How Getting to Full Support Changed Me as a Coach

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By on January 19, 2021   /   Leave a comment

Ready for a challenge?

It is stated in three simple words – get fully funded. You are a leader, a coach, a trainer, and, as such, you are an example for the supported staff in your organization. Yes, you’ve been at your role for many years, and you are good at what you do. Once upon a time, you were fully funded. You know what it’s like to raise support; you just haven’t done it for a while.

Let me share how taking time out to make this a priority not only helped us reach full support but changed me as a coach.

As coaches, my husband and I enjoy coming alongside believers who are not only eager to serve the Lord, but willing to work at building the team to make that possible. We have celebrated many victories: new missionaries who didn’t give up and could finally join the ministry full time; interns who reached the support goal they needed to finish the summer strong; veteran missionaries who had been underfunded most of their missionary career and who can now receive a full salary. It has been rewarding. 

We have taken full advantage of the resources that Support Raising Solutions (SRS) offers including sending our new and veteran missionaries to SRS Bootcamp. We have enjoyed Support Raising Leaders Conferences and have come away excited about getting our leadership on board and working at slowly changing the partnership-development culture within our ministry.

One day, I was presented with a challenge from one of our board members. “You are asking others to attend SRS Bootcamp. Have you attended one yourself?” 

“Well, no.” I replied. “We are at full support.” We had my husband’s social security income to supplement our shortfall. In our minds, we were fully funded!

But that wasn’t his point. He felt we should experience what we were asking our new recruits and underfunded staff to experience.

It took three years and a nagging feeling that it would be good for us to experience Bootcamp before I did anything about it. I finally contacted SRS and told them we didn’t need to increase our own support but, as coaches for our organization, we wanted to sit in on a Bootcamp. I tried to be clear that we just wanted to come as observers.

The response was to the point, 

You will be expected to go through the course and participate in everything while at the Bootcamp. Even though you may not need to raise any additional support, going through the Bootcamp will help you really see what all your staff will be going through and experience and it will enable you to better coach them!

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Nevertheless, my husband and I decided to move forward. In July of 2019 we registered for the December Bootcamp in Jacksonville, Florida.

As we worked through the biblical principles behind being a ministry worker and began looking more seriously at our own support, we wrestled with the argument that my husband’s social security income was covering our deficit. In reality, we were only at a 71% support level. We came under conviction and realized that we needed to take these principles and use this time to work on becoming fully funded ourselves. 

We approached our leadership and asked if we could take two-working days each week following Bootcamp to work on getting to full support. In keeping with our approach with other missionaries, we felt we should take a full leave of absence if we didn’t reach 100% support within a certain period of time, in our case, three months. They agreed.

With the biblical foundation behind asking for support (something we had never done before) and the support of our leadership, we felt prepared, albeit scared to death.

The fruit of what we considered a journey of faith went beyond our expectations. We saw relationships deepened, opportunities to minister to others, God touching hearts of people to join our team and our full support raised in a little over two months! People rallied to get us to the goal so we did not have to take a full leave of absence.

What I didn’t expect was the difference it made in my coaching. Shortly after reaching full funding, I was assigned the three students who had been accepted into our summer internship program. 

My coaching approach was different this time.

Using their start date as the target to raise all of their support was now the expectation. I also talked with each of them about, what used to be, the requisite letter they had to send family and friends. You know, the “I would like to share the opportunity God has given me this summer” letter. We’ve all received them. These young people agreed that a one-on-one approach was more personal. We now had weekly, sometimes biweekly coaching sessions, which they appreciated. The effects of COVID-19 had begun to hit the U.S. in late March which was in the prime of their support-raising journey. Each of them shared their trepidation in asking for support during this pandemic. When asked if they felt God was calling them to serve in this internship, there was no doubt. When asked if somehow God’s resources were affected by the current state of affairs, they affirmed that this was not so. They each pressed forward and raised all of their funds in record time – before their start date! 

It was as if my own experience and confidence in God’s ability to provide when we step out in faith became a buoy for them. I can’t express the elation each of them felt as well as our staff when all of our interns started their internships fully supported. That was a first. It also showed how God’s calling does not change based on the economy or current events.

Taking time out to become fully funded was an amazing journey and impacted more than just our ministry account. I just wish I hadn’t waited so long.

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