This is by far the best and easiest way to maintain a good relationship with any supporter.
I am continually shocked by missionaries who tell me that they are lucky to send out some sort of update once every 8-12 weeks.
What is the best way to make sure you send an update and prayer requests at least once per month?
Ask one of your supporters, preferably a supporting church, to require you to send at least three specific prayer requests each month.
By “require” I mean that unless you send the prayer requests, they will stop supporting you at the end of the year. This will of course require a frank discussion with a supporting church.
It’s like time sheets at work. Even though nobody likes the paperwork of filling out a time sheet, everybody does it – even on time! – because otherwise they don’t get paid. In the same way, you can build some accountability into your relationship with your supporters.
Why this grows your relationship with the missionary supporter.
The built in accountability of requiring monthly prayer requests grows trust, and thus the relationship, with the supporter. With regular prayer requests, the supporter will more likely think, ” Wow, they are doing what I am giving my hard earned money for!” Without monthly updates, the supporter will wonder what you are doing.
Why don’t you send regular monthly updates?
I bet it’s not part of your routine. I also bet your routine is mundane. So what would you write?
- Include answered prayers for your previous prayer requests.
- Do you have ministry goals for the month? Ask for prayer for those.
If you haven’t seen any answered prayers and you don’t have any goals (or plans or desires), how are you spending your time while on the missions field?
Here’s another hint for those of you who sporadically communicate with supporters: Send updates and prayer requests at times other than your vacation. I know you probably do this because vacation is a time for you to reflect and you may have more time to give an update, but it can also give the impression that you are always on vacation!
Do you have other ideas for growing relationships with supporters? If you support a missionary, what have you appreciated in the relationship?