Question about Funding for missionaries:
"What can I do to successfully raise prayer and financial support?"
Learning to raise support often happens through training provided by the missions agency. Sometimes that training is extensive and quite helpful. Sometimes there is little to no training at all. That's where it can be helpful to find other resources such as books and seminars to help.
One great resource that is comprehensive and inexpensive is called Partners for LIFE: How to Build, Grow and Maintain Your Missionary Support Team. It provides online video training sessions, downloadable materials and more that you can access anytime from anywhere. Many have found this training to be extremely helpful. Maybe you will, too. Start with the support-raising blog and a sample video.
I was working as a waitress at a local restaurant, and one evening I was speaking about what what God was doing in my life. It turned out that the couple I was waiting on were pastors of a church all the way across the country, and they were searching for missionaries to support. Just because of my passion, and my desire to communicate to others what God was doing, that one church now fully supports me and has been doing so for more than a year.
Prayer and passion... those are the two things that I had, and those are the two things that God used to get me what I needed.
First, I pray to find out what God wants me to do, and then through prayer I apply his promises to those needs. Second, in an honest up-front way, I share with my home church and prayer partners what I intend to do and what I need to get the job done. I have never begged for money. Instead, after praying about my needs, church leaders and supporters usually ask what I need. Sometimes the Lord gives me creative ways to share those needs in a newsletter or through some other communication with my support team.
When the information pack arrived a few days later, I looked through it and was horrified to learn that I would have to raise personal support. I thought through my list of family and friends. Many had just left college as I had and were struggling to pay off student loans. Some were newly married and taking on the responsibilities of mortgages and other home costs. There was no one I felt I could ask for money, so I filed the papers under the bed and tried to forget about it.
I told my parents my new plan for the next two years, filled out the application forms, and let all my family and friends know. My dad and I began to dream up creative schemes for fundraising-donor dinners, bake sales, craft sales. I took a Christmas job in a shop to help pay off my school debt. In the early summer, my church let me have a table at the Village Festival to sell some of my unwanted belongings to raise money. Several people gave me one-time gifts, and offers of monthly support began to filter in.
There were no miraculous meetings, no huge, unexpected donations, but many small gifts, often from people I hardly knew. Before my dad and I had a chance to put any of our plans into action, I added up how much I had, how much had been promised, and what I had managed to save from my job. I discovered that slowly, quietly, and unobtrusively God had provided exactly the total I needed for my two-year commitment.
I always knew he could do it but never really believed he would do it for me. I have now been in missions for five years, and God has continued to provide for my needs, plus a few "wants" on the side! More than that, he has broadened my horizons beyond my imagination and allowed me to be part of His plan in many people's lives.
Excerpted from pp. 186ff in the book Scaling the Wall: Overcoming Obstacles to Missions Involvement, by Kathy Hicks.
I somewhat naively thought that the Lord could bring these pledges together in about thirty days. Praise God, he did exactly that. And my home church pledged nothing that first year.
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