Debunking Myths about Ethnic Minority Support Raising

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By on November 21, 2017   /   3 Comments

As a fully funded ethnic minority Navigator staff and Ministry Partnership Development (MPD) coach, I want to challenge a few common myths that I encounter:

Myth: “Ethnic minority staff can’t raise money.”

That’s a bold statement based on many assumptions. The last time I looked in the mirror, I was still an ethnic minority person, and God has taught me how to raise money and become fully funded. It has been a journey of deepening my intimacy with Christ as He exposed lies I had believed about money.

Funds didn’t pour in when I started on this journey. In fact, in my early days of ministry, my support level was rather pathetic. I assumed I would be funded right away by mailing out just a few letters and praying a lot. Nope. Instead God put me on a long-term plan. Yes, I was going to be funded, but it was according to His plan! I’m so thankful God didn’t allow me to quit prematurely. If I had believed the myth, I’d have given up a long time ago and missed out the blessing He had prepared for me.

Next time you hear that statement, explore further. Are your minority staff expected to be funded in a certain amount of time by themselves? According to your plan and schedule? Is there something about the staff’s cultural and ethnic background that is unique to them? Be a good coach and expose the underlying assumptions so you can address them.

Myth: “There is no money where that staff person is from.”

Once in a funding innovation meeting with staff of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, a Hispanic pastor who lived and ministered to folks in a border town sat next to me. He was forced to be bi-vocational in order to minister and provide for his family. After the meeting, I asked him whether there was money among the folks he served. His answer exposed an assumption I didn’t know I had. He told me that many wealthy folks were fleeing the cartels and making a new life here in the U.S., and they brought their wealth with them. There can be money among the people ethnic staff minister to, as even among a poor demographic, not everyone is poor!

How easy it is to stereotype certain people groups, and assume everyone in that group is alike. As a coach, the least I can do is to help all staff become aware of certain stereotypes and honestly acknowledge them. These stereotypes can blind us to thinking outside the box and considering the very people God wants us to invite into ministry partnerships.

Myth: “Ethnic minority staff don’t have access to funding ‘pools’ or ‘streams’ like majority-culture staff.”

When I lived in Oregon, my buddy and I would constantly explore new streams and creeks in search of our next secret fishing hole. It was an adventure, an opportunity to experience the thrill of the catch! So when I heard that statement, the first thought in my mind was, why? Can’t it be learned? Are they prevented access, or do they simply not know how to gain access? Understanding the difference will drastically affect how I coach them. The first is a belief or attitude issue, whereas the second is a skill-set issue. Chances are, most minority staff feel both. They don’t feel they have the permission or the skill-set to “fish in other streams.”

As a coach, I want to help them understand themselves, and allow the Spirit to speak to them in light of this new revelation. If fundraising is truly biblical, then it shouldn’t matter what kind of “streams” or “ponds” the funds are coming from—they all belong to God!

Later in life, I met a guy who grew up next to the Lewis River in Washington. I still remember the first time I went fishing with him. Not only did he showed me where he used to fish, he also introduced me to the person who owned the property next to the river so we could get permission to fish on his stretch of the river. That was a great day of fishing!

Ironically, I have my own set of assumptions on ethnic minority funding. Perhaps through this article you will see some of my beliefs. Ultimately, all the questions merge into one: “Can ethnic minority staff be fully funded to do what God has called them to do?” Yes, yes, and YES!

One of my funding heroes is a minority staff ministering to African-American students at Wayne State University. His exhortation to me has continued to guide me as I coach staff:

“Ken, everyone tells me funding is hard. And I have experienced how hard it is. So stop telling me funding is hard, but tell me instead IT CAN BE DONE!”

Let’s help all our Gospel workers, including our ethnic minority brothers and sisters, believe that it can be done, and challenge our assumptions to coach them there!

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