STALLED OUT? ASK THESE FOUR CRUCIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT BEING FULLY FUNDED

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By on July 5, 2016   /   8 Comments

NEWSLETTERJULY

You may just be starting your full-time support raising ministry journey, stalled out, or have years of experience living under God’s provision through a support team. No matter where you’re at, there are four crucial questions to ask yourself on the way to being fully funded for your ministry work. How you answer these questions could determine the longevity and fruitfulness of your support development, and dare I say, the legacy of your ministry too. It is not okay to drag along underfunded. It hinders your work, hurts your family, and can defame the Lord. In the midst of my challenging support raising expedition, I was forced to reflect deeply on four questions in order to help me get across the finish line. Maybe they will spur you on to get fully funded too!

  1. Is Jesus Worth It?

This seemingly simple question is perhaps the most easily overlooked idea when building a ministry support team. The Sunday school answer is, “of course He is worth it”, but think again. Do you really believe Jesus is absolutely worth your time and effort to persevere the myriad of challenges and get you all the way to a 100% full budget? Sometimes encouragement can easily digress into discouragement and you may be tempted to stop short of your goal. The difference between 90 and 100% can be huge if you allow thoughts of slowing down to enter your mind.

Though I invite you to see your support raising journey as a joy, the road will not always be easy. If you don’t have a deep abiding motive to work from, you can easily give up too soon or compromise the quality of your interactions with supporters. You can start right now by covenanting with God and yourself to only do “the ask” face-to-face and to properly care for your team once built.

It’s easy to say, “Jesus is worth it” but until you develop your own personal reasons as to why, then you will easily miss the truth behind this question. To help you really take hold of how this looks in your life, pause and write down a few words from each of these thoughts:

  • What is one scripture passage that personally convinces you of Christ’s worth?
  • What has God done in your past to prove Himself trustworthy?
  • What are some temptations you might face? (e.g. compromise the face-to-face ask, quit before 100%, overuse social media, etc.)
  • Fill in the blank. Jesus is worth: _______________________________________
  1. Is the ministry worth it?

Is the work of the organization you are a part of really making an eternal impact? This is not the place to discuss metrics of effective ministry, but whatever metric you use, make sure you are a part of a “Kingdom building” effort in this world. No man-made structure will be perfect, but search your heart to discern if the Lord’s blessings are on your ministry.

Faults aside, you need to truly believe in the work the Lord is doing in and through your organization. Thus, gain a deep familiarity with the ministry’s vision and goals, how the larger structure works you serve under, and what lasting contributions it makes to the worldwide purposes of God. If you are not totally convinced your ministry is truly needed, you will struggle persevering in your support raising journey, and you will give up prematurely. Jot down a few thoughts from these questions:

  • Is the work of (ministry/org. name): _________________________worth me being fully funded?
  • Though entrusted to human hands, can you devote yourself to the organizational structure you are under? Why?
  • Who does your organization serve and how have you seen God use you and your ministry to impact lives for Christ?
  1. Are your supporters worth it?

You really have to do some self checking with this one. Be honest. How do you view your supporters? Like an ATM or as real people, with real feelings, and real challenges, of their own? Personal relationships are hard to manufacture and people can pretty easily discern if they are being used. Root your support team in relationships that are sincere. These people are more than just a means for you to serve in ministry. They are your partners in ministry, and should be the recipients of your ministry as well. The Lord is guiding them in strategic service just as He is leading you, and if you view them the way He views them, you will see that it matters, for their sake, that you are fully funded.

These ministry partners join your team because they believe God is doing something powerful through you and your work. They share with you in the blessings and burdens of your ministry. When you are underfunded, they will feel some of the same struggles you do. If you are asking them to give more (just to make ends meet), or whether they observe you surviving, rather than thriving, your supporters will bear your burden. When you live and serve at 100% budget, it is a joy and a freedom you will experience, but also a joy for your support team! You need to believe they are worth every amount of extra time and effort put into these precious ministry partners. Contemplate how you view your supporters:

  • What means do you use when connecting with supporters? Personal or impersonal? (e.g. texting, social media, etc. vs. face-to-face, hand-written letter, etc.)
  • What are the first emotions you feel when you think about your support team? Why? (e.g. stress, fear, anger, fondness, comfort, happiness, etc.)
  • How might you cultivate a healthier view of your supporters?
  1. Are you worth it?

This one is hard… because it requires you to know thyself! It requires faith and a profound trust and intimacy with the Person who emphatically states “You are worthy of your wage” in Luke 10:7. That worth Jesus attaches to you is not based on your status as a vocational minister, or what fruit you may or may not be able to produce, but purely in the work of Christ. It can be easy for us to begin to believe our service to God is what makes us worthy. If we are “in Christ” we are loved, holy, and set apart. Our life then is simply a response to God’s love. Can you believe and accept that? Do you believe the Lord cares that you are fully funded, apart from any ministry you could offer back to Him? If Christ displayed that you are worth the cross, then YOU are worth being fully funded!

At the risk of sounding like a prosperity preacher, you are the beloved of God and He longs for you to flourish in all areas of life, including your ministry—and how it is funded. Chinese missionary Hudson Taylor often said, “God’s work, done in God’s way, will not lack God’s provision.” This does not mean you will not sacrifice and suffer, nor does it mean you will live and serve in opulence. It simply means if you abide in the love of Abba Father you will find exactly the provision you need. Christ is accomplishing His eternal purpose, and we have the privilege of partnering with Him. The good news is the work of Christ accomplishes what we can’t. That’s the power of salvation and a resurrected life. If we embrace this truth, we will gain a confidence to live boldly and persevere through to 100% full budget. No, your worth is not found in the ministry or work you perform for Him, but this does not mean we sit idly by and expect supporters to call us to jump onto our team! Listen and record a few thoughts the Lord might be saying to you right now:

  • What verses of Scripture do you know that speak of your worth to Christ? Write down your name and God’s words as if in a letter to you.
  • If it feels selfish and hard to believe you are worth being fully funded, write down a few reasons why you might think that way? (e.g. personal sins that cause us to doubt, etc.)
  • How will you go about refuting the lies and “bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”?

Return to these truths often. A sure foundation builds a strong house. May the Lord speak to you and call you back to Himself when things get tough. I pray the Lord encourages each of you reading this, that you will stand strong and be very courageous. Answering these questions helped me not just to “get enough support” but to persevere above and beyond 100%. Daily cling to 2 Timothy 2:1 and understand now is the time to gird yourself for the journey by being “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”.

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