The Top Five Myths in Support Raising

By on September 1, 2009   /   Leave a comment

Definition of a myth: a widely held but mistaken belief

1. It takes everyone 12-24+ months—On one side of the road stand the naïve who unrealistically proclaim they can “knock out” their support in four weeks or less. There’s a much larger crowd, though, stuck in the other ditch, pessimistically “digging in for the long haul,” and predicting it will be a protracted and difficult journey. These folks heeded the horror stories of others who spent 2-3 years raising support. Don’t let those tapes play in your mind. Instead, trust God, work smarter and harder, and set a new “norm” for your organization by getting to full support in 3, 6, or 9 months.

2. I can do this alone—Have you met someone with this attitude? “I have been called by God. I am the one going into ministry. I am a visionary leader with strategy and skills. I don’t need anything or anyone’s help. Me and God are all that’s required!” Some support raisers foolishly reject the very people and resources God has provided. Get some training, and then don’t be the Lone Ranger. Involve your family, friends, and church. I never read Hillary Clinton’s book It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, but I’m quite certain it takes a village to raise support!

3. Everybody’s already “tapped out”—Oh really? How do you know? Yes, people are inundated with appeals through TV, radio, internet, and mail, but my informal surveys reveal that only about 10% of Christians have ever had anyone call them up, request an individual appointment, lay their vision out, and personally ask them to come on their monthly support team. Don’t project your financial situation (or the state of the economy) onto others. Make your ask, then let them, before God, decide if they want to give. Don’t decide for them. Why are we so predisposed to believe that people DON’T want to give or that somehow we need to beg or convince them? Why not embrace support raising as a positive opportunity rather than a negative obstacle to overcome?

4. Churches should get the tithe, we get the “offerings”—Yesterday, a long-time believer told me he gives the first 10% to his church and the extra to missionaries. I asked him where he got that formula and he sheepishly admitted it was simply a “cultural habit” he had formed over the years rather than any Biblical command. This is a hotly contested issue, but my plea is for us to set aside our “Western Christianity” lens (and our perpetually underfunded church budgets and buildings!) and objectively, honestly study the Scriptures to see whether this is truly what God is teaching New Testament believers.

5. I will have to scrape by the rest of my life—We may pray for God to meet our subsistence needs, but we certainly don’t expect (or ask!) God for abundance. Some Christian workers have a stereotype in mind that living on support surely means being sentenced to a lifetime of cramped rent houses, broken-down cars, secondhand clothes, and barely paying the bills. They foresee days full of coupon-clipping and penny-pinching, never dreaming they could actually possess any savings, insurance, kid’s college or retirement funds—knowing that if they did, they would undoubtedly feel unspiritual and worldly!

What particular perspective, belief, or “myth” do you need to let go of? Let’s all apply Romans 12:2—“Do not be conformed to this world [even in the area of finances and support raising!] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you will prove that the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.”


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