- Focus on churches, or individuals?
- Only pray, or pray and share information, or pray and directly ask for support?
But there is another key question that all missionaries must decide on while raising missionary support:
Is the missionary raising support for a person, or for a task?
All missionaries are taught that they are raising funds for a ministry, but in reality, most supporters don’t see it that way.
Most supporters support missionaries for two reasons:
- They have a relationship with the missionary.
- They want to support the task that the missionary is doing.
Of course, sometimes these will overlap.
In my experience, most supporters give towards a ministry because they know and love the person that they are supporting.
A few challenges this presents.
If a missionary focuses on raising missions support from individuals they know, they will probably run out of contacts before they are fully funded.
It can also get tough when your personal friendships are tied up with money. Your friends and family might feel bad if they decide to stop supporting your ministry – even if they are forced to by a job loss.
You might feel bad for calling them to sometimes see how they are doing, and sometimes to ask for more money.
It can just be kinda’ awkward and stressful at times.
Warning: if none of your personal friends and family will support you, then you need to seriously consider if you should go into that ministry.
The good news is that if somebody is supporting your ministry because of their relationship with you, they are likely to support you, even if you change ministries/organizations in the future.
This leads us to the challenge of being supported by those who want to support your task, but don’t feel a close personal relationship with you.
The great thing about this is that there are more potential supporters, even if it is tough to initially contact them. The big drawback is that if you change ministry, location, or organization in the future, they are very likely to stop supporting you.
So, what’s it gonna’ be?
Will you seek support based upon the relationship with you, or based upon the task of the ministry?
Ideally, supporters would be supporting you for both reasons. They know you personally, and they are on board with the task.
So, when communicating with those who know you personally, cast a vision for the strategic and important nature of the task. When communicating with those who support your task, focus on cultivating the personal relationship.
When there is support of both the person and the task, it is a powerful thing.