends in need during this period, sometimes in the small sums of money to tie over a difficult period. However, due to her financial constraints, she usually offers nonfinancial help. For example, she would accompany them for medical appointments paying for the transport costs and representing them before the doctors due to language barriers. Another avenue of help was applying for government social aid on their behalf by completing the paperwork and passing the means test interview with the social worker.
Sometimes the help took the form of cleaning up their house that desperately needed upkeep due to their poor physical condition. The wife and her friend would partner with one another in this Wayside Ministry. The above examples show that the Wayside Ministry is still possible without being well off.
The Double Income Slightly Above Median Scenario without Dependents
This scenario has a double breadwinner income of $10,000.00 with 2 children and no dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1500.00 per person.
In such a scenario, the excess per month is $4,000.00. Setting aside 1/3 from this amount to support the Wayside Ministry amounts to about $1,300.00 a month.
Properties and Children’s Education
From my wealth stewardship journey, minimizing debt is a must, and settling one’s debts should be prioritized ahead of the wayside ministry. It is prudent and necessary not to burden oneself with untenable mortgages. Personally, my property had a multiplier of about 3 times the typical household median income (2 working adults = $8,000.00), and the loan was cleared by age 40.
Setting aside sufficient for the children’s education is the responsibility of the parents. The parental Wayside Ministry duties are the family before focusing outside the family.
The question is, how much is too much to allocate for property and education expenses? While the figures cited below are arbitrary, the quantum measured from the median baseline (see post 8) speaks for themselves to convey the excessiveness that Col3:5 calls idolatry (see Post 3 for more on Col3:5).
My convictions that buying properties (the home to stay, which is different from investment, see Conclusion section) and incurring educational expenses that exceed the following would be jeopardizing the potential of one’s soul salvation.
Property should cost the lower of the two
- Properties price should not cost more than three times one’s annual household income for those with a household income below the median.
- For household incomes above the median, properties should not cost more than 5-6 times (arbitrary number) the median annual household income. The median monthly income in post 8 was about SGD 4,000.00. If inclusive of employer’s contribution, 1-month yearly bonus, and dual-income household, the median monthly household income is about SGD 10,000.00 or SGD 120,000.00 on an annual basis. This guideline places the property prices between SGD$600,000.00 to SGD$ 720,000.00.
Education should cost no more than twice the cost of local university education.
Singapore local university education cost about $30,000,00 to $40,000.00 (excluding medical) for a 3 to 4-year undergraduate degree. See link – https://blog.moneysmart.sg/education/singapore-university-education-cost/
Factoring about SGD$15,000.00 per year for living expenses over 4 years, the total to fund a 4-year undergraduate education in Singapore is about SGD$100,000.00.
For example, if one is considering an overseas education, an Australian education cost about SGD30,000 a year, with the cost of living about SGD$20,000.00 a year. For a 4 year undergraduate course, the total is about SGD$200,000.00.
The Retiree Scenario at No. 6 Wealth Stage (see Post 8 that explains how this wealth stage is determined)
Assume this retiree couple has saved $1,200,000.00, which is about 2.2 times the minimum amount to qualify for stage 6 of the balanced wealth stage mentioned in post 7. Their monthly expenses are $3,000.00 a month.
This scenario assumes the home mortgage is paid off, fully funded children’s education needs, and accumulated 1.2 million in liquid assets. This scenario offers the retiree an adequate foundation to experience the Wayside Ministry. Conservatively, the allocated amount for the Wayside Ministry ranges between $1,000 to $2,000.00 per month to prevent prematurely exhausting the funds.
Practical Help of Wayside Ministry
- Offer regular logistical help to meet up doctor appointments, similar to the neighbor or innkeeper model.
- Clean the house on occasions, similar to the innkeeper model.
- Help them settle administrative matters with the authorities, banking, etc.
- Buy food and groceries on their behalf, similar to the innkeeper model.
- Start in small amounts such as paying for the meal or pay for the transport cost—low commitment, similar to Jesus’ model.
- Provide monthly financial assistance up to a maximum of $500.00 per person. Notably, $500.00 is an arbitrary number close to an individual’s median cost mentioned in Post 7. This number may need upward adjustment according to account for inflation effects and Recipient circumstances. This high commitment is similar to the neighbor model.
Because the financial help comes with NO strings attached, it is needful that the money does not fund their addiction to carnal habits.
Emotional and Mental Support
- Be available to Recipient as a friend on equal terms—both able to share details of one’s life vulnerably within the boundary limits.
- Offer alternative perspectives while being compassionate with the Recipient’s situation.
The Wayside Ministry is a sober-minded approach to wealth stewardship. It prioritizes healthy self-love, family, and dependents. Before one can be a Patron that serves beyond self and family, the Patron must provide for themselves and not neglect family needs. The Wayside Ministry can also assume nonfinancial forms that are valued by the Recipient.
Boundaries of both Patron and Recipient are respected. It is essential to realize that the economic realities, life choices, the worry of the future, and inheritance affect both the Patron and the Recipient alike, as presented in the above visual.
Investment, which can include property purchases, may take priority over the Wayside Ministry. These investments may displace the Wayside Ministry. The individual may gain more control, prestige, and wealth due to these investments at the expense of SOUL salvation and lose out in their eternal life. Jesus mentioned in Mat6:1-6, where Man receives their praise and reward on earth, they risk forfeiting the recognition and reward from God the Father.
Does it mean investing is bad? Of course not. Investment is an integral part of wealth Stewardship. What’s important is the motivation behind the investment and balancing the investment needs with the Recipient’s needs. Each person will receive different divine mandates concerning this balance. Live life with the right reasons to fulfill the 1st and 2nd Commandments, and all will work out for our good who LOVE Him (1st and 2nd Commandment) and called after His purpose (Rom8:28).
These Christian and Wealth Series have attempted to offer guidelines that shine on these “right reasons” to support a more objective self-examination. While it is good to be materially rich in this mortal life, it is wiser that one is rich in the life to come.