Learned Helplessness

Dread. That’s what I felt before my weekly check-in as an MPD coach with this staff. The litany of excuses, hopelessness, and futility I felt each meeting sucked me right into their vortex of despair, transforming a great day into a dreary one. I worked hard as a coach, asking reflective questions designed to help them arrive at a new insight or behavior change that would move them to some measure of success. Nearly every time my questions were answered with some form of “I have tried it all and people just don’t want to support me. I don’t even […]

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An Open Letter to the Christian Family about Generosity to Our Missionaries

Co-authored by Tim Howington and Chris Haas I (Tim) had a world-changing meeting at Cracker Barrell recently. I was privileged to sit down with a young couple committed to reaching college students for Christ. I got to hear about what God is doing as He expands His kingdom in and through these missionaries. Like many other missionaries, God has called them to spread the gospel in a specific part of our world, and they are in the process of raising their personal support. By that, I mean that they are working full time in their ministry and are looking to […]

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The Price of Effectiveness: What Organizational Change Actually Costs

In 1919, Texas Baptists began a ministry for college students. Our first Baptist Student Ministries (BSM) was planted at Texas A&M and UT, but soon included most of the major campuses in Texas. God has done so much in these past 101 years within Texas BSM, so we have a lot to celebrate! While our methods of ministry have changed with the times, our model of funding (until recently) has not. The path from a traditional model of funding into a support-based model has not been easy, but because of our embrace of support raising, we are better equipped to […]

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5 Things to Look for in an MPD Coach

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (NIV).” It is interesting that Paul does not say, “Follow Christ’s example, as I follow the example of Christ.” I believe what Paul is trying to convey in this passage is the principle of mentorship in our walk with God. In whatever skill we are trying to develop, we all need a mentor or a coach to get better. Even the most highly accomplished, professional athletes still need a coach. How much more important is a good coach when it comes to raising support, […]

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Looking Beyond the Class

At first, the words were faint, harmlessly percolating in my mind, but a question soon formed and draped over my shoulders like a yoke, “Did I prepare him for this?”.  Foot on brake, not yet ready to drive away, I gazed with yearning through my car window at the back of my oldest boy while his huge frame eagerly pranced through the quad to the entrance of his college dormitory. My wife, LeNair, knew my thoughts and reassured me as I watched Ryan disappear around the corner. Questions still echoed in my head, “Did I prepare him for this?”, “Did I […]

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Multi-Ministry Virtual Summer Training Project

A note from the CMM Executive Director (of which SRS is a ministry of), DJ Rofkahr — Jump to Steve Shadrach’s invitation. As COVID19 began to spread and impact multiple ministries, there were a variety of responses and emotions. For many, there was a grieving at the loss of opportunity to impact lives personally as spring activities were just getting into full swing. For others, there was also a fear of being individually touched by the virus as we as a country went into lockdown and social distancing. Some went immediately into crisis mode and began to make plans for […]

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A ZOOMful of Opportunity

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 […]

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Setting Your Focus

What to do about what you can’t control for you and your team My wife homeschooled our children for a few years. She did a great job motivating our kids. She set an end of the year reward for the kids to go to an amusement park if they hit their weekly and semester goals. The kids hit their goals and the day trip was planned. One of my children had their heart set on riding one particular ride for months.  The day came and the excitement grew as we stood in line to buy tickets. The gates opened and […]

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Stop Toilet Paper Hoarding. Start Empowering Your Donors.

Everyone has an opinion and advice on what to do about the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Even ISIS has weighed in, warning its followers to stay away from Europe so they don’t get infected. Here at The Agitator we’re focused on the effects the pandemic will have on fundraising in hopes we can offer some helpful insights, advice and additional resources.  To that end last week we issued the first of what will be a series of Agitator Updates –information over and above our scheduled posts– and we’ll continue to send them to all readers via email. Over the weekend we touched base with lots of veteran […]

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Wanna Go For a Sprint?

What is a “sprint”? An MPD Sprint is a 30-45 day period in which full-time staff spend part-time (20 hours a week) in a support raising season supported by a coach and in community with fellow staff. These sprints create an environment of camaraderie, excitement, and activity focused goal setting. Why a sprint? It’s no secret that support raising is one of the most difficult aspects of being a missionary. If left unchecked, staff may creatively avoid their support raising until it slowly becomes a problem so big that it not only affects their ministries, but their entire lives. But […]

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