Hello, I’m…

My name is Simon Pillar. I am a principal in a private equity firm and live outside of Oxford, England with my wife Rebecca and four children. In my mid-thirties, I was working in management consulting and simultaneously found myself growing in my Christian faith more and more. I questioned if I should leave business to pursue a role in church ministry. I set aside a nine month period for prayer and seeking counsel from godly men who knew me well. At the end of that time, their advice was unanimous: “Stay in business for the glory of God.” They told me it was probably the harder path and I would need a strategy to make sure I didn’t succeed financially but fail spiritually. That was very loving advice and it set me on a journey to discover how business people throughout history have been involved in God’s plans. After doing some historical research, my friend Col Marshall and I coined the term for the strategy: “Gospel Patronage”. A little while later I met John and Renée Rinehart and the rest is history.


God’s Generosity

Scripture tells us God is both rich and generous. The apostle Paul clearly wrote, “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) For our sake, for us undeserving sinners Jesus gave up his riches in heaven and entered our world, taking on human flesh, in order to pay for our sins on the cross and rise three days later to give us new life. Generosity is the very nature and character of our God.



Giving is central in our discipleship to Jesus. That’s not because God needs our money. He doesn’t. Instead, God loves to involve us in his plans. We are his messengers and ambassadors. I have learned that when we open our hands to give our money, talents, and time to be used in God’s service, there is a profound joy in being holistically involved with individuals and ministries who are advancing the gospel.


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 us with the status it buys. And it seduces us with the temptation of luxury and an easy life. It’s important in the face of these dangers to have relationships of accountability. We need others to help anchor us in reality between our needs and our wants and to be a warning bell in the event of slippage. Ideally, a husband and wife can do this for one another. One might also think about putting a proportion of one’s assets into a non-recourse structure, dedicated to supporting gospel work.


Treasuring Jesus

The cares of the world and the idols it throws up crowd in and steal my affections so often. But through reading the word of God and reflecting on the promises of God I’m brought back to the foot of the cross. I treasure Christ because he treasured me enough to “humble himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Jesus’ great love motivates me to live for eternity and play my part in fulfilling his Great Commission.


I Wish I Knew…

My wife, Rebecca, and I have been on a journey for 20 years to understand how to be effective supporters of gospel ministry. Earlier in my career it would have been good to have these stories of Gospel Patrons to read and shape my thinking. How much freer my heart would have been and more fruitful my support of gospel ministry would have been! I suspect it also would have made me more purposeful to focus the majority of my giving on a few relationships where I can be personally involved rather than spreading myself too thin by giving little bits across many ministries.


My Routine

The most crucial disciplines for me are studying and meditating on God’s word and time with him in prayer. When I drift and struggle it is never hard to see the connection between my present circumstance and these things not happening! But God’s word and being with God’s people in our church and small group draw me back to the magnificent grace of God. Lastly, an important routine for my family is we set aside time to pull away from our busy schedules and enjoy God’s creation together. I grew up being on the water and sailing and have continued that with my wife and children. We always return rejuvenated and more connected.


Giving Decisions

A framework my wife and I have found useful in our giving decisions is the 3 C’s: Competence, Conviction, and Character. We ask ourselves: Does the individual we’re thinking of supporting 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 and able to endure the joys and trials inherent in gospel ministry, depending on God’s grace in all things? It can take time to get to know a person and discern these things, but when necessary we slow down to build the relationship first. Lastly, we have found it useful to remember that it is easy to overestimate what we can achieve in five years, and underestimate what the Lord can achieve through us in twenty years. Doing a deep work with a few is an approach we have seen yield rich and abiding fruit.


My Mission

When I think about my personal sense of mission, I’m reminded that God’s mission has never changed. Loving Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength remains the core. I now see more clearly the role we can play in resourcing gospel ministries beyond ourselves, and Gospel Patronage has become a more central part of that, but our command remains to love and serve the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly and to proclaim him in word and deed.


3 Words

If I were to choose three words to be remembered by, they would be the three words used to describe Enoch in Genesis 5:24, “Walked with God”.


© 2016 John Rinehart