[featured_image]I always wanted to be a missionary (since I was a teenager) but I never wanted to raise support! When God led us six years ago to commit ourselves to joining OC International to serve as missionaries and to accelerate church planting movements, raising support was not on my mind. It was only after I responded in obedience to God’s calling that I began to consider the challenge of raising 100% of our support (including our monthly income, insurance, pension, ministry expenses, travel, etc).
Recently, some good friends of ours who are planting a church in Long Beach have started the process of raising support. This caused me to reflect on our experience. If you are in the process of raising support, I cannot predict how your friends (potential donors) will respond to your appeal, but I’d like to share some learnings from our experience as we began raising support.
First, I thought we could raise all our support need in six months. After six months, we’d raised about 50%. This was great! But it was only half of what we needed. Whether you are raising a large amount or smaller amount, be realistic about the length of time it will take. Learn from others. Be patient.
Second, while we raised 50% in six months, it took us 18 months to raise the next 40%. I’m not suggesting it will take that long to reach your goal. Just don’t be surprised by the timing. Keep trusting God and His care for you and your family.
Third, churches had a much longer process for committing to our support. This was a big surprise. One church wouldn’t start giving until we were actually moving to Seattle. Whether you are moving near, far or staying where you are, don’t be surprised if the commitment process is slower with churches.
Fourth, many of the people I expected to give didn’t and those I thought couldn’t did. God will definitely surprise you by those who join your team! Don’t predetermine who cannot support you.
Fifth, ongoing communication is important. Keep sending updates and prayer requests and praises to everyone who is interested in what you are doing. You never know what God may use in someone’s life that compels them to join your support team. Tell lots of stories!
Sixth, raising support was much more challenging for me personally than I expected. Don’t be intimidated by asking people to join your support team. Relating to potential donors has become easier as I ask them to consider whether God wants them to support us or not. He is our Provider! We are trusting Him to move people to as a channel of His provision.
Seventh, celebrate every gift and every giver! No matter the amount, thank God and thank the person for their contribution! Pray regularly for your donors – and ask them how you can pray for them!
We are so grateful for the individuals and churches who contribute monthly to our support! We are completely dependent on their faithful and obedient giving to accomplish the calling God has for us as missionaries.
I have to confess that I’m still learning in this area. I’m not great at support raising. I’m still learning and feel that I have a lot to learn. But I’m trusting God and that’s a great place to be – dependent on Him to meet our needs.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
“Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.” J. Hudson Taylor
Consider how God may be leading you to be a channel of His resource to meet the relational, financial or physical needs of a missionary! Whatever He tells you to do, do it!