The 90 Day Myth of Raising Missionary Support.

Dafne Cholet @flickrLet me tell you about a missionary who busted it for three months to raise the missionary support he needed.  He did everything right, we worked so hard, got tons of appointments, and lots of people agreed to partner with him financially.

He went to the field and everything was great.

He was so relieved and glad to be done with raising support.

The Problem with Raising Missionary Support for 90 Days.

Here’s the problem though:

As long as you are a missionary, you are never done raising support.

You will be raising support for as long as your missionary career lasts.

I do not mean by this that you will constantly be low on your support and so you will have to keep appointments all the time.

I do not mean that, while overseas, you will still be calling people on Skype back home, asking them to give.

What I do mean is that raising missionary support is constant and on going, even if you have a different focus depending on your stage in ministry.

Raising support also includes communication with supporters while you are on the field.

It reminds me of a story I heard from a successful businesswoman.

When asked about lessons she had learned while running her business, she responded something like: “I made the mistake of only promoting my product before its launch.”

Afterwards, she did little to promote it.  Big mistake.  She realized that she always had to be promoting it.

Her idea of business previously went like this:

Create Product (but don’t release it yet!) –> Promote Product to Audience (but don’t release it yet!) –> Launch Product –> Customer Support and troubleshooting –> Move on to next project while old product continues to sell and make money (even if it sells more slowly).

Promotion in business should never stop.  It’s an ongoing discipline, even if it will look differently depending on the business cycle.

Likewise, raising support never stops.  It may look different depending on your ministry cycle, but it must always continue in some form.

Now, I know you might have a sinking feeling: “Oh, no.  Oh, noooo.  I know I must raise support, but I want it to be over as soon as possible.”

The reality is that your family may grow, your ministry may expand, and there will be unexpected expenses.  Even if 100% of your supporters stick with you, you will need some more support at some point.

So the reality is that you can never “move on” from raising support and be done with it for the rest of your life.

It might be especially tough at the beginning.  It can be exhilarating at times when you see extraordinary generosity.  You might be tempted to be anxious as the account dwindles.

Through it all, you must have the mindset that you are going to work hard at raising support.

Why you want to Raise Support Forever.

If you know you will be raising support as long as you are a missionary, then you will be able to take a longer term perspective.  You won’t badger anybody to give.  You won’t lay on guilt trips.  Instead, you’ll share the vision, keep in touch with regular updates, and leave the results to God.

Here’s how it went for me one time.

I shared with a missions committee at a church that seemed like a really good fit.  It was one of my first times giving my presentation, and so I was really nervous.  It went well, and they were indeed a good fit.  However, they decided not to partner with us financially.

About five years later, I contacted them again when I was in the area.  They had been receiving my monthly updates, and so they knew all that had been going on since my previous visit.  After one more visit, they decided to partner with us financially.  I don’t remember the exact amount right now, but it’s significant.

The key is that I was first raising support five years prior.  I continued raising support once I got on the field through regular updates and thank you notes.  After five years, I continued raising support through giving presentations.  The result was a great ministry partnership that wouldn’t have happened without a long term perspective.

So start thinking it now: “I will be raising missionary support for as long as I am a missionary.”

(If you’re sure you will only be on the field for one or two years, let me assure you that many missionaries on the field for 10+ years thought that at one point too!)

What has been your attitude about how long you want to raise missionary support?

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