Societal Structures V.S. God’s Call on Our Lives

November 8, 2012 2 comments

My Lord has been doing some amazing work in my life the past few weeks. He has been bringing my mind to “seeking the things that are above, where Christ is” (Col. 3:1) and He has been revealing idols in my life. More so, God has revealed these idols before I set myself up to live in daily temptation of them. He has shown me that Jesus is greater than my culture & that His Great Commission may require me to forsake dreams and hopes that I have. For, His Calling is greater than my Culture. Thus, I hope to expose societal structures that keep us from “giving it our all” for the Lord.

Common American Phases of Life

The American way of life is quite different than most other countries. But, still each country has a culture or multiple cultures that create a type of order to a person’s life.  In America, it goes something like this :

We are born and  begin learning everything we know from our family. Once kindergarten hits, we begin receiving all of our education from a school system (whether public, private, or through homeschooling). The goal of this stage is to prepare us to be self-sufficient individuals in the next stage. Once we graduate twelfth grade, we are encourage to either work a job and make money or go to college in order to make even more money and be even more successful someday. So, for the next few years we prepare ourselves for our future employment that we hope will provide financial stability. Then, once we graduate we seek to excel at our career and be promoted until we consider ourselves “successful”. Once we are satisfied with this we tend to “settle down” by getting married and starting a family. At this point, we struggle for the next 20 years to juggle this career, our children, our elderly parents, and our marriage. Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages explains that that as we move into our 40’s we are wanting “to create or nurture things that will outlast us.” Once we believe we have accomplished this, we begin to retire at about age 65 so that we can no longer be involved in the world – for that’s what we deserve. Right?

Practically all of these stages are setting us up to live a more comfortable  & accomplished lifestyle than the one before it.

Interesting, huh? We all seem to fit this mold no matter how “radical” or “unique” we hope we are. This is because, from birth we are taught what the appropriate timeline is for our life. Sure, we all have different stories. Not everyone will get married & have children at the same age. And there are definitely gender roles, values, and economical challenges that have and will continue to cause this timeline to change. But, overwhelmingly we all divide our lives into these categories or phases.

How God Changed my Thinking

This recently began to frighten me a lot. Why? Because, I really don’t see God’s calling on my life fitting into this cultural structure that we have deemed “right”. In two months Danny and I will be in Southeast Asia. As we get closer and closer I’ve seen God expose lies that I’ve been believing and truth that I must cling to. I have been debating for a while as to whether or not I should write this blog, simply because I figured most people would deem me unqualified to speak on this topic. And, to an extent I am. But, God has been pounding me over and over and it would be wrong to keep it to myself. Through Kathleen Neilson’s Colossian’s Study, conversations with Danny and other people, podcast sermons such as the Biography of Bill Piper, current life examples such as The Flora’s Family, and personal reflection I have found that having children, a nice home, & retirement are not excuses to cease living sacrificially as a missionary. And if you don’t want to listen to me, maybe you will listen to their stories.

Having Children & Living Against the Current

Since time ticks closer to our departure I have heard more and more, “It’s so good that you’re doing this while your still young & without children.” Or I’ve heard, “How great that you are serving like this while you still can, before you have children.” (This is the part that made me hesitant to write this, because I don’t have children & can’t speak from that standpoint.) After long contemplation though, I have discerned that children definitely change your schedule, priorities, energy & thoughts, but they do not necessarily change your calling. Why do we think that children keep us from serving as a missionary? Are we so bold as to think that God’s calling must fit into our American methods of raising children? There are so many factors that I have wrestled with. I hate the thought of my children not having regular visits with their grandparents or not being raised in their native land (America). And I understand the value and beauty in faithfully discipling our children.  But, all of those good things don’t negate that God has called each and every believer (with children or not) to participate in the Great Commission. Having children is just one of many stages of life that I’m realizing I must surrender to my Lord to, rather than to pleasing people or even myself.

Building Up Comforts VS Living Sacrificially

But the more and more I say the phrase, “Well, Danny, when we settle down I’d like to live in X city, with Y type of house..” I realize that as of now, God has not called me to “settle down”. And even if He does, who says that I am called to settle down in Georgia, or even in America? Why are you living where you’re living? Why are you working where you work? It’s tough. In a land of opportunities, I’ve found that just because we can move somewhere, doesn’t mean we should.

It’s tough, because this is not our home. And the Lord brought me to tears at this thought. I like comfort – it is a major idol for me. I realized that I kind of want this to be my home & that often times I believe it is. I hardly ever remind myself of my true citizenship that is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). So, recently the Lord broke me. And He was so sweet to show me that if I feed into to having a nice home, and everything else that comes along with the American dream – I will forget, again. I’ll build up comfort after comfort -no matter how subtle or obvious they may be- and before long I will have put my energy, money, & thoughts towards maintaining a lifestyle that God never called me to in the first place.

My New Great Aim

But whatever gain I had, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. – Philippians 3:7-8

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Jesus) Matthew 6:19-21

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it – (Jesus) Matthew 10:37-39

These are just three of hundreds of verses that speak about the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. We are to live for Jesus only. And thank God, that he exposed an idol of comfort and misconceptions of relative societal methods that will seek to lure me from “giving it my all”. My new aim: To assume that God’s will would have me make costly sacrifices instead of being comfortable in this life. And therefore, repent of compartmentalizing my surrender to the Lord Jesus. 

Please comment with wisdom and lessons learned from your experience in parenting, living as a missionary, and fighting the cultural structures that pull you from Jesus rather than to Him. How can we remain faithful to the spreading of the gospel and faithful to our families if we are not called to local missions?


Little Victories & Fruit

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The other night, a friend and I went to a coffee shop together and talked for nearly 3 hours! It was soo refreshing. Something that I noticed to be a thread in our conversation was what I like to refer to as “little victories”. These victories are moments that we often overlook or take for granted, but in reality are a miracle that is happening by God’s power. I want to show that these moments are what many Christians neglect to call “fruit”.  I want to describe “little victories” to you and why it is so important for the Christian to recognize them as fruit, too.

What is Fruit?

The Bible refers to a Christian’s “fruit” or “fruitfulness” a number of times. Many are specifically referring to a strengthening in numbers or the physical condition of a place (i.e valley, field, etc). But, at times fruit is refereed to as evidence and also as a spiritual harvest.

Evidential & Evangelistic Fruit

An example of this is Philippians 1:22-24, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means a fruitful labor for remain in my flesh is more necessary on your account.” In this passage, Paul is debating on which is better, life of death? Death is better for him, but his life is better for their sake, because his labor is considered “fruitful”. What was he laboring for? V25, “for (their) progress and joy in the faith, so that in (Paul they) may have ample cause to glory in Christ.” Their progress is what made the labor fruitful. So, this is an example of evangelistic, but also evidential fruit (fruit that shows proof of faith).”

Another, more clear, evidential fruit analogy is in John 15. In verse 5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” This whole passage clearly shows that a true, born again believer, will have fruit, or evidence, that he is in Christ. If you want to know more specifically what those evidences are I recommend searching for them in 1 John.

Fruitfulness is Not a Cookie-Cutter Experience

So, what does this “fruit” have to do with Little Victories? Well, fruitfulness can’t be judged in a cookie-cutter fashion. Each person progresses differently. For example, last year at a college campus there was a group of students reaching out to international students. Only one person became a Christian within a couple years of laboring and so many students were discouraged and thus determined that the international ministry was “unfruitful”. I disagreed with that.

Salvation is not the only fruit that exists. In fact, most times that the Bible talks about “fruit” it isn’t talking about a Salvation Experience. A fruitful moment can be when someone in your family, in your dorm, or at your work place goes from never discussing God to asking you to pray for them. It can be when someone confides in you what they really believe about the Bible. Or it can be when a person may confess sin to you, even if they still remain a non-Christian. Those are still a Little Victories or Fruit, because it is showing a movement towards Jesus.

An example that is not so much evangelistic, but evidential is when it occurs within a believer. I’ll use myself as an example. The way that I have been designed is very different from my old classmate and friend, “Jim”. I am very confident in myself if I’m having a theological & philosophical discussion in a small group or one-on-one. I used to think I was so bold in sharing the gospel and truth because of this gift. But, it did not take many philosophy courses in college to show me how much of a scardy-cat I am in a class size setting, without a plan, and with no opportunity to take back my words if I were to mess up. I can remember a number of times where I sat in disobedience because I would not open my mouth. Jim, however, was excellent with speaking up in class. He took advantage of that setting and really stood as my role model. Sharing truth one-on-one might not have been much of a challenge or victory for me, but when I spoke up about the gospel in class – that was fruit, that was a victory for me.

Not Just Jargon

My objective is not to change the way we use lingo. Not recognizing fruit in the smaller, more subtle ways can really crush a Christian’s spirit. If we fail to recognize and praise God over this kind of fruit we will encounter the following problems…

  1. We will give up too quickly on people. Yes, we want to move where the Spirit is moving when we are sharing the gospel. But, could the Spirit be moving in someone’s life and you aren’t recognizing it? What if someone is being pursued by Jesus and we say, “Eh, he’s just not interested because he didn’t come to the retreat.” or “I’ve shared the gospel a couple of times and she still hasn’t surrendered.” Look for little victories in this person’s life, before deciding to move forward.
  2. We will fail to recognize God’s grace in our life as a believer. Can you recall what God has been growing you in lately? What have you recently repented of? When was the last time you picked obedience to Jesus instead of something else? If we aren’t seeing God move in mighty, but quiet ways we will fail to see God’s faithfulness to conforming us to the image of his Son, Jesus.
  3. We will dive into self-righteousness or self-pity. Building off of #2, if we are not seeing God work we will either (1) see ourselves as the one working or (2) we will believe nothing is working.

Experiencing these three outcomes will drastically affect your marriage, relationships with believers, witness to the non-believer, and personal walk with God. Let’s make it a great aim of ours to see these Little Victories and worship God in response to them!

Daily & Mutual Submission in Our Marriage

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

In a couple of days, I will have been married for a full 5 months! We are still babies, but lots has been learned in such a short amount of time.

I just wanted to give a brief post on ways I am seeing Ephesians 5:21 in my marriage, which states…

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I love how we are (as the Body of Christ & married people) called to mutual submit to each other. The word used for “submit” or “subject” in the Greek implies the same type of submitting that would happen in an Army between officers, cadets, etc. Ephesians calls both the husband and wife to do this to each other, but emphasizes it with the wife (v.33). While, the husbands submission is emphasized as love & sacrifice (v.33). I think this is because,(generally speaking) it is harder for a wife to submit in respect (refer to Gen. 1:16b) and harder for a husband to submit in love. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs expounds on this thought in his new book,  Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs.

Obviously, there will be times in a married couple’s life where submitting is costly. It could be a career change or a big move that one spouse may not be fond of. Then, a submission that recognizes that the marriage is where your allegiance is instead of with yourself may need to take place. But, those times are typically few and far between. I am not experienced with that kind of submission. So, what I want to address in this blog is the everyday, mutual submission.

Day-by-Day Submission

1. A few months ago, we had the opportunity to join the school’s rec center. But, we could only afford for one person to join. We both had equally convincing reasons as to why one should join instead of the other. But, I chose to encourage Danny to join instead of fight for the membership. This isn’t because I didn’t want to join. It’s just because I saw it as a way to put his desires above mine. A way to show him that I’m out for his well-being and happiness more than my own.

2. Often, while grocery shopping I’m torn between a dessert Danny likes to eat and a cereal I like. Usually, both aren’t in budget. So, sometimes I practice submission by grabbing his favorites over mine. This is again, a little way to help him. It’s a little way to put him before me.

3. Danny and I disagreed about our preferences for housing arrangements in Singapore. We both agreed that living with each other alone was the first priority. But, if that couldn’t happen I thought it was best to live with our partner and he thought it best to live with a host family. Instead of pushing for his #2 to become my #2 he ‘submitted’ to my desire and chose to work towards us living with our partner if necessary.

These are just a couple of examples. But, what I want to show is that mutual submission is practicing the basics of Christianity. It is the essence of serving and placing another above yourself like Jesus did. Mark 10:45:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.

~~~What are some ways submission has occurred in other couple’s lives? What are common misconceptions about biblical submission?~~~

Raising Financial Support for a Living: Support Preservation

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Okie doke, this is the final post on Raising Support unless there are specific requests. So, in this post I intend on addressing how to Cultivate your Support Team. To cultivate means “to promote or improve the growth of by labor or attention” (

To labor or give attention to requires a level of commitment from you. Here are 6 commitments that I recommend you be steadfast in. (Notice the present-progressive tense of each.)…

  1. Praying – ask them for prayer requests
  2. Informing – keep them updated
  3. Thanking – communicate gratefulness
  4. Investing – helping them ($) on a mission trip
  5. Relating –  get to know them!
  6. Gift-Giving -give them thoughtful gifts (i.e foreign tea, magnet, card, etc.)

SupportER raising never ends. So, I recommend that once you reach 100% you continue to devote an avg of 2 hours/week to supporters. This time may include writing a newsletter, skyping, sending texts, praying, purchasing a small holiday gift, writing thank-you cards,  etc. Unfortunately, this is one of the first responsibilities dropped from a supporter raiser’s priority list. And that’s why 66/100 supporters don’t feel cared about and quit giving.

Now, that I have established commitments I want to expand ways to INFORM. I’m expanding on this one, because it tends to involve every other commitment. Plus, it is the one that most people have questions on. Also, your supporter’s vision and spiritual health is greatly affected by the quality of your involvement with them. So, here are some ways to inform your team…

5 Ways to Inform:

1) Newsletters:

  •  Send out 4-6 per year
  • Pick 4 months out of this year to send them out.
  • Send emails in between newsletters.
  • Send newsletters even if you only do short-term or occasional mission trips, so that supporters can see the fruit of their investment in daily life. My home church advised that I do this after I raised support twice for a summer project. Even though I was a full-time student, they considered me their missionary and thus wanted to hear from me while I was away at college. I should have been more diligent with this.


  • It should read like a front page, not a novel.
  • Via snail mail, Mail Chimp, and consider this website to save on overseas shipping.
  • To create one use: Word, Pages (Mac), or download Newsletter Templates.
  • Include: titles, schedules, #s, color ink, quotes, contact info, pictures, readable font size & color, fun facts, upcoming events, personal things God has been teaching you, ups & downs. (Not every newsletter needs all of this, but keep these in mind.)

2) Emails:

  • Minimum, 1/month ( I had a supporter ask that I send out weekly emails.)
  • These should start even before you are done raising full support.


  • Use Subject line appropriately & creatively.
  • Avoid long attachments or lengthy paragraphs.
  • Proofread.
  • Short bullet points & pictures
  • Respond Promptly!
  • Don’t assume privacy.
  • Remember, less is more. – Make sure they can see the end of your email in their email inbox.

3) Phone calls:

  • Avg 1/year for each supporter.
  • Make a goal to call 1 supporter each weekend or 1 day a month to call multiple supporters.
  • Just enjoy them. Get to know them.


  • Sunday afternoons are a good time.
  • Voice-mails can leave an impact, too.
  • Ask about families, jobs, and overall well-being.

4) Visits:

  • Minimum, every 2-3 years
  • Make the most of “off the field” times.
  • Supporters know that you’re busy, but many want to see you while you’re home.
  • Give an outline in your Newsletter of what cities you will be in and when before coming home from furlough.


  • Bring a gift of appreciation.
  • Visits at home really communicate partnership to a supporter.
  • Set up a visit 1-2 weeks before you intend on getting together.

5) Gatherings:

  • Every 1-3 years
  • These include: Cookouts, Going Away Parties, your wedding, baby showers, birthday dinners, etc.
  • It is a great way to informally connect with many people on your team.


  • Have a supporter host a dessert/coffee get-together in their home for a group of supporters.
  • Think for room set up, invitations, food, planning, etc.
  • Have plenty of informal catch-up time, but a consider having a small slice of formal time to communicate something collectively to your supporters (i.e picture slideshow, DVD of ministry, or answer questions).
  • Have an informative table w/ pictures, newsletters, business cards, support info, etc.

Social Media

Technology makes updating ridiculously convenient. Discover the top ways your supporters want to be updated. Use some, but not all of these options. Also, keep in mind that you may have a handful of supporters who do not own a computer or prefer a letter. Keep track of how often you are sending them updates via snail mail & thank you cards.

  1. Social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  2. Blogging/Twitter: Plan to update a blog bi-weekly. We use a video blog that combines YouTube & blogging along with our Twitter feed on the sidebar.
  3. Video: Vimeo Video, YouTube, etc.
  4. Email: Mail Chimp, Gmail
  5. Other: Text messaging,  Whatsapp (for international texting), Google Docs, Skype, FaceTime.

Giving Accountability

Raising support puts the support raiser in a sometimes awkward position. Finances are typically an area that is very private and thus a place many Christians are not being held accountable in. The nature of your job causes you to both be held accountable to your commitments and to hold them accountable to their financial commitments. So, I wanted to briefly address how to handle a situation where the supporter has not been giving as they have promised.

  1. Evaluate whether or not you have been faithful with your commitments to them. Does this person feel involved/cared for? I know of someone named “Melissa” who had been given a letter for support money from a relative who is a missionary. Melissa’s husband had recently passed away and she had not heard a word from the missionary about it. Melissa was so offended and hurt that she would remember to ask for money, but not remember to be with her in her mourning. I understand how it is hard to be faithful to so many people. But, I don’t blame Melissa for feeling this way either.
  2. If a month goes by and the supporter hasn’t given any or has given less than the promised amount I would just make a mental note of it.
  3. If a second month goes by, I would call him or her and genuinely ask how they are doing, remind them of their commitment, and ask if there is a way I can help them in meeting their goal. Also, I’d remind them of the importance of their giving and ask them to try and make up for the month(s) that they missed.
  4. Avoid having money-talks via text or email.

Remember, people want to give. Sometimes you will have to take a not-so-comfortable step to help them do this.

In conclusion, remember that you are called to cultivate your team. This requires diligence and work. However, I think you will find it incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, too! It is easier to keep a supporter than to get a new one!

~~~Which communication method is your strength? Which is your weakness? What needs to change in how you communicate and connect with your supporters?~~~

Raising Financial Support for a Living: The Appointment, The BIG Ask, & Follow-Up Calls

October 5, 2012 2 comments

Okay, so you’ve gotten the right perspective about support raising & giving, you’ve written your letter (or received a letter), called (or have been called) and now it’s time for what you’ve been building up everything for: The Face-to-Face Meeting. Everything you have done has prepared you for this point. MAKE IT COUNT. This type of dedication is not just for the full-time missionary – students or people raising one-times gifts ought to apply a lot of this, too!

…side note: I feel weird posting these knowing that my supporters are reading it, too! Haha, I hope these posts show you how much we think about you as an individual and how greatly anyone you support desires your partnership!

Appointments= Sell Your Vision

Prepare well. Be professional. Be passionate. Hope this helps you do well with your meeting…

What to Bring:

  1. Presentation: We use a notebook that I made with PowerPoint. If you don’t like the notebook idea, you could use a website, video, or other form of presentation that clearly walks them through the Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How + images.
  2. Give-Away folder: You want to leave them with something! Our folder includes a pledge card with an addressed & stamped envelope, prayer requests, information sheet on Singapore, information sheet on the church we are serving, FAQ sheet, Newsletter, and work schedule. Lastly, we include this Getting to Know You Better sheet that they fill out and we keep for our records. We also use bright folders so that people don’t lose sight of it as easily (the theory is that they will remember us more too!).

This is usually what my Thursday’s before a support weekend look like:

First, I call or text to confirm our appointment. Then, I count how many people/families (not appointments!) we will  be meeting with. It can range from 3 people to 15 people in a given weekend. Then, I use my handy-dandy Target filing folder and see if I have enough of everything. If not, I easily see so and then go print out what I need (Usually, Kaitlyn in the CO office has me covered on all my copies though!!).

Then, I lay everything out like so…I suppose it’d be faster by laying them out on a table and walking around, but I like sitting in the floor (Just vacuum first!). Notice that I stamp the return envelopes for our pledge cards! Take little steps like this to serve them. They are serving you a lot!

And your final project should look something like this…Notice that to make it look more professional I try to keep a color scheme (Blues). I also face any images upward so that it looks nicer.

This is the presentation notebook that we use when we meet with people about Singapore…We include info about our job, our history w/discipleship, info about Singapore, our church, and a partnership page at the end. Keep it so that your presentation alone takes 10-30 minutes to go through.

Helpful Tips:

  • Focus on Individuals. Here’s a helpful article as to why, Churches or Individuals: Which Should You Focus On?
  • Block off 2 hour intervals for meetings (include travel time, etc)
  • Remember names & children
  • Excitement is contagious – people follow passionate people
  • Don’t get discouraged by questions – Inquiry means interest!
  • Sometimes the best answer is “I do not know, but will get back to you on that.”
  • Clearly ask for their commitment to partner with you.
  • Communicate thankfulness often
  • Send them a thank you card in the mail the day after you meet: This increases urgency and shows care.*Keep cards in your car and put it in the mailbox before even going inside your home!

***The Goal of this time, is a clear & confident “ASK”. That is why you are there. Do not leave the appointment until you have done so. ***

Therefore, the flow of conversation should move you to the reason you are there. If not, then transition by thanking them yourself. “Hey, thank you so much for being generous with your time and letting me come and share what God has called me to.” Share your presentation, and ask them something along the lines of (amount individually discerned), “Would you come on my support team with me at $100/month. How does that sound?” Then, shut your lips and wait for them to respond. It is so easy to panic at the silence and rush on to talking about something else. Don’t do that. Give them a moment to process your need and request. Hear what feedback they have for you first and then proceed to show them what they get to take home with them and that you’ll follow up with them in a week.

Scared of asking BIG? I recommend this article Asking BIG: Does it Offend or Affirm?.

The Big Ask & Extras:

  • Communicate your NEED and the DATE you are trusting God to meet! Be VERY clear with this.
  • When they start? ASAP. Have them support sooner than later (especially if you are raising monthly) so that you can build up for raising expenses, tickets, etc.
  • Ask them for referrals.
  • Give them a week to talk it over and pray if they are not sure about an amount by the end of the meeting.
  • Use Speaking opportunities as chances to get contacts, not supporters. (I suggest you have contact cards or a newsletter ready.)
  • Ask churches to come on at 15% of your budget.

***Refer to the first post in this series,, under “Partnership” and see what commitments we ask of them and what commitments we promise them.

FAQ’s That You Should Know:

  1. What is my money going to pay for?
  2. Is it tax-deductible?
  3. How much do you need monthly?
  4. Is this a biblical method of support raising?
  5. Why are you asking for handout? Why don’t you get paid?
  6. How long is your commitment?
  7. Do you operate under the authority of a church?
  8. How do you differ from other ministries?
  9. If we miss a month of payments, will you have to go without?
  10. How will we keep in touch with you?

PURPOSE of Each Step:

Contact Letter= CALL


Appointment= ASK

Follow-Up Phone Calls = Ask Them for a Decision

*It is your job to Initiate and their job to Respond.*

Do not let more than a week go by after an appointment before following up with a phone call. Ask, ” Has God given you clarity about joining my financial and prayer support team?” Walk through the process of mailing in the pledge card or making a donation online.

  • Do not leave messages, talk to people- keep calling.
  • Call people who have promised support, but haven’t actually pledged it. Simply ask, “Hey, I’ve just noticed that you haven’t pledged what you committed to. Would you like me to help walk you through how to donate online or is there a problem with the amount that we talked about?”

So many details, I know! But each person is worth every single step. After making all of these posts, I’m spotting all the ways that I don’t raise support well – But, at least I’m faithful with it! The final post I want to make for this series is on Support Preservation. Any requests for more posts on this series or future series?

~~~What has your experience in Support Meetings been like? What would you say are the top DO’s and DO NOT’s in a meeting??~~~

Raising Financial Support for a Living: The Letter & Phone Call

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Phew, we are pushing through this series. It’s been a good refresher for me. I’m actually learning a lot! Previously, I gave some pre-planning steps to take. Now, I want to give you some guidance in those first impressions with the Letter and Phone Call. Is this part of the process starting to be intimidating yet? If so, I hope this post relieves some fears.

So, you have already name-stormed and gotten contact info (i.e mailing address/phone #, etc) all written down. So, after this you need to write and begin sending out your contact letter.

Contact Letter = First Impression

When writing your letter use the guideline that I previously posted (or something similar).

Here’s some ideas for organizing the letter:

  1. Personal update: Important events such as graduation, work, engagement, etc.
  2. Introduce the ministry influence on you: mission statement, ways you’ve grown through it, etc.
  3. Inform them about the opportunity: describe ministry, benefits/God’s call.
  4. Invite them in:communicate your needs such as prayer & funds (clearly communicate your need for funds- do NOT surprise them with this!).

TIPS when making the letter:

  • Personalize it by writing in or typing their name in.
  • Include a professional picture of yourself.
  • Leave a handwritten P.S note directed to the individual.
  • Hand write the addresses on the envelopes.
  • Make sure they know that you will be contacting them soon.
  • Keep length within 1/2 -1 page.


  • Include prayer requests (if space permits)
  • Not all supporters will require a letter
  • Facebook message, text, or phone call may be best means for getting an appointment
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Have someone peer edit it.


So, when determining how to write it, send it, and follow up. Remember that your goal with this letter is to call them.

Therefore, consider this pace:

  1. Send them out in groups of 10. (can you really follow up w/ more than 10 people at a time??)
  2. Start with your “Top-Ten List” (people that will give you confidence not discouragement! Start out strong)
  3. Send a new batch out after you have followed up with the first batch via a phone call.

The letter isn’t so bad, now is it? On to the Phone Call…

Phone Call = Get Them Face-to-Face

The follow up call after your letter is VERY important, but VERY hard. The purpose of this call is asking them for (1) a face to face appointment or  (2) informing them of the vision and inviting them to join your team (option #2 is only in rare cases such as distance!). In fact, even if we are not able to meet face-to-face Danny and I still use Skype or FaceTime to meet with potential supporters. I send them our presentation and give away sheets so that they can follow along as we share our vision.  Overall, make every effort to secure a time and place to share with them.


  • You are not asking for a commitment over the phone, but an opportunity to inform them further.
  • People are busy. Do not take their busyness to mean disinterest.
  • Be ready to offer 3 options for them to choose from.
  • Keep track of people and what progress you have made with them (how awful would it be to forget to call someone or to call them twice b/c you’ve forgotten!). *Disorganization is a sure-fire way to make people feel like a number…


  • Have a calendar and pen available & ready before calling.
  • Expect each appointment to last 30min-1 hour.
  • So, leave about a 2 hour window for each appointment in order to travel, gather yourself, and rest.

Prime Calling Times:

  • Mon-Thurs: 7-9pm
  • Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm

*** PURPOSE OF THE PHONE CALL: An Appointment***

Since you want a face-to-face meeting intend on your phone call looking something like this…

  1. Greeting: Catch up w/ them! I know you’re scared, but try and act normal.
  2. Transition: Well, eventually you gotta get to the point. Let’s face it, most people are probably wondering why you’re calling them (because you probably never have called before, or because they did get your letter and are just waiting for you to say something about it.)
  3. Ask for an Appointment: This is as simple as saying, “Did you get my letter?” (half of your potential sponsors probably haven’t gotten it, and over half will have a legitimate conflict with your first proposed date/time. This does not mean people don’t want to support you. Remember that they are busy. So, you have to be flexible and persistent at times.
  4. Confirm: Make sure you are both on the same page about when, where, and why.


  1. What should I do if I get their answering machine? Leave a short message, then call again in a couple of days.
  2. What if they do not want to meet? Do not let them make a giving commitment over the phone. The goal is a lasting partnership, so give every effort to meet anyways and explain why it would be such a valuable time for you both.
  3. What if they say they will get back to me? Respectfully, let them know that you will contact them in x days. People are busy and you are not their top priority even though they care about you and what you’re doing. So, be wise and keep the calling as your responsibility.

The phone call is without a doubt, the most frightening part of support raising for me. Those awkward moments when people get straight to the point or don’t call you back after you’ve called 3 times make me so insecure for some reason. But, I have never in the past 4 years of raising support had someone who intentionally tried to avoid me (at least, not to my knowledge).  ***If you have any questions or suggestions about the Letter and Phone call please comment! We can all learn from each other! Also, if there is something specific you want me to cover with the Appointment and overall cycle be sure to let me know! More posts coming soon!***

Raising Financial Support for a Living: The First Steps

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Pre-Planning is Important

Whether you are raising a one-time gift for a short-term trip or monthly for something more long-term, I believe these are the best first steps you could take.

1. Take a day of prayer and select a mission verse.

2. Complete/solidify this Calling worksheet and this Vision worksheet.

3. Determine your budget.

  • Your organization/financial adviser should be able to help you establish this.

4. Invite accountability partners.

5. Read Henri Nouwen’s Spirituality of Fundraising or Randy Alcorn’s Treasure Principle

6. Write your contact letter.

  • Here’s a Basic Contact Letter Outline.
  • This is NOT a Support Letter; you are NOT asking them to send a check or money! You are simply letting them know that you intend on contacting them soon!

7. Pick your method to manage all your contacts. (Excel, Goodgle docs,)

  • Here is a Copy of a Support Tracking Sheet. Remember to update this weekly.
  • Personally, I track on an Excel sheet similar to this one, but I keep supporter’s contact info in my email contacts too.

8. Name-storm

  • List 150-250 people that have taken an interest in your life. Use this Namestorming Worksheet  for help.
  • After you list everyone, then begin to find out how to contact them.

9. Stockpile stamps, envelopes, printer ink, addresses, paper, brochures, return envelopes, THANK YOU CARDS, and appointment folders

  • Do this before you send your first letter out!!! Also, maintain a bulk supply.
  • This will remove a lot of stress and will help you be faithful to your supporters.

10. Set support amount and fully funded deadline goal.

  • Join my team at $___/month….To get me on the mission field by __Date___.
  • It is very important that you are clear about this in your meeting!

I hope that this introduction to the How-To’s helps you! This was just meant to help you prepare for support raising. Did you find this post useful? Is there something specific about support raising that you want me to expand on in future posts?

The following posts will go into more detail of The Letter, The Phone Call, and of the Appointment.