Part 3: Thoughts After 5 Months of Support Raising During a Pandemic
It’s July and we have been in the midst of this pandemic for 5 months now. Whew! Guys, I know we’ve been through a lot already! It still remains that 1. YOU’VE GOT THIS and 2. God is still on the throne and knows the times and the seasons.
I wrote a post back in April on 7 Things I Am Learning About Support Raising During A Pandemic, and wanted to write some more recent thoughts now that we’ve been getting adjusted to our temporary-who-knows-how-long normal. Here we go:
- MINSTER. It still remains a go-to in your to-do-list to continually check in with existing members of your partnership team, people that are in your life (whether or not they are on your support team), and churches. Ask them how they are doing and how you can be praying. Many church communities and individuals are in the midst of spikes in their area and may be experiencing stress and need some additional prayers! Text. DM. Send a postcard. Send kid artwork (if you have kids). Call them. Email. Etc. – you get the idea – say hi! Being a minister starts now, not once you get into your assignment.
- ADAPT. Zoom appointments and outside social distance appointments still count! If you are in a community experiencing high exposure, it’s possible you will need to adapt (meaning meet outside instead of inside, mask up, meet via Zoom, etc.) to meet with some on your list. That’s okay, still go for it. Remember that not everyone’s level of comfortability is the same so be willing to meet people where they are at. If you have to meet outside in the heat, try to pick a place in the shade or someplace with fans and/or copious amounts of ice water. It may no be 100% ideal but don’t let it stop you from making progress!
- CHURCHES. Churches are still sort of a mixed bag. Some churches are back to regular meetings. Some churches were back to regular meetings, but are now meeting online only again. Some churches have only been meeting online for a long time now. It’s likely that whatever the case, most pastors are met with new normals that have them on their toes. When reaching out to pastors for services stay sensitive and begin conversations by asking the pastor how they are doing in the midst of the pandemic (see #3 in the link). If now is not a good time for that pastor, ask if you can circle back with them in a couple of months (throw that in your calendar with notes on the conversation and stay organized). Here’s a couple of more thoughts on churches:
- Here’s a link for overall tips on contacting pastors. Check it out if your wanting to brush up on connecting with churches.
- Consider creating videos that share your presentation in a 2, 3, and 5 minute version. You can send that video to the pastor in advance of reaching out, and if that pastor has taken things online only he/she can use the video time segment that works for that pastor for online services. Make sure the video is well done and your communication is clear. Take care to explain how God called you, what you will be doing during your assignment, and what your strategy is for reaching the lost. **More information on a good 3 minute presentation outline can be found in the FPD Workbook. **Videos / streaming can potentially work for workers that are going to sensitive countries. Simply talk about the area or region you are going to during the video instead of specific placement, do not share proper nouns within your ministry, no last names, and consider being masked for the video (with explanation – perhaps with humor – as to why).
- KEEP GOING: A STORY. Recently a couple I coach reached 80% fully funded, and they started raising their support IN MARCH (that’s right the beginning of this pandemic thing. Glup). On the phone last week I asked what their secret sauce was, and they said to me “We just kept going as if the pandemic wasn’t going to effect our support raising.” They had Zoom appointments during shelter in place and kept their focus on reaching out for appointments, and now on the heels of August are close to 100% fully funded. Morale of the story is KEEP GOING! I believe that if we are confident during this season others will be confident in us. The need in our world is great right now, and the Great Commission isn’t waiting. The truth is if you are raising your support during this season, God called you to ministry during this season. He knew you would be raising support during a pandemic. Let that encourage your heart and don’t let the pandemic stop you from what God has called you to do now!
- IF YOUR CLOSE AND IT’S CLOSED: COMMUNICATE. Many people are asking what happens if they are heading overseas and the country they are going to is closed due to travel restrictions. The answer is of course varied, and if you find yourself in that position you should connect with your mentor about what that scenario looks like. Whatever the case though, keep in mind that most supporters are going to be very understanding if you reach 100% and have to be delayed in your travels due to the virus, particularly if it’s only a span of several months. In most cases you need not worry if you will loose support or find your supporters angry with you for things beyond your control. If you do find yourself in the situation of being at or close to 100% and you cannot travel, I would simply take care to communicate that you will be going as soon as it is safe and the travel restrictions lift. Also, let them know what you will be doing in the meantime to stay active (depending on your situation). It doesn’t have to have every detail or possible scenario (and in fact sometimes too many details are not helpful) to communicate that you are still committed and going as soon as you can.
- PERSPECTIVE. Overall, I’m seeing workers continually add to their partnership bases during this season and am actually overwhelmingly encouraged by progress. In so many ways, I think this season has a way of lending itself to perspective. It’s typical to look for reasons why not to work on raising support — and a pandemic is a really good excuse — I get it. But what I’m seeing is for those who continually work on it even though conditions haven’t been ideal — they have been met with regular increases in their budgets and their efforts have not been wasted. It really is what you make it, and it always has been when it comes to raising support. It’s likely there will always be something inconvenient about raising support, and likely there will be something “more important” to work on or a reason not to do it. My point is to check any reasons you are giving yourself permission to coast when it comes to raising support, and if you find yourself making the pandemic an excuse… fight to snap out of that (see #4). Stay the course. God called you now. Let’s do this!
I hope you find this helpful. 2020 is not at all what we expected, that’s to be sure, but praying in the midst of this season God fills your heart with strength and purpose. – JF
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:14-21