17 YEARS IN BONDAGE: ONE MAN’S JOURNEY TO SUPPORT RAISING FREEDOM

Allen took a deep breath, nervously stood up in front of the entire ministry staff, and made a bold proclamation. Looking up to God, then at his surprised wife at his side, and finally at the 250 other eyeballs staring at him, he cried out, “I have been underfunded and limping along for 17 years. I’m so sorry. I make a covenant today, once and for all, to God, my wife and kids, and to all of you. I take total responsibility for getting my family and ministry to full budget—and staying there the rest of our lives!” But before […]

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LEVERAGE YOUR MINISTRY FOR KINGDOM IMPACT

Bryan works for a large mission organization and spends some of his days in a small dark room making copies of DVD’s. Imagine Bryan on a support appointment: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what you do in your ministry. Bryan: I sit in a small dark room and make DVD’s for Jesus. Prospective partner: Hmm, I see. Bryan: Would you support my ministry? It is not hard to imagine the outcome of that conversation. The odds of this person joining Bryan’s ministry are pretty slim. However, imagine if Bryan’s conversation went something like this: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what […]

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THREE THINGS YOUR DONORS WON’T TELL YOU

1. I wish you were a better writer (i.e. I don’t read your letters much). When I see your newsletter in the pile on the kitchen counter I cringe. As your giving partner I should be thrilled to read your letter, but I know from experience it’s like wading through wintry slush. Often, I barely browse through them. Sorry. Why? Here’s a list of reasons I wouldn’t tell you either, but since you asked: You use names of people I don’t know or care about. You summarize your schedule rather than telling me about changed lives. Your letters are more […]

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DO FUNDRAISING BEFORE YOU NEED TO!

When people find out I have been up to budget for 30 years, they ask, “Do you still do fundraising even though you are up to budget?” The question is similar to, “Why fix the roof if it is not raining?” Yes, I still invite support even though I am fully funded—four reasons: My budget goes up every year. Our Board of Directors insists we have adequate living expenses. I identify special projects each year to advance my ministry even more. I don’t aim for a “low budget” just so I won’t have to raise new support. If I need […]

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Five Character Flaws That Sabotage Our Support Raising

I like to think of myself as a positive person, cheering on everyone I cross paths with. But today, we need some “tough love” (me included!) for us who call ourselves full-time Christian workers. Yes, there are many exceptions, but let’s be honest, in many circles, our reputation stinks. And if the world (or the Church!) views us negatively, we have no one to blame but ourselves. So, sit down, take a stiff swig of a 5 Hour Energy Drink, and let me perform a much-needed “intervention” to help us truly face reality. These five flaws in our character desperately need to be […]

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Writing Prayer Letters That People Want to Read

On a visit with Herb and Sandy, one of my first ministry partners, Herb pulled out a neat stack of prayer letters and thank-you notes from the last ten years. Sandy said, “He has all of them.” Today that comes to over 38 years of letters and notes we wrote them! Herb stumped me when he referred to something I specifically wrote some time ago. After he prompted me, I finally remembered! Is the hard copy prayer letter dead? Brian Barela, Campus Crusade’s Director of Digital Media, is an advocate for the right use of social media when communicating with […]

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Shad-o-nomics 101: My Six-Step Homemade Plan to Get to Full Support

Growing up as the son of a businessman in Dallas, Texas, had its advantages and disadvantages. Because Dad had lived through the depression years, he instilled his “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” perspective into his three sons—of which I was the middle. Work hard, provide for your family, get to the top, and retire early were the values he spoke of and modeled to us. My two brothers majored in business with the goal of becoming millionaires by age 30. I was expected to follow suit into the work world to obtain the “American Dream” and the accompanying financial […]

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Five Essential Tools to Overcome a Disaster

Recently, I was reading an article that asked, “What are the top 5 tools that will help you survive a natural or man-made disaster?” Realizing that many in Christian ministry who are raising support seem to be teetering on the brink of disaster, I found myself taking the principles of that article and applying it to Ministry Partner Development (MPD). Here are the tools: 1. Your Brain – This is the single most important tool in any survival situation. Reading 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, I’m quick to recognize that our natural thinking does not provide the solution, but the key is […]

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Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media in Support Raising

Email, Websites, Cell Phones, My Space, Facebook, Texting, YouTube, Blogging, Skyping, Tweeting, Smart Phones, Linked In, Mail Chimp, etc, etc…Where does it end? Where are we going? How can I possibly keep up? It can seem like a runaway freight train overloaded with complex technology! If you are hanging on for dear life when it comes to understanding (much less using!) all the social media options available to us, you’re not alone. Yes, those of you under 25 might feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store, but the rest of us old timers may liken it more to […]

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Raising Support While Already Involved in the Ministry (aka…Changing Tires on a Moving Vehicle)

Let’s all agree that the ideal for Ministry Partner Development (MPD support raising) is that it should be done completely in advance of reporting to the ministry location or beginning the ministry work if you already live there. Oh, that this was always a perfect world in which we live! Using an automotive metaphor from the world of Formula 1 or NASCAR auto racing, it would be ideal to have plenty of advance notice to prepare a high-performance racecar, equip and rehearse your pit crew, and be ready to go into the race with all the pieces in place to […]

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