Tentmaking vs. Support Raising: Which is the Biblical Model?

Well….both. But sometimes they’re pitted against one another. Have you ever had someone respond to your support request by asking, “Why don’t you go out and do your ministry the biblical way?” Curious, you inquire further, and they confidently proclaim, “Well, Jesus was a carpenter and Paul was a tentmaker. They didn’t go and beg for support. They took care of themselves.” A look at Jesus Even though Jesus could have impressed everyone with an endless supply of instant cash, He chose to depend on God—and others—who were “contributing to their support out of their private means.” (Luke 8:1-3). If […]

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Five Current Trends in Personal Support Raising

1. Ministries do support raising just like they do their witnessing. Those that are not willing or able to ask people to receive Christ in their personal ministry are usually not willing or able to ask people to give during their support raising appointments. We may blame our support failures on lack of contacts, lack of experience, etc…but that’s usually just a smokescreen to hide our fears. The groups that have broken through the faith (and fear) barriers of consistently doing personal evangelism not only attract more staff, but will usually get them to full support much quicker.    2. […]

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Lowering the Support Raising Bar: Whose Fault is That?

I’m frustrated. Why is it taking 12, 18, 24 months for many Christian workers to raise their support and get to their assignment? Is it because of poor training, lack of faith, or a dismal work ethic? Well, maybe…but I think the guilty party may have been staring back at us this morning as we brushed our teeth! Workers come into our organizations full of hope, enthusiasm, and teachableness. If we were to tell them to jump, they’d ask “how high?” on the way up. But instead of inscribing “GO FOR IT!” on the fresh tablet of their heart, we […]

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100% in 100 Days: Are You Kidding?

We conducted an informal survey of numerous mission agencies at the most recent Urbana Missions Conference in Illinois. We went from booth to booth asking, “What is the average amount of time it takes your missionaries to raise their full support?” The results? 23 months When I share that shocking figure in our Personal Support Raising Boot Camps around the country, I then ask the question: “Would you like to spend the next 23 months of your life raising support?” The answer is always a resounding NO. Who’s responsible for creating these self imposed support raising marathons? It begins when […]

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Full or Part Time Support Raising: Which Approach is Best for Your Staff?

The arena was pitch black except for the spotlight on the man performing amazing feats 100 feet above the crowd. We gasped as he let go of one trapeze, do multiple flips, then blindly fly towards a second trapeze he believed would be there. Hoping his hands were not as sweaty as mine, he finally, at the last split second, grabbed the swinging metal bar and made it safely back to the platform. To any rational human being, this high flying spectacle appears as pure lunacy. In the same way, newly accepted Christian workers who deliberately walk away from their […]

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A Working Spouse: Does it Affect Support Raising?

Scenario 1: Brad is a 25 year old dynamo who was recently accepted onto the staff of an agency reaching out to Muslims. He received support raising training, and is now working on it full time, but four months into his efforts, he hit a wall. Person after person he meets with seem to be hesitant to come on his team. When he probes a little deeper, some of his contacts have responded, “Now, isn’t your wife a CPA for the big accounting firm downtown?” How is Brad to respond?    Scenario 2: Sarah is an energetic 32 year old […]

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Underfunded Staff: What To Do With Them?

I had to turn away from the horrific, gruesome, agonizingly drawn out execution scene of the ancient Scottish hero, William Wallace, in the movie Braveheart. Yes, I wanted my teenage sons to see this man’s courage and perseverance, but did Mel Gibson have to show five full minutes of indescribable anguish and torment? It may sound over dramatic, but I have seen numerous Christian workers over the years experience this kind of slow torturous death—not physically, but financially and emotionally. Their support team may have been strong and vigorous at one time, but for whatever reason, it began a long, […]

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Do You Model What You Ask Others To Do?

The movie Gladiator opens with the Roman general Maximus leading his troops into battle against a horde of vicious barbarians. While most generals would simply sit on a distant hill observing, Maximus was leading the charge himself, all the while yelling at the top of his lungs, “Stay with me! Staaaay with meeee!” No wonder he never lost a battle—mainly because his men had incorporated the same loyalty and bravery their leader had modeled for years. The reason they respected Maximus so much? He never asked them to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself. I’ve known a few […]

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Churches or Individuals: Which Should You Focus On?

In March of 2003 sportswriters for USA Today rated the most difficult thing to do in all of sports is to hit a fastball coming toward you at 100 mph. Any major leaguer knows it requires laser like focus to connect with the tiny blur hurling toward them. Similarly, a successful support raiser must exercise incredible concentration if they are going to get to their ministry assignment quickly—and fully funded. In Bill Dillon’s book, People Raising, he contrasts two different, but true, cases of support raising—one focused on churches, the other on individuals: Case One: Couple Focused on Churches Support […]

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Support Raising and Witnessing: Any Connection?

After helping train staff from almost 120 Christian organizations I have come to a conclusion: Ministries do personal support raising just like they do their personal witnessing. Consider the necessary steps in both activities: 1. Create the need 2. Share the solution 3. Ask for a decision Even though rejection is possible, the bottom line for both endeavors is: Are you able to ask the “golden question?” After presenting the gospel to someone, the golden question is the most agonizingly difficult question in the English language to utter. Even typing it out, my hands are sweating, my heart is pounding, […]

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