Do you know somebody who just always seems to get stuff done?
You know, the type of person who hasn’t already fizzled out on their new year’s resolution.
How are they different from other people?
It really boils down to a few things. They have a few clear cut goals. They work towards those goals every day. They are constantly improving their work process.
As a missionary, you need to get stuff done – whether it’s raising your funds or working on your ministry that you’ve raised funds for. That is, you need to figure out what those few goals are. You need to work towards those goals. Each and every day. Then, you need to work towards those goals smarter.
The most insight into these issues come from the business world.
That’s why the 2014 motto for BFFM is:
Raise Your Missions Support Like a Pro.
I don’t just mean you will get excellent results. I mean that you will have the same business-like approach that professionals have – so that you can get excellent results.
I’ll be honest. I’ve talked to bunches of missionaries who are raising support. I’ve done it myself – with varying degrees of success. It is definitely tough at times. However, too many of them stop working hard at it after just a few months, or even just a few weeks. What business professional stops working hard when they are starting a business after just a few months or weeks?
Some of the work habits missionaries can acquire while raising support are habits they never would have practiced at their previous career.
- Too many missionaries don’t write the letters and make the phone calls that they should. Who goes to their job and keeps busy with anything except the very thing they need to do to get the job done? Not real professionals.
- Missionaries can joke about how bad they are about sending thank you notes and sending prayer updates regularly. Or, if they do communicate, they put only minimal effort into it. Professionals know how to communicate effectively.
- Missionaries also get tired of asking people for financial support. The rejection gets tiring, exhausting, depressing, and so they avoid it. They stop asking. You can’t be rejected if you never ask. Business professionals get rejected all the time; not everybody is their client. And they keep on working and succeeding at it.
- After 10 presentations that don’t go awesome, the missionary raising support might conclude that it doesn’t work. Or maybe, the results would be different if the missionary improved each presentation. By the 10th time, it should be awesome.
Now, I’m certainly not getting down on missionaries or bashing them for being a bunch of lazy bums who don’t take their work seriously. I listed each of the examples above because I was there too at some point. Like I said, raising support is tougher than any of us would have expected.
There are support raising “victories,” it can feel so satisfying and even easy. A five minute phone call can lead to a presentation that leads to tens of thousands of dollars of financial support during your missionary career.
One presentation that is tweaked over and over can not only result in support for you, but it can be used to call others to missions. The results could be huge and even incalculable.
You know what feels great? Once the support is raised, and you are sitting on the airplane getting ready to take off. Moments like that bring incredible gratitude.
I certainly believe that God is sovereign and provides for his work. He works despite us, in addition to through us. At the same time, we are stewards of all the time and resources he has entrusted us. That means working with the tools we’ve got like a pro.
We don’t want to get mired down and become “unprofessional” in our support raising efforts. We want to do it with excellence, because there is so much at stake. To do it with excellence, we can learn a lot from business.
I certainly don’t think the business world is a perfect analogy for missionary work, but there is so much we can learn from it for the better.
So here’s what you can expect from BFFM in 2014:
- Fewer articles that give a more in depth that look at business concepts missionaries can “steal” from to improve. Some of these will be on the blog. Some of them will only be for subscribers of the BFFM Newsletter. Join, if you haven’t already. [If you know somebody who could benefit from this material, make sure they join this newsletter!]
Other changes coming to BFFM in 2014:
- A New ebook: A Q&A format ebook for those considering becoming missionaries.
- “Cool Stuff for Missionaries” will be more of a quarterly feature, not a monthly feature on the blog.
- An updated theme for the website. [My internet connection is really slow, so I’m not sure when this will get done – but would a pro use such an excuse!?]
So here’s the first little insight to help you:
Action trumps theory.
(It’s a pithy proverb folks, don’t absolutize it.)
For example, instead of thinking about writing that next prayer letter (or whatever you “should” be doing), take action and open a new document and start writing it. Get the first draft done before a 20 minute timer on your iPhone goes off.
Let me give you an easy opportunity to take action.
What is something that you “should” do better to raise support in 2014?
Take action by emailing me or leaving a comment telling me what you want to do better in 2014 to raise support.
I read all the emails.