The Great Prerequisite for Support Raising Success

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By on February 19, 2019   /   Leave a comment

Arrogance can keep us ignorant.

I should know. I have spent most of my life thinking I knew everything there was to know, and if I didn’t, I could fake my way through.

My test preparation strategy in college was to start studying at midnight before the test, then stumble into class with bleary eyes, a caffeine headache and a fried brain. It’s a miracle I even graduated!

As a younger man, I thought I had all the answers. Now much older, all I have are questions. Life has a way of making us a little more humble and teachable, doesn’t it?

Many of you know I liken support raising to running a marathon.

I “ran” the 26.2 mile race once—with emphasis on once.

I envisioned myself a 24 year old “indestructo,” a sacred warrior who could accomplish anything as long as I was filled with the Spirit.

But I foolishly forgot to heed another key principle, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

You see, I had not prepared one single day during the previous seven months, believing that if my mind and soul were sound, certainly my body would follow suit.

Needless to say, my perspective and attitude were markedly different between the oh-so-confident start of the race and the ominous finish line I staggered across many hours later.

In fact, I was a changed man.

I think I finally was willing to admit what my dad and coaches had been telling me throughout high school: “Steve, you’ll play like you practice. You’ll perform on Friday night the way you prepared Monday through Thursday.”

No wonder I got zero college scholarship offers!

And now, in my adult life, I’ve spent 35+ years observing this “preparation principle” play out for thousands of Christian workers engaged in support raising.

My two conclusions:

The way I prepare to raise my support is the way I will raise my support.

And the way I raise my support is the way I will do ministry.

If during the preparation/planning phase of my support raising journey, I choose to neglect prayer, skim over Bible study, cut corners on reading assignments and namestorming, it will have a direct cause and effect on the outcomes of my actual support raising.

You’ll perform on the phone and in appointments the way you previously prepared in the privacy of your own office or living room.

Pride comes before the fall, and thus we cannot allow arrogance to lead us into ignorance.

So, how do you help staff realize their need for extensive and thorough preparation before they launch out to raise support?

Let me suggest five keys:

Pray it into their lives

By name, each day, with passion and faith in your heart, ask God to build humility, teachability, hard work, integrity and follow through into each of your staff.

Let them hear from other staff who say preparation was the key

Make heroes of the staff who go the extra mile and do every single item on the prep checklist with gusto and excellence. Applaud them, and let them tell their stories.

Understand the difference between convincing and recruiting

Maybe you’ve sought to exhort your staff to come fully prepared, trying to motivate them with guilt, logic or ultimatums. This may work in the short run, but ultimately will fail because “ought to” doesn’t last nearly as long as “want to.” Recruiting always works better than convincing.

Help them understand their desperate need to fully prepare

Never tell something to someone they could discover for themselves. Work hard to design open ended questions that will help them discover their own need to come FULLY prepared. They’ll be most convinced if they convince themselves! Ask, listen. Ask, listen.

Strong accountability all along the way

Consider forming your staff into “preparation pods,” where they have 2-3 others in a tight-knit community, preparing and praying and checking in with each other every day. Use SRS’s online tracking system that shows each staff member (and supervisor) exactly where they are in the preparation process. Don’t expect what you don’t inspect!

Model to your staff exactly what you want them to live out

Modeling is always Leadership Principle #1. If you want them to come prepared, you’re going to have to come doubly prepared. Shortcuts always short circuit, so set the bar high—for yourself first, and then for your staff. Help them to aspire to greatness, to excellence, to perseverance, to victory.

And know for sure, along with completely trusting God, incredibly thorough preparation will be one of the great prerequisites for your staff’s support raising success.

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