Of the best and most popular resources for raising missionary support, Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team that Lasts by Betty Barnett is one of the classics. (For some of the other classics, check out People Raising and anything by Steve Shadrach.)
Friend Raising certainly covers some how-to for raising missionary support, but it also addresses many of the bigger topics that lie behind the struggles that missionaries raising support face.
Friend Raising is full of wisdom and insight, and every missionary raising support should give it a read.
This is the beginning of a new series that will share some of the best wisdom and insight from portions of Friend Raising.
Best of Chapter One: Confirming Your Call.
“Has God called? Have you been summoned by the living God to become a missionary and to embrace a lifestyle of trust to the extreme of no guaranteed paycheck? If in fact you have been called by Him, then you are worthy. He has declared you so.”
“One of the first things to be tested in your friend-raising vs. fund-raising venture is your ‘call.’”
Steve Shadrach would point out that raising missionary support is one of the most stable sources of a paycheck, but both would agree that it feels like there is a lot of instability. Many missionaries who are raising support have anxieties that come from questions like:
- “How will I be able to support my family if raising support takes too long?”
- “What if too many people forget to pay the check on a certain month?”
- “What if there is an emergency, and I don’t have enough support to cover it?”
- “Will I ever have enough funds with so many people telling me, ‘No,’ or with so many giving only one time gifts?”
Unfortunately, these questions can snowball and become false statements:
- “Me and my ministry must not be valuable enough for others to support.”
- “Who am I kidding??? – I wasn’t really called to this.”
The Importance of God’s Call while Raising Missionary Support.
Being confident of God’s calling is key to avoiding an attitude of neediness. If you are confident of God’s calling, you can be confident that he will provide for his work. So, for example, when you ask somebody to partner with you financially, you aren’t worried if they support you now, later, or – ever. You aren’t needy; your confidence in God and his calling and his ability to provide is strong. This will inspire others to more confidence in God, and some of them may partner with you financially.
The Importance of God’s Call after Raising Missionary Support.
Really, you are never done raising support because you are constantly communicating with and cultivating supporters. Also, as your ministry or family grows and changes, you will probably have to raise more funds.
Having said that, most missionaries start at $0 of monthly support, and they have to make a big push to get several thousands of dollars per month. Once you have made that big push and raised that previously-impossible-seeming amount, you can feel confirmed in your call.
Once you have your monthly support raised for your first, or next, assignment, when you doubt your call, you can tell yourself: “God has already provided this many thousands of dollars per month for his work. Also, this many people and this many churches believe in this calling and work so much, that they are sacrificially giving their own money. Even if I don’t feel confident and called right now, all these people are telling me otherwise with their money.”