Don’t Beat Around the Bush

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By on August 1, 2010   /   Leave a comment

I asked a good friend of mine who has been one of our long-time financial partners, “When we have a financial need, how would you like us to approach you?” His response, “Just ask me.” This is profound. People do not want us to be circumspect when it comes to asking for support.

If you have an “inner” resistance to asking people to give, it is critical to be honest with yourself about what is causing that resistance. Is it a fear that you are manipulating people to do something they really don’t want to do? Do you feel you are bothering people? Or perhaps, do you feel as if you are begging?

For many, the struggle with asking someone to give is not theological–it’s emotional. Some have grown up in families where their parents never asked anyone (neighbors or relatives) for help. Perhaps they felt they would be imposing on their friends.

From a Kingdom perspective, asking someone to give is not coercing them or begging them to give. Asking becomes begging when we leave God out of the equation, and when we lose sight of the fact that asking is inviting people to have a significant part in the Great Commission through their financial stewardship.

Asking becomes begging when we lose sight of the fact that asking is inviting people to have a part in the Great Commission.

Even if you are convinced that this is the correct way to look at asking people to give, it does not necessarily mean it will make asking a more comfortable experience for you. Asking takes courage and boldness. It requires us to step out of our comfort zone. This is what faith is about. It is about trusting God to do something that is beyond our human abilities.

You have to settle the matter that asking people to give is a good thing to do. We must take our eyes off of ourselves and see asking through God’s eyes. Philippians is perhaps the first record we have of a thank you letter from a missionary to his financial partners. Paul is under house arrest, and even though he has reason to be concerned about himself, his focus is upon the Philippians and what God is doing in their lives.

He talks about the spiritual benefits the Philippians are receiving out of their giving for him. He is so convinced of this that he says in Phil. 4:14, “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” This would be like you telling one of your financial partners, “Giving to the Lord for my ministry is a good thing to do.” Do you believe that people giving to your ministry is a good thing? If you don’t, you will continue to struggle with asking people to give.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you ask in faith:

1. When you call someone to set up a face-to-face appointment to present your ministry, tell him or her that you would like to talk with him or her about becoming a financial partner. You can say something like, “I would like to meet with you for 30 minutes to share what God is doing through my ministry and how you can be involved financially.”

2. Script out your presentation and your ask for funding. “Winging it” is not a good idea. If you don’t think it through ahead of time, it will be easy to allow your emotions and fears to derail you from saying what needs to be said on your appointment.

3. Do not assume the person with whom you are meeting understands why you need to raise support. Your script for the ask should give a simple explanation why your ministry has its staff members raise support.

4. Mention a specific amount. People are not mind readers. They want to be helpful, but you need to tell them how they can do that. A principle I have learned from the Philippians is that “people want to give to you more than you want to ask.” Don’t be surprised when people say to you, “Thank you for asking.”

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