Our Top Two Strategies to Eliminate Support Raising Barriers for Our New Staff

By on February 7, 2017   /   3 Comments

In Matthew 9:37, Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” In my 13 years of ministry experience, no statement has been truer. About the time this verse first entered my scripture memory box, Steve Shadrach shared a statistic with me at an SRS Bootcamp that I will never forget. Up to 92% of missionaries leave the mission field, mainly or in part, due to lack of support. If both of these statements are true, then we have to begin to think of how we can take every opportunity available to train workers and keep them in the Lord’s harvest field.

Yes, we must remain diligent to train them to be consistent students of the Scriptures, prayer warriors, and true worshippers of Jesus who are equipped to share the gospel, follow up and establish new believers. However, if the main thing keeping our workers from getting to the field and staying there is personal support—we dare not leave that out of the training! Within our campus ministries we pray 20-30% of the students enter full-time ministry after graduation. Once they make that decision, we begin the crucial training of “Ministry Partner Development” (MPD), teaching them the biblical and practical steps of getting fully funded. Here are two ways we try to help our current staff get fully funded:

  1. Build Excitement and Optimism Toward Support Raising

We want to develop healthy support raising perspective and practices, incorporating coaching and accountability too. Good initial training is essential, but excellent ongoing coaching is the key to maintaining the long-term health and happiness of a staff person. I can attest: a healthy, happy, fully funded staffer is much more likely to recruit more quality staff because of the positive modeling they do. After proper training and coaching, we at Campus Outreach noticed a significant trend. Having them spend time getting a biblical framework as well as hearing testimonies from others who got fully funded helps develop the right attitudes. We have found new staff entering the process were three times more excited and optimistic about raising support as our previous staff were. Think for a moment about the kingdom effects of your staff having a positive support raising experience versus a negative one. You will see the quantity and quality of your new staff jump dramatically.

Question: What changes can you make to your staff training or coaching that increases their excitement and optimism toward support raising?

  1. Use Short-term Mission Trips as Support Raising “Stepping Stones”

Most ministries provide short term mission trips to their students where support raising is required. This can be an awesome first step to get them exposed to support raising and give them a great “first taste”. Why not provide a crash course in MPD to these short term missionaries to help insure they have a successful first experience in fundraising? Even though our students heading to summer training projects are only required to raise about $2,000, we taught them how to do face to face asks for those gifts. Asking them to do 10-20 individual appointments was challenging for some, but it helped them build meaningful relationships with current and future supporters. I appreciate Facebook and GoFundMe, but they don’t come close to a face to face, heart to heart sharing of life and vision over a cup of coffee!

Maybe without knowing it, some of those who chose to initiate individual support meetings had already begun their journey towards being full-time, fully-supported gospel workers. Making the asks, getting to full funding, sending thank you notes, and newsletter updates were all the basics that would someday be required of them once they became “full-time” staff.

Within our organization many of our leaders had go back to campus and start personal ministries. We encourage these students to continue to keep their financial supporters informed in order to keep building a relationship with them. Help the returnees keep their supporters in the loop by sharing how their gift is continuing to make impact back on campus. These same supporters will almost always want to invest in the next mission trip or summer project. They will also become an awesome prospect for a long-term monthly investor for those going into full time work. In fact, after each time a student raised support for a summer project or mission trip, it increased their chances they would get over the hump of fear in fundraising. Each project that came along, they would add more and more contacts to their “ask list” and their newsletter list. By the time they graduated and considered coming on staff, their whole support contact list was already in place! So, please take advantage of these “stepping stone” opportunities to gradually prepare your potential, future staff to be life-long, full-time, fully-funded laborers!

Question: What changes can you make to maximize the benefits of your people raising support for short term projects, thus preparing them for a possible self-funding, full-time ministry role?


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