Journal Entry

Simon Pillar

Private Equity Partner

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Illustration by John-Mark Warkentin

Journal Entry

Simon Pillar

Private Equity Partner

10 short sound bites from Simon about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


10 short sound bites from Simon about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


01

Hello, I’m…

Simon Pillar. I am a principal in a private equity firm based in Sydney, Australia. My wife, Rebecca, and I have been on a journey for about 15 years of understanding about how to be effective supporters of Gospel ministry. Whilst we have learnt a few useful things in those years, we feel we still have a long way to go! What we do know is that the idea of Gospel Patronage is powerful and has been important in shaping our thinking.

02

Giving

Giving is about more than just money. Our ‘treasure’ is only one part of the equation. Our ‘talents’ and our 'time' are equally things that God has given us to be used in His service. The giving of our financial resources without any sort of relational engagement with the individual or ministry being supported is fine as far as it goes, but there is a profound joy to being more holistically involved with the individuals and ministries one supports financially.

03

God’s Generosity

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9) Need one say more than Paul has already said in this verse about the generosity of God to undeserving sinners?!

04

Dangers of Wealth

Wealth can be an idol on various levels and also a cruel and deceptive mistress. It pretends to satisfy our need for security. It woos with the status it buys. And it seduces with the temptation of luxury and an ‘easy life’. It’s important in the face of these dangers to have relationships of accountability, which can help anchor one in reality, to differentiate between ‘need’ and ‘want’, and to be a warning bell in the event of slippage. Practically one might also think about putting a proportion of one’s assets into a non-recourse structure, dedicated to supporting Gospel work.

05

Treasuring Jesus

I am painfully conscious that I don’t treasure Jesus as I should. The cares of the world and the idols it throws up so often crowd in and steal my affections. It is through the Word and reflecting on the promises of God (e.g. Phil 1:6, 1 Pet 5:7 and so on) that I keep on being drawn back to the magnificent grace that is in Christ Jesus and to the One "who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."

06

I Wish I Knew…

Early in my career it would have been good to have had these stories and resources available to read and shape my thinking about Gospel Patronage. How much more fruitful my support of gospel ministry would have been over the years! I suspect it also would have made me more purposeful in the choices I was making and wiser in the ways in which I sought to serve.

07

My Routine

The disciplines of studying and meditating on God’s Word and time with Him in prayer are so crucial. When I drift and struggle it is never hard to see the connection between my present circumstance and these things not happening! Above all, it is coming to the foot of the cross and re-realizing each time that Jesus "being found in human form, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." In this is the motivation to treasure Christ, to live for eternity and to finish the Great Commission!

08

Giving Decisions

A framework we have found useful is the 3 C’s of Competence, Conviction and Character. Does the individual have the gifting and capabilities to bear fruit in the ministry they are pursuing? Do their theological and ministry convictions align with Scripture? Are they of good character, able to ride the joys and trials inherent in gospel ministry with prayerful and godly equanimity, depending on God’s grace in all things? Lastly, it is useful to remember that it is easy to overestimate what we can achieve in 5 years, and underestimate what the Lord can achieve through us in 20 years. Doing ‘a deep work in a few to reach the many’ is a multi-generational approach to ministry that we have seen yield rich and abiding fruit, and the great thing is it requires one to really trust that it is the Lord ‘who gives the growth.’

09

My Mission

The ‘sanctimonious alert’ is flashing red so I am cautious on this one! I don't think the mission has ever changed - to love and serve the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly and to proclaim Him in word and deed. I do see more clearly the role we can play in enabling and resourcing gospel ministries beyond ourselves, and Gospel Patronage has become a more central part of that. But loving Him with heart and soul and mind and strength remains the core.

10

3 Words

If I had to choose three words to be remembered by, they would be: "Walked with God" (Gen 5:24, written of Enoch)

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