Support Raising Dropouts: Five Who Gave Up

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By on March 1, 2010   /   Leave a comment

Whether it’s a long distance race or the support raising journey, it’s exciting, fun, even glamorous to blast off at the sound of the starting gun, but incredibly challenging to stay focused and endure all the way to the finish line. The kind of grueling perseverance required to complete the task reminds me of Walt Henrichsen, an old Navigator and hero of mine, who would issue us a discipleship challenge: “Men, many aspire…but few attain!” Here are the short stories of five individuals who, though well intentioned, apparently did not truly count the cost:

1. Bart: Being a prominent athlete, he exempted himself from spending the hundreds of hours on the phone, traveling, and meeting face to face with supporters. Confident the money would come rolling in by just sending a signed letter (and enclosed envelope), he was shocked with the pitiful response. After financially limping along for three years, he and his disillusioned wife finally departed for a “real” job and paycheck. Issue: Taking shortcuts

2. Jake: After 14 years in ministry and support raising, this key leader was worn out by the constant “demands” of having to create and send out newsletters, calling and thanking supporters, and spending time and money to visit them. As they gradually dropped off his team, he too faded out of ministry and into a job that didn’t require an “attitude of gratitude.” Issue: Lack of thankfulness

3. Julie: She was so excited about going into ministry and visiting all of her family and friends, knowing for sure they would all rush to be on her team. But, after a series of “no’s” from people she was counting on, she gave up, spiritualizing the situation and sharing that God had now revealed to her a different path. Barely out of the gate, she let a few obstacles and rejections completely cloud her calling into ministry. Issue: Lack of conviction

4. Richard: Stepping into ministry as a 40-something was a risk, he thought, but his “ace in the hole” was that he was part of a huge and wealthy church that would surely get behind him. He survived for almost a decade on large and sporadic “one-time” gifts, but failed to take into account how his wife felt about living on support. As the years rolled by (with ongoing financial instability), her resentment increased, and he finally felt forced to drop out and go back to work—just to keep peace in the family. Issue: Oneness in marriage and ministry

5. Dylan: Having been a successful salesman, he felt the call into ministry and (for six years) was willing to live at the decreased “salary” he was required to raise and live on. As he got into his 30’s, though, and saw a lot of his peers entering their peak earning years (and enjoying the fruits of their labors!), he too began missing the perks of a comfortable income and lifestyle. Finally stating he felt “led” back into the secular work world, he quit the ministry and returned. Issue: Lure of the world

On the back of our Support Raising Bootcamp notebooks, we have an intriguing map that depicts the arduous “March to Victory” to 100% funding success. It takes the adventuresome support raiser by the “Desert of Despair,” around the “Pitfall of Fear,” through the “Valley of Discouragement,” and lastly conquering the “Jungle of Entanglement” before taking the hill and finally being able to report to his/her ministry assignment: FULLY FUNDED!

Note: Names have been changed to protect the discouraged!

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