How Your Giving & Debt Affects Your Support Raising

By on August 1, 2011   /   Leave a comment

Sometimes raising more support will not solve a financial problem.

Why? Because more funding cannot solve poor stewardship. Imagine sitting down with your support raising coach and after some pleasantries, your coach asks two penetrating questions. “How’s your giving, and how’s your debt?” Ouch! Are those questions too invasive for a coach to ask? Not at all. It may be uncomfortable asking these questions, but it doesn’t mean that they should not be asked!

We’re training our support coaches that stewardship and support raising are connected at the hip. Not only are we to equip our staff with the skills they need to raise their support, but we also need to teach them to be generous givers and how to manage those funds biblically. I firmly believe God’s promise in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul was able to assure the Philippians of God’s provision for them…because of their generosity. This promise is conditional. Only those who are growing in their generosity to the Lord can claim it.

Paul was able to assure the Philippian of God’s provision for them…because of their generosity. (Phil.4:19)

Christian workers have the privilege of modeling generosity to their disciples and to the church. Full funding enables you to give more away. A growing Christian understands that all we have comes from the Lord, and He is the one who has made it possible for us to give generously (I Chron. 29:14). God may withhold support from a Christian worker who is stingy or even hoarding.

I just completed training 190 new staff members and challenged them to become a laborer for the Lord who:

  • Is committed to trusting God for financial provision no matter the circumstances.
  • Manages his/her personal finances biblically instead of taking direction from the world.
  • Refuses to accept debt as normative.

Christian workers have the privilege of modeling generosity to the Church.

I want to see men and women who are called to be life-long laborers for the Lord, stay the course, and finish strong. There are many things that can derail a Christian worker. Poor stewardship is right at the top of the list.

Missionaries are not immune from making poor financial choices, and those choices can become so distracting they can destroy a person’s ability to serve the Lord full time. Many years ago, I met with a couple in our ministry who had accumulated $70,000 in credit card debt. Sadly, that debt was one of the contributing factors that closed the door to full-time ministry for them and may have also contributed to the eventual destruction of their marriage. It’s tragic our culture has normalized debt and poor stewardship practices. Christian workers are a product of that culture. Many manage their finances in the same way their parents did, but no one ever trained their parents how to biblically manage their finances! So, it should not surprise us that some of our staff struggle with poor stewardship practices.

About six years ago, God raised up a team of men and women in our ministry who are passionate about stewardship. They implemented training for our new staff, created stewardship resources on our staff website, are having personal appointments with many of our senior staff, and are creating “stewardship discipleship” materials. You may also want to start helping your staff grow in their generosity and managing their finances biblically. It may just solve some of their support problems! I wouldn’t be surprised to see God bless their fundraising efforts once they start getting their financial house in order (Luke 16:10-11).


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