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Raising Financial Support for a Living: Principles for the Giver

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Hey ya’ll! I hope you’re enjoying this series. I know most summer mission trips wont start being organized for a few more months, but hopefully this series will be all the more useful for everyone then, too! So far, I’ve discussed having a Right Perspective as to why missionaries should raise support. I also wrote about principles the fundraiser should know. So today, I am focusing on the one being asked to give financially to a mission opportunity. I hope that these principles help you devote your gifts, money, and prayers cheerfully to others.

A great little book about the joy of giving!

1. God owns it all. (Romans 11:36)

Meaning, every single thing you own belongs to the Father. You can have freedom to let go and give when you look at every penny in your purse, lamp in your house, towel in the closet, and say, “My Father gave this to me…and this..and this..and this…”  The truth that God owns all of it should simply give you a spirit of thankfulness and generosity.

2. Giving may be your spiritual gift. (Romans 8:4-8)

We have one supporter on our team who owns an oil company. He believes that one of his spiritual gifts is giving. So, he still owns and runs it. If he quit giving, he would quit owning it and do something else. We also have another supporter who shared about how hard it is for him to make friendships with people. He still pursues relationships and evangelism, but he has chosen to be a giver to those who do have the gift of being relational. That is his way of building up the Body of Christ. Every Christian is called to give and be generous in their heart, but maybe He has designed you to be the example of giving.

3. Supporting a missionary protects you from idolatry. (Matthew 10:24)

I love Tim Keller’s book, “Counterfeit Gods”. His chapter on Greed destroyed me! In it he states that out of every sin, no one would ever really consider themselves as greedy. He said this is because we tend to only compare ourselves to people in our “bracket”. Of course I don’t look greedy compared to the person who buys the name brand everything. But, compared to just about anyone else in the world my standard of living is like royalty! Yet, I always want something better. Being a supporter of a missionary (1) keeps your vision worldwide and (2) challenges you to sacrifice your comfort. For example, you could give (let’s say) $75/month to a missionary, instead of it going toward a new bedroom set, nicer clothes, gadgets, and whatever else captures your eye. The big idea is that giving patterns your life to being Kingdom Focused (Matt. 6:33).

4. Giving is to be an act of worship. (2 Cor. 9:11)

Worship is primarily why giving protects and frees you from idolatry. This is why Danny and I break up our monthly tithe into fourths so that we can worship during the offering each week. As a supporter, your giving is enabling the gospel to advance. When your missionary shares about how God has changed them or the people they are ministering to you can rejoice too! You played a huge role in that! It is always worshipful to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Step out on faith and send a missionary  –  then, be prepared to worship.

5. It is an eternal investment! (Matthew 24:14)

Whether it is sending a team to Ecuador for 2 weeks, sending a student to a training conference,  sending a couple to Singapore ;-), or funding the distribution of Bibles – you are giving waaayyy more than x amount of money. Souls and God’s Word are eternal matters. You are affecting not just what you know of from a newsletter. You’re impacting generations of people that will come loonnggg after your life! How amazing is that?!

6. You’re offering more than green paper. (3 John 8)

Be active with your missionaries. They need you far beyond finances. They need your wisdom, your prayers, and communication. They need to know that you are with them and haven’t forgotten about them. It is so easy to feel forgotten about when you send mass updates out and 1/60 people reply.  It’s also hard to pray over someone that you never hear from. Please, give financially so that they can be sent. But, continue to give yourself to them so that they can have a continual support system. They don’t view you as an ATM, and so don’t act as one. You have such a vital role – I wish I could better express how important you are to them!

Clearly, I don’t aim for the standard 5 or 10 points. Six is sufficient :). My prayer is that if you are in a position to support a missionary these truths will come to your mind and help you in discerning all of the ways in which you can commit to them and thus commit to the Great Commission.

Watch this clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4bGse2o3kY, about being a Go-er and a Send-er. Ironically, Piper uses the same verse that God wrecked me with in 2009 by calling me to reach the 10/40 window.

Coming Next: The How-To’s of Support Raising.

Raising Financial Support for a Living: Reminders for the Fundraiser

September 26, 2012 2 comments

This post is for the Supporter Raiser. I just wanted to list a few simple, but crucial reminders & principles. I really believe that if you take these to heart it will drastically change the way you approach fundraising.

Supporter Raiser Reminders:

1. You are more scared to ask for support than they are to give it!

ASK. ASK. ASK. ASK ANYONE. Don’t say “No.” for them by not asking.

2. Don’t insult them by asking low!

Give people the opportunity and the challenge to give generously. Ask for a specific amount. They are making an eternal investment! So, don’t shy away from asking for what you need. They want to help you!

3. You are rich, not poor!

Don’t be fooled by your income – you are the most wealthy person alive. Remember Christ “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…(Eph. 2)”

4. Assume that people want to give!

It is so easy to believe that people are avoiding you when they don’t call back. Believe what they tell you, not what you feel. Most people really do want to give in whatever way they can. Have patience, peace, and press on.

5. There is A LOT in common with Evangelism and Fundraising!

Both reveal fear. Involve face-to-face convos. Create a need. Paint a vision. Ask for a decision. And demands total allegiance to your worldview. While waiting to hit the mission field, remember that your quality of support raising will likely reveal your quality of evangelism.

6. You are raising Supporters – not just support!

Do your best to work a part-time job or not at all while you raise supporters. If you want to do it well, it will require loads of time. You have to be the one with a flexible schedule – not them. To raise support well, requires more than some letters and stamps. You have to be organized, goal-driven, and proactive. 60% of sponsors drop off the team because they feel like you don’t care about them. So, devote yourself to your team – it is your JOB to care for them. Shepherd them as would you shepherd those you are ministering to.

7. Accountability will affect your overall progress, attitude, and personal growth.

Don’t just title an Accountability Partner – DO ACCOUNTABILITY, weekly. There are 3 things you should do together: (1) Talk over numbers: # of letters, phone calls, meetings,pledges, $, etc. (2) Talk over your fears, anxieties, and struggles. Your partner needs to be available, not just for sympathy, but for truth and correction using God’s Word. (3) Lastly, you and your partner must be praying. ***Use this  Support Raising Evaluation.

We must view support raising as such a reward that to withhold it from potential partners is doing them a great disservice.
Refer to Philippians 4:17-18. Paul says, “I seek the profit that increases (the supporter’s) account…”

Raising Financial Support for a Living: A Right Perspective

September 21, 2012 2 comments

I am fully aware of how negligent I have been with my blog. Deepest apologies followers! Married life and transitioning to Singapore have kept me distracted.

Well, I know I started a different series, but I figure I have plenty of opportunities to write about college ministry. So, today I wanted to begin to give you the “backstage” view in raising financial support as a full-time job. Danny and I have been raising sponsors for Notebook & Biblemission trips for years, but this is our first time raising funds as our month-by-month income. In this post, I hope to just answer some of the “why” questions behind what we’re doing. In later posts, I’d like to give some important principles to remember for both the Supporter and Support Raiser. And lastly, I’d like to give a practical How-To post. 🙂 **A lot of my material comes from CO START (training conference), the Bible, books, and personal experience.

Misconceptions

1.  I’m not earning or deserving of this money.

2. It’s not biblical to raise support.

3. They don’t want to give.

4. I’m too busy and don’t have enough contacts

5. Support raising adds to the burdens of being a missionary.

Have you felt this way? Or have you viewed non-profits this way? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has struggled with viewing fundraising as a privilege. Yes, raising financial needs for the gospel is a privilege! I hope that this post enlightens us by looking at God’s Truth, the value of Partnership, and the role of Faith.

Biblical Basis

A passage Danny and I love to point supporters to is Philippians (which is btw, a support letter) 4:10-20.  Observe how Paul describes raising finances: (to list a few) v. 10 people are involved (concerned for Paul), v. he’s not needy, but content, v.15 there is a partnership, v.16 continued help for Paul’s needs, v17. he’s fully provided for, etc. This passage especially shows us that support giving is for God, Paul & the supporters themselves because it is a “sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God(v18-20).”

Other Biblical references: ( I’m excluding Tithing and General Giving just because I want to show that the Supporter and Supporter Raiser should know that specifically living off another person’s giving for the sake of advancing the gospel is biblical.)

Jesus lived on support (Luke 8:1-3) “…and many others, who provided for them out of their means”

Support lifestyle was commanded (Luke 10:7) “…for the laborer deserves his wages”

Disciples were sent to survive on generosity, not by begging (Luke 10:4-7).

…A somewhat common response to our way of living is: Why don’t you work a job? After all, Paul was a tent-maker.

3 Times Paul made tents: (1) In Corinth,  Acts 18:1-5. (2) Ephasus (Acts 20:33-34). (3) Thessolonica, 2 Thess 3:8-9.

I argue that Paul used working in the community as a way of outreach or in other situations he was not being provided for. He says that he had the right to, but choose not to (2 Thess. 3:10).

1 Corinthians 9 Paul gives an argument for minister’s living off of the giving of others. His points: One, that “those who proclaim the gospel shall make their living by the gospel.” (v11-12,14). Second, ministers deserve and should take delight in having needs met by support. (vs.10-12). And third, the Levites are the model for supported ministers. (vs.13).

Networking & Vision Casting

Something that I have learned over the years is that a Supporter Raiser has a large circle of friends, influence, and connections. Currently, Danny and I have at minimum 50 people on our team. It has been such a joy to meet face-to-face with each person and family. Each time we share at a church service, class, or with people individually we notice that both ourselves and the other party is encouraged and strengthened. At each meeting we give our presentation. We share about discipleship, its affect on our life, and our purpose for moving to Singapore. If we did not raise up a support team then we would miss out on knowing and being mutually encouraged by so many people.

Partnership is Personal

We have large variety of people on our team. Some people or are investors, parents, IT guys, teachers, pastors, missionaries, photographers, retired, videographers, students, and more. Some have a high income, some low. Some are from America, some are not. Each teammate has something to contribute to our mission. After each meeting we ask 3 commitments from people: (1) Financial commitment because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (2) Wisdom and Involvement, because we will be far more effective in SG if we have a wisdom, skill, and resource base that is larger than the two of us. (3) Contacts, because we want to always branch out of our circles and invite more people into a partnership.

Not only does our supporter commit to us, but they can also expect certain things from us. Such things being: (1) Faithfulness to the mission. (2) Steadfast prayer for them. (3) Availability to them and their needs. (4) Regular Updates and Involvement. We have been convicted that we are called to shepherd our supporters just as much as we are to shepherd those that we are ministering to.

It really is a partnership. Without partnership loneliness will strike faster and harder than ever. Vision would leak. The number of people to rejoice with would be lessened. And we would overall be doing a disservice to the body of Christ.

Faith Building

Fundraising challenges and strengthens the faith of both the Giver and the Receiver. There are a number of people on our team who have given an amount that “hurts”, an amount that will cause them to trust the Lord. They’ve given an amount that will remind them to pray fervently for us. Danny and I keep a budget for Missions too. And I remember a time where we only had $16 for groceries (to last 2 weeks), but we gave $50 for a mission. It was a sacrifice, but it was worshipful! The Fund Raiser also experiences the privilege of stepping out on faith. When Danny took his discipleship group to Haiti they had 3 weeks to raise $6000.  Yet, by faith and faithfulness it all came in on time!!! A missionary must practice trusting the Lord, by trusting the promises of people. They are also continually reminded that they lack nothing in Christ! They are rich in the eyes of their Father!

So, you see, even if the church offered to pay our full income, we would still choose to raise some of the support.

My hope is that this post stirs you to give to missionaries and for missionaries to be proud to ask!

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What has been the most significant perspective change for you and why?

What was the most helpful truth learned about support raising?

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