Every missionary should read Steve Shadrach’s: ViewPoints: Fresh Perspectives on Personal Support Raising.<Not an affiliate link.>
One key issue that every missionary raising personal support must face is that of fear. Fear can take on many faces, but it often manifests itself in the form of worry about stability.
In Chapter 3, Stability: The most ‘secure’ job you’ll ever have, Steve points out that “job security” really is a mirage.
What does not bring stability.
Steve rightly points out that some people have a false hope in the “job security” that can come from certain degrees (even advanced ones!), hard work, and an ever improving economy in the US.
Many of us raising personal support for missions can too easily think that others who have “real” jobs enjoy much more stability than we do. We fear that once the instability of our missionary career eventually catches up with us, we won’t have another job to turn to. We won’t have skills that are valued in the market. Or, if we do have such skills, our missions experience does not provide us with a great resume to show off such skills.
“Ok, so what will I do for a job once I (pick one) 1) burn out, 2) lose all my support, 3)have to leave the ministry because of a tragedy/emergency, 4)[fill in the blank with whatever your fearful heart thinks of]???”
I bet a lot of missionaries have these fears at some point of their missionary career.
All of us need to remember that only the Lord stays the same, that he provides for us – and for all those in other careers – and that he alone is our stability. Or, as Steve says, “Our security and stability come from God, and from God alone.”
Having said that, Steve gives a more balanced view of the stability that raising personal missionary support can bring.
Diversification brings stability.
Like investing in stocks, Steve points out that having 60 monthly and 30 annual supporters results in a diversified base of support. That is, if one sector of the economy, or one part of the country sags economically, then that should be balanced out by supporters in excelling sectors and regions.
As a random side note, this is the same reason that small business owners, many of them solo-preneuers, feel more stable than those who work for somebody else and draw a salary and benefits. For example, if you run your own business and have twenty clients, then you have twenty sources of income. If you have a salary from a company, then you only have one source of income. Having twenty sources of income, even if they are smaller and more irregular, is more stable than having one source of income.
Another look at Diversification in Missions Support.
With every approach to raise missions support, there are pros and cons. One con of having supporters that are geographically diverse is that it can be difficult to keep in touch with them. Yes, I know about the wonderful technologies that help us stay connected these days, but most people tend to financially support those that they can get some face-to-face time with. For many missionaries, they can only see supporters while on furlough or home assignment, and it can be a real struggle to travel to several different regions of the US to visit supporters.
How to Diversify your Missions Support more.
Steve doesn’t mention this, but one way to diversify your missions support is to have some of your support from churches, not just from individuals. Now, I realize that most of you won’t want to focus on raising your personal missionary support exclusively from churches. That’s what I have done, and I can show you how to do that. However, I think most of you want to diversify your missions support team by adding some churches. Perhaps you have a goal of gaining six more supporting churches. Perhaps you want as many as you can get as long as they are within one hour of your home in the US. Either way, you will be seeking to diversify your missions support beyond only individuals. Interested? Learn more.