A ZOOMful of Opportunity

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By on April 17, 2020   /   Leave a comment

An opportunity to meet new people for partnership development!

This incredible time we are currently living in has given those of us who are fully funded (or mostly so) a special opportunity. This article is intended for this particular audience in this particular time, because I want to unpack an idea about gaining new contacts. This idea in no way supersedes normal and primary ways to connect with ministry partners, it is just utilizing this moment in history.

Currently, there is grim news. At the time of drafting this article the daily Covid19 statistics seem to worsen daily. Watching the stock market is like staring at a profile view of a roller-coaster under construction. A lot is changing, and few things seem settled other than the promise of Psalm 103 that God is still very much on His throne. What a comfort! Praise the Lord.

The goal of ministry partnership is about so much more than finances. It’s about sharing in the work of the Great Commission, and inviting others into engaging with God’s purpose of bringing glory to His name.  Within this slice of developing history, untold millions are experiencing some form of “intentional or required sheltering in place” at the behest of medical professionals and/or their government. It’s shocking, unnerving, and almost surreal. Daily routines have changed dramatically. There is also something else quite unique about this moment in time that we might consider to be encouraging news: Most of those practicing social distancing have begun utilizing technology and virtual gatherings in ways that were largely impossible before now. Consider the implications of that. This new wave of digital connection might be a special time which provides you with an uncommon and increased opportunity of access to new people for sharing about the vision for ministry God has laid on your heart. 

If you are like me, you probably have some contacts who are active in various sorts of church or Bible related Community Groups, Men’s Groups, Women’s groups, etc., – that are based around the common goal of seeking God. In many cases, these groups have moved their meetings online. What if you were to procure an invite to share at one or two of these online meetings, and you took the opportunity to proclaim God’s love, our hope in Him alone, and a bit about your ministry vision and work? You could do this from wherever you are in the world, so long as you have decent internet speed to your phone or computer. And you don’t have to gather the audience, it’s already been gathered. What an incredible time!

I don’t like being too prescriptive in how to approach something like this, so allow me to say that you don’t have to do things exactly how I would do it. However, see if you can follow my possible progression of prayer, thoughts, and action. Always remember to be sensitive to where people are in this current state of the world, remember your goal is to share the encouraging word of God, and remember God is always calling people to His purposes.

What are 5 things I would do if I was considering sharing online with a group of probable Christians, that were mostly strangers to me?

  1. Pray. I need to pray about it before blazing forward on a new idea. Doing an online meeting might be a different approach than what I’m used to, but it might also be a great strategy for introducing people to how God is working. Does God want me to boldly do this or something like it? Ask. Listen. Adjust. Conform. Be obedient. If God is confirming He wants me to try something like this, then I would pray about what friend or two I should ask invites from.

  2. PRE-ask the friend if they would like a missionary (me!) to visit their online group call. I would let them know I’m not directly asking for financial partnership on their group call. However, it seems like a great opportunity to meet and be met. If they say yes and invite me I would also….

  3. PRE-ask that same friend to make follow-up easy on me. Before the group meeting ever happens, I would ask my friend to plan to share contact information without me having to ask everyone for it. I’d probably ask them to text contact cards or put together a spreadsheet to simplify it for me.

    This is much easier than asking everyone to send me their information, and it saves a lot of time. I’d also explain that after the group meeting, I plan to send along a copy of my newsletter to everyone, and possibly individually follow up from there.

    However, I would be sure to indicate to my friend that I’m not going to continually pursue anyone who shows no interest after an attempt or two at further connection. I’m going to be sensitive, and proactively put my friend’s possible concerns to rest. I would also let my friend know that I might end up doing some support raising with people who reply and express interest, but one step at a time.

  4. Approach the online meeting as a good time to meet others, get to know them a bit, and also share about my ministry vision and a story of life change for God’s glory. Yes, I would have a background goal of eventually crossing the bridge for support raising with those whom God opens the door. However, I’m not trying to share everything about me or my ministry role or raise funds at this moment. Right now, I want to have the simple goal of connection with other brothers and sisters in Christ that are in community with the person who invited me. I want to start to get to know them, but also let them get to know me and the heart for ministry God has put inside me. Thus, I want to keep it simple and allow God to be the inspiration. I’d shoot to only have 10 minutes of presentation and 1 picture to share with the group. But I would also plan to stay on the entire call and listen in on and possibly participate with their bible study, prayer, etc.

  5. Have a plan for after the online meeting. I’d plan to send a recent newsletter to everyone. I might also send some individual emails or make phone calls or text people on a 1-1 basis. Something like, “John, it was great to meet you briefly on your Men’s Bible Study online meeting. It was an honor to share with you about our ministry and how God is using it to change lives. I’m curious if our vision for ministry made sense to you, or if it left you with questions. Maybe we could talk 1-1 sometime soon, and share more about our ministry vision, budget goals, and how God is changing lives. Would you be open to connecting again soon?” Obviously there are many variations of how I could approach moving from group communication to individual communication, and not everyone is going to reply. But prayerfully, something like this progression will connect others to being involved in the kingdom work God has laid before you.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be seeking God continually about the possibility of engaging with a process such as this. Like many others you are probably stuck at home. What if one of the purposes of a time such as this, is for you to bring others into Great Commission partnership through something like this?

Seek Him first, listen well, and be bold for His glory!

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