By Steve Shadrach
Steve Shadrach is the Director of Mobilization for the U.S. Center for World Mission and lives in Arkansas in the US.
I want to serve God and be obedient to His leading in my life, but I don’t want to….RAISE SUPPORT!
Although it is a huge obstacle to overcome, many people have come to see it as a blessing. Even though there are stresses and pressures involved in raising and maintaining a personal support team, I would not want to live any other way.
The bonds that I have formed over the years with our supporters are priceless. The stories of God building my faith during difficult times could fill a book. And most of all, when I report to that ministry assignment, there is a sense of destiny and authority there.
If you want to be successful you are going to need some guidance. I have listed several resources at the end of this article that would be good for you to purchase and study.
The Five Keys to Raising Your Personal Support
1. Understand the Biblical Basis
We have to understand that God is the source of our funds, not the donors, our plans or hard work. Scott Morton of The Navigators in his excellent book Funding Your Ministry Whether You’re Gifted or Not highlights five examples and teachings from the Old and New Testaments about the validity of God’s ministers being supported by others:
A. The example of the Levites (Numbers 18:24)- The Jews gave their tithe to the priests for support.
B. The example of Jesus (Luke 8:2,3)- Many people supported Jesus and the disciples.
C. The teaching of Jesus (Mt. 10:9,10)- A Kingdom worker is worthy of his support.
D. The example of Paul (Acts 18:4,5)- He stopped tentmaking to preach full time on support.
E. The teaching of Paul (1 Cor. 9:1-18)- He had the right to be supported by the churches.
Evaluate your own giving! Before you can ask anyone else to give you have to be committed to sacrificially investing in Kingdom work on a regular basis. Let’s practice what we preach!
2. Kill the Giants in Your Own Mind
Remember the twelve Hebrew spies who went into the Promised Land to take a look before the whole nation was to enter and claim what God had given them? Only Joshua and Caleb came back ready to invade.
The other ten spies were so terrified of the giants. Instead of trusting God and moving out with courage, they let fear paralyze them. It is the same way in support raising. The confidence level that we have in our God, our vision, and ourselves can make us….or break us! These are some common “giants” we must conquer:
A. You or your parents might think support raising is really just begging.
B. You might think you are not a worthy investment.
C. You might think that support raising is just a “necessary evil” that must be endured.
D. You might think that people are rejecting you or your ministry if they say “no”. You must kill these giants one at a time as you fill your mind with the Scriptures and believe what God has said about you and your calling. Then you can courageously march in and take the land!
3. Pray and Plan
Author S.D. Gordon said it well, “Prayer is the real work of the ministry. Service is just gathering in the results of prayer.” We need to bathe ourselves and our donors in prayer before, during, and after this process. God will go before you.
Create Your Budget
Include everything you need for your personal needs, giving, saving and ministry expenses. Seek to balance a lifestyle that will allow you to maximize your effectiveness with the group you’re reaching, but also be above reproach from your donors on the stewardship of your finances.
If you happen to have school debt, simply include the required monthly amount owed and keep going. Your donors will admire you for keeping your promise to pay it back.
Now that you have turned the whole process over to God you are ready to begin your planning. Write down every person that you have ever known during your lifetime. Don’t play Holy Spirit by saying, “Oh, that person would never give.” You will be surprised by a few that will give and… by a few that don’t!
Map Out a Plan
Divide up all the names according to the cities they live in. Then label each name “hot”, “cold”, or “medium” depending upon whether they probably will give, probably won’t give, or that they might give. Next, pray and seek to attach an amount that you would like to ask them to give.
Plan Out a Map
Figure out what city you will go to first, second, etc…Schedule it out on your calendar.
4. Ask them face to face
This is the key. Jesus says “we have not because we ask not.” The word “ask” is used in the gospels 113 times. God wants to teach us about asking: Him and others.
I have looked at surveys as to why people give and the number one reason is always because someone asked them! It is not unspiritual or fleshly to ask. It is biblical, spiritual, and faithbuilding to ask.
5. Cultivate the Relationship
Here are the ABC’s for having a long and fruitful relationship with your supporters:
A. Remember it’s not fundraising, but “friendraising.”
B. Consider tithing your ministry time to your support team: prayer, writing, calling, ministering.
C. Thank before you bank (when a new person or new gift comes in). Be prompt and professional in all of your correspondence and record keeping.
D. Regularly send them well-written newsletters. When you win a donor they are now on your team. Keep them on the team by caring for and cultivating them. View them as vital partners in your ministry and you will gain not only life long supporters, but friends too!
1. Funding Your Ministry Whether You’re Gifted or Not by Scott Morton, Dawson Media
2. People Raising by William P. Dillon, Moody Press
3. Getting Sent by Pete Sommer, Intervarsity Press
4. Friend Raising by Betty Barnett, Youth With A Mission Publishing
If you are interested in getting training in support raising, go to thebodybuilders.net