Appointment Kits and Pastor Packets

Do you want to set yourself apart from the crowd? (Shake your head and say yeeeesss) One great way to stand out is by creating quality appointment kits and pastor packets.

What’s the difference between the two? Let me explain briefly. Typically appointment kits are given out to an individual during a face to face appointment, though the use of them is not limited to that. The kit should be designed to give that financial partner what they need to start giving and further information on your ministry. Pastor’s packets are great for meetings with pastors, mailing prior to contacting a pastor/church, dropping off to a pastor/church, or made available for events and gatherings.

For the most part appointment kits and pastor packets have the same materials in them with a few exceptions (see below). Quality should be what you shoot for when creating the packets, whether those materials are made by professionals, yourself, or someone with a design background that wants to help.

During more normal, non-pandemic support raising times, having a great appointment kit and pastor packet is helpful in standing out and looking uber professional. During a pandemic I would almost call it crucial. Why? Well, several reasons, but particularly many in-person meetings and gatherings are being taken away as opportunities to connect with pastors and individuals. Situations pre-pandemic in which a worker would connect with pastors now may be happening virtually only or not happening at all. Pre-pandemic, a worker may have met with individuals at a church small group, and now that small group is happens virtually. Thus we need to be creative creating opportunities to share our stories.

For instance, take a denominational district gathering that happen virtually. What if you mailed out pastor packets to all of the pastors who “attended” the virtual gathering or sent it to a portion of the pastors whom you really enjoyed interacting with (depending on protocol within your organization for reaching out of course)? And the church small group that is now virtual: what if you mailed appointment kits out after (or prior) to meeting virtually? 

serban packet

PASTOR PACKETS

So let’s start with pastor packets — here are some items I recommend to have in yours:

  1. A nice envelope / folder to put everything into – something like these or these are just some examples
  2. Case Document
  3. Prayer Card
  4. Pastor Recommendation letter (see below)
  5. Any ministry pamphlets or print materials that are helpful from your specific organization / ministry
  6. Your organization’s commitment or pledge / commitment forms (may not be needed in all circumstances)
  7. **connect cards, Special note — you probably would not put these physically in the envelope / folder, but have ready to show the pastor if you plan on asking him/her if connect cards would be appropriate to use in his/her congregation
  8. ***videos of 1, 2, or 3 minute windows available for pastors who are doing online services only due to COVID-19, maybe on a thumb drive or not included in the actual packet — but given prior to giving pastor packet. here’s a link to further explanation see point #3b

serban packet 2

APPOINTMENT KITS

For appointment kits, I recommend gathering some of the following components:

  1. A nice envelope / folder to put everything into – something like these or these are just some examples
  2. Case Document (***special note, it’s helpful to create a version of this for individuals that DOES NOT outline your specific budget numbers but provides percentages reached instead — yes you’ll have to update them regularly – here’s why not to include budget details to individuals)
  3. Prayer Card
  4. Any ministry pamphlets or print materials that are helpful from your specific organization / ministry
  5. Giving Instructions: easily understood step by step instructions on how to give within your organization
  6. Your organization’s commitment or pledge / commitment forms
  7. Optional: Some type of visual/infographic on how much support you need to get to 100% – I call these LOG (Levels of Giving) charts (ie. 50 people at 50$, 15 people at 100$, 10 people at $150, 5 people at $200, etc.) Make it pretty!
  8. Optional but nice: A small gift or token for those who commit to support and/or pray
  9. Optional: fridge magnet so they can remember to pray for you.

Did you notice there are some items in the appointment kit that are not included in the pastor packet? Some reasoning for that is my preference for giving pastors less to sift through due to the lack of time they have. That being said, you may have something additional in your pastors packet because you’re likely brilliant and have thought of something genius I haven’t (if so tell me in the comments! I’m here for it!) — and I believe in most circumstances that is fine.

I hope this helps! If you have questions comment below. Lastly, see below for a pastor recommendation letter template to help create your own. You all are awesome! Keep going. – JF

Pastor Recommendation Letter:

Theis recommendation letter

 

Partnership Development and The Coronavirus: Part 2

Many of you are faced with questions as to what should I do during this early time of the coronavirus. From the workers I connect with weekly, I’ve heard everything from “I’ve been having appointments this week on Zoom and they have been great”, to “we don’t know if best to wait and not ask for appointments this early into the pandemic.” I wanted to write a synopsis of what I have been thinking through this past week as we are navigating together. Here’s an update on some of thoughts (or just think of it as an expansion) since last week when I wrote Partnership Development and the Coronavirus Part 1:

1. This is not the time to do nothing! This is a great time to:

  • Build your online presence. Everyone is online right now! Do you have a Facebook group? Set it up! Do you have Instagram or TikTok? (guys, I don’t have a TikTok yet but I’m thinking about it) Set it up! Have you tried FacebookLive? Go for it.
  • Reach out to existing partners or just friends and family and ask how they are doing, and be an encouragement. Many of them will remember the times you reached out without asking for anything. Look for opportunities to serve and stay ministry minded:
    • send postcards (with washed hands)
    • send texts
    • send cards from your kids (with washed hands)
    • send videos from your kids
    • put a bag of coffee or a chocolate bar or something from a small business on their doorstep if local. if you don’t want to spend money go pick some flowers…there will be some in the next several weeks!
    • update your team with a newsletter

2. When thinking of continuing to reach out to individuals here are some thoughts:

  • It’s not time to pause completely or indefinitely. God still called you to ministry and that hasn’t changed because there is a pandemic. People need ministers now more than ever. It may be time to be sensitive and loving while thinking through your asks, and it may not be the right time to ask for some people in your contact list, but that doesn’t mean that your asks need to come to a full stop.
  • When going through your list it may not be business as usual. Use a mix of prayer, discernment, and common sense while thinking of who to reach out to in the next 2 weeks (or more). Do your homework and think critically: Are they a small business owner? (you may table reaching out to them for the time being) Are they someone you would have reached out to for a distance video call anyhow? Are they ministry minded?
  • When you do ask for a social distance video appointment with an individual here’s some specific thoughts on how to proceed:
    • Always start your phone call with 3 questions: “Hey, how are you doing? How are you doing in the wake of coronavirus? How can I be praying for you?” 
      • Take your time with their response and really listen with attuned ears. Ask follow up questions and don’t be afraid to get into the weeds. Let this be a ministry moment.
    • After you have listened, tailor your response to asking for a video appointment depending on their answer:
      • OPTION A: They said they are “fine” (sheltered in place / social distancing / but fine). If they say this you respond with:

“That’s great. I know it’s been a challenge and if their are any prayer needs that stand out let us know. We are calling because we feel our call to ministry now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary of your ministry assignment is needed) and are still raising up a team of financial and prayer support partners. You definitely came to mind as someone we would like to be a part of that. Realizing that this is a crazy time, we are wondering if we could schedule a video call sometime this week or next to tell you more about our ministry vision and goals and see if you could join some aspect of our team?” (proceed from there…)

      • OPTION B: They said they are struggling (financially, emotionally, etc.). If they say this respond with:

“We will absolutely be praying with you during this time with your prayer needs (insert here several of the things they mentioned that are challenging). Here in a minute if it’s cool we would love to pray with you, and would love to maybe follow up with a text or phone call in the next couple of weeks just to see how it’s going. We really want to pray with you. We were originally calling because we are feeling our ministry call now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary is needed), but let’s table that for now because there are so many things going on. Maybe at some point in a couple of months we could tell you more about that if that’s okay? (response) For now let’s pray…” 

    • If you are responding to OPTION B it may feel inappropriate to let them know about your ministry and why you were originally calling, though I think in a lot of circumstances that would be fine. Stay sensitive and use discernment.
    • Write scripts out for OPTION A and OPTION B and don’t be afraid to use them on live phone calls.
    • Stay organized. If you say you will reach out again, actually reach out again. If you say you’ll be praying, you need to actually pray.
    • Check in with your coach (or if you don’t have one, reach out to veterans within your organization or others who are also support raising that you trust) on a regular basis. If you are running into nuanced situations, ask for thoughts.

3. When reaching out to churches here are some thoughts:

  • If you are reaching out to a pastor during this time, always start by asking the pastor “Hey, how are you and your congregation doing during COVID-19? What are some things we can be praying with you about?” 
  • Same conversation applies with OPTION A and OPTION B above, just tailor it to the church. Stay sensitive. Realize now may not be the time to ask them for anything but prayer requests and that’s fine.
  • Do your homework. Does the church have a strong online presence? Does it look like they haven’t got everything online yet? Great places to check are the church’s website, social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, etc. If it looks like the church hasn’t posted several services online yet you may want to wait until it looks like they have made progress.
  • A lot of churches have seen reductions in their offerings and now may not be the best time to reach out to some churches, and that’s okay!
  • If you are close to a church(es) that you live near, ask if they need help with food distribution or assistance in setting up their on-line services (if you already have this expertise).
  • Stay sensitive and ministry minded. Always ask the pastor what works best for them and if now is a good time.

I hope some of these tips help! In closing, remember you are called and that God is still on the throne! You’ve got this. Go back and read the scriptures and stay spiritually healthy during this time. – JF 

Partnership Development and the Coronavirus

Many of you in the middle of raising support may be wondering what to do during this unprecedented time. Today there are more school closings, limitations on gatherings of more than 10 people, more chaos at airports, overall social distancing, and the like. We don’t know yet how the coronavirus will affect ministry workers raising support. Dave Dickens of CRU recently offered some brilliant thoughts on his email newsletter list that I wanted to share with you at explaining some helpful things to help you navigate this chaotic season (some of it is slightly adapted to serve this blog’s audience):

    • Let’s be prayerful. Pray for those affected by the pandemic, for ministry leaders who need to make tough decisions, for people’s financial situations, and for open hearts and gospel conversations as people are confronted with a broken world.
    • Reach out to ministry partners to ask how this is affecting them. Create meaningful conversations (via text, phone calls, FaceTime, etc.) and have a ministry mindset when connecting. Send your partnership team texts, emails, or phone calls. Be ready to see your inbox fill up! If you have kids at home from school, maybe have the kids do artwork and write handwritten notes of appreciation and love to your team.
    •  Here’s a sample text reaching out: “I know we are all navigating uncertain times, and was thinking of you today. How are you doing, and how is the coronavirus affecting you? I’m taking some time to pray for you today. Let me know if there are specific things I can be praying for!”
    • Send a coronavirus update prayer letter with specific prayer requests related to your assignment.
    • Because everyone is social distancing and at home, over the next few weeks it may be easier to reach people, and people are definitely wanting to talk. People are more likely to be on social media as well. Think about ways to add value in those spaces and reach out.

Here are some thoughts to expound upon what Dave writes:

  • Have you had a hard time staying organized? Are you caught up on thank you cards? This may be a good time to clean up your organization for financial partnership development. It also may be a good time to upgrade branding, overall materials, or if you don’t have an active presence on Facebook or other social media platforms to start.
  • It probably goes without saying at this point, but meeting face-to-face in person will likely be off the table for a bit (at the very least for some people). Think of partners to reach out to via video appointments. It may be wise to change course of action and instead of reaching out to your “A” list, reach out to those who would be long distance appointments anyhow.
  • It also may be a couple of weeks of relative pause on some people (maybe not all, but some) you were wanting to reach out to – that’s okay and understandable. That also doesn’t mean it’s time to do nothing. Pray, use discernment and common sense before asking for an appointment. If you have a coach, reach out to ask their thoughts on nuance situations – that’s what they are there for!
  • Many churches are not able to congregate during this time, so if you do reach out to a pastor ask for prayer needs. If you are asking for support from the church, suggest possibly doing a window online with them (especially in checking up for a already scheduled service) and be creative. It also may be good to hold off on connecting with some churches for a few weeks while they think of how to shepherd their own flock during this time.
  • One worker sent me an idea of scheduling a face to face via video conferencing, and going the extra mile to send that family some food or a snack and have it placed at their door for the appointment. Creative, thoughtful, and ministry minded!

I hope some of these thoughts at least get the wheels turning as to what to do for the next couple of weeks. It’s definitely not cut and dry. As Dave writes, “in the midst let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and remember His words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 New International Version). Wisdom to be sure.

Also remember, ministry doesn’t start when you get into your full time assignment, it starts now! Ask God how you can serve those around you during this season.

What are your thoughts or questions during this interesting season?

7 Ideas for Better Support Raising Habits in 2020

Happy 2020 everyone! Guys, I love January. There’s nothing like a fresh start. Every conversation, podcast, and sermon is trending this month towards goals, habits, and health and I am INTO IT.

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So, not to add to the pile of all those resolutions you have made, but OKAY! I’m going to add to the pile…

As you are thinking through your New Years Resolutions, I would challenge you to find something to add to your list when it comes to partnership development. Novel idea right?! If you are in full time ministry and live off of support, working on your financial partnership development is a VITAL part of your life. How you view it and treat it are fundamental to your success and longevitiy as a minister.

That being said, are you slipping into any bad habits? Is your communication strong with your partnership base, or has it slipped to the dusty corners of your to-do wishlist? When was the last time you wrote a newsletter? When was the last time you reached out to an old friend or prayed for them just because? Could your vision statement or your print pieces use a little refinement? How’s your attitude as it concerns raising support? Do you love and nurture your support team or tend to neglect involving them in your ministry?

My intention is not to overwhelm you if you have slipped into a few bad habits, but maybe adopting a few of these small changes (or coming up with ideas of your own) could make 2020 and beyond easier and more enjoyable as it relates to ministry and your partnership development. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. In 2020, PERSONALLY connect with everyone on your partnership team on a quarterly basis. 

Consider bumping up your communications with your partnership team. Perhaps create a goal to reach out directly to every partner (churches and individuals) on a quarterly basis. Here are some ways to consider reaching out:

  • Direct message on Facebook
  • Emails
  • Short video from your phone
  • Text message or WhatsApp
  • postcard
  • Written letters

Reaching out to a supporter personally doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective. Some ideas:

  • Just say hi
  • Ask how they are doing and how you can pray for them
  • Share a podcast or a sermon if they come to mind
  • Share a verse you love and are studying
  • Say happy birthday
  • text a picture of a ministry event with a quick thank you.

These little habits of regular communication make a big difference!

Here’s an idea, if you’ve never sent postcards from your city or country maybe 2020 is the time to do it! Chunk your list and make a goal of sending 10-20 postcards out a month.

2. In 2020, write thank you cards within 48 hours of a face to face meeting or as an acknowledgement of a new gift.

Scott Morton says it best in a short video here.

3. In 2020, refine your public speaking skills.

Are you going to be doing a lot of public speaking while on itineration? Mark it as a chance to develop or refine your skills by studying the subject and applying a few new tips. Here’s a short list of some quick reads on the subject:

4. In 2020, start a daily habit of using a to do list.

It is a nifty time to become more organized with apps such as Microsoft ToDo, Todoist, Any.do, and more. If you haven’t downloaded an app, give one a try, it may be just the thing that starts better organization patterns in your daily life.

A key to success with to do lists is to use what works for you! Some people prefer purchasing a big white board and using it for reminders, others love the apps like the ones above, still others prefer good ole sticky notes or a paper list. Consider utilizing a variety of these methods when creating a to do list habit, studies show that if you put them in multiple places more gets done! Whatever works for you, in 2020 try creating to do list habits that help you stay organized and on top of what needs to get done.

A couple more tips:

  • Here’s a great article on creating a more effective to do list.
  • If you already have a to do list and use it regularly, are there any other areas you could improve your organization in 2020? Maybe it’s creating a habit to check your calendar on a regular basis and if you’re married, sync it with your wife or husband.

5. In 2020, refine your vision statement.

Knowing who you are, how you were called, and what you want to do in ministry is important, right? Right.

“A mission statement is not something you write overnight… But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.”  Stephen Covey

We know mission statements are important, but it can be challenging to find the time and energy to sit down and refine one’s mission statement. I would argue though, taking that time to blow the dust off of your mission statement (whether that’s a personal or a team missions statement) is crucial to success.

“People are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren’t getting very far. They, in essence, are pushing a rope with all of their might.”  Stephen Covey

Even businesses struggle to maintain their vision statements, and recent research has showed that over half of employees (52%) cannot recite their business’s vision. All the while, a recent report shows that “sense of purpose” in work is the second most important criteria for millennials considering a job. Interesting.

If you want more information on vision statements and why they are so important to success, I’d recommend picking up a copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (Personally it is one of my favorite books EVER and goes in depth on the subject.)

6. In 2020, rebrand.

Have you been thinking for awhile it’s time to take your “brand” to the next level? Maybe it’s reordering new prayer cards that feature your newest child, or taking your Case Document and Connect Cards to the next level. Or maybe it’s thinking through a new newsletter template or features that align with your Facebook Group posts and website.

I’d say anything you can do to stand out, look professional, and raise the bar with quality communication and materials really does make a difference! Make 2020 the year to do it! The picture below is an example of a packet given to pastors that really stands out. Notice the fancy envelope and the beautiful graphics.

41426729_1841685095868872_6401998987796152320_n

7. In 2020, read Philippians. 

Did you know that the book of Philippians is an ancient thank you letter for support? You’ll find Philippians perhaps to be the warmest tone that Paul undertakes in all of his writing, and it’s all in the context of church and mission partnership. Therefore, there are some huge keys given throughout the book that I believe generate a thankful, grateful, and biblical perspective on partnership. I’d challenge you in 2020 to get into Philippians and read it through the lens of partnership, particularly if you are looking for biblical inspiration or a bit of an attitude / perspective kick in the right direction.

kick-your-bad-habit

In closing, making changes to your lifestyle habits can be SO CHALLENGING. Remember to give yourself a lot of grace. When creating new habits being positive really makes all the difference. Another game changer when creating goals is to make your goals specific and measurable to help attain success. For instance, if your overarching desire is to “do a better job communicating with my partnership team” you may create a goal that says “reach out to each financial partner at least once quarterly throughout all of 2020” or “write a newsletter once a quarter, Facebook group post once a week, and send a postcard to each financial and prayer partner in 2020.” instead of “do a better job communicating“.

I hope these help spark some ideas for you! Happy 2020! -JF

 

 

Case Documents

Okay everyone, let’s learn about a tool that can be very helpful in communicating your ministry assignment. Enter: the wonderful Case Document! There are a variety of situations in which creating your own Case Document can come in handy as you raise your support, so below I’ll describe what a Case Document is, situations in which Case Documents can be helpful, and provide you with some awesome examples. Let’s get to it.

What is a Case Document?

Think of Case Documents as a 1 to 2 page resume. It is a paper snapshot of you and your ministry. Case Documents should include:

  • A short introduction of who you are and your desire / passion to serve in your ministry. Consider sharing your calling to ministry.
  • A brief statement about where you are going and facts about the place you are serving.
  • What you’ll be doing and your ministry goals. Include your organization of course!
  • What your financial need is / budget information.
    • *It may be a good idea to have two versions of the Case Document. One version has your budget information and is good for pastors and churches. Having budget information for pastors is a good idea. Then create another version and take off the budget information. That one is better for individuals that may not need to know your exact budget information.
    • *For the version without budget details, include instead percentages of how far along you are percentage wise raising your budget and update it frequently.
  • Explain how the reader can help financially and pray (and even go if interested)! Include needed account numbers and contact information for anyone interested in giving.
  • Consider including an endorsement from prominent people in your ministry. (team leaders, pastors, etc.)

Case Documents should also include these vital elements:

  • A high quality photo (include family if married)
  • First and last name(s)
  • Needed logo(s) and branding from organization
  • Contact information
  • Giving information
  • Recommended: social media links
  • Recommended: your tagline
  • Recommended: photos of country or population / people in country or population you’ll be serving
  • Recommended: printed on quality paper!

How Can Case Documents Be Helpful?

Case Documents can be helpful for churches, district and sectional councils (pastor or ministry organization network events), emails or snail mail to pastors, back display tables at events or churches, fundraisers, events, etc. Think of them as a great way to show a level of professionalism, to share a quick summary of your ministry, and to provide a way for you to stand out among the crowd.

You may consider mailing out Case Documents or emailing them before contacting a pastor / church for a potential service or appeal. You can also carry them around with you for anyone you meet interested in hearing more about your ministry or use them as a information sheet on a back table of an event.

You can create your own Case Document using programs such as Pages or Publisher. If you have the room in your budget, consider getting them professionally made. I highly recommend that route if you don’t know your way around design. The better they look, the more you stand out! Some places I like to send people for case documents:

BHDesign

Commission Creative

5DCreative

Faith House Design Group

Examples of Case Documents

(all examples have had names, contact info, and location taken out for security purposes – so read between the lines!)

War case document the one copy

Walker case document theone PAG 2 copy 2

 

Ken Case Document copy

KKeen Case Document copy 2

 

Dieu Case Document copy

Dieu Case Document copy 2

 

Sul Case doc copy

Suli Case doc pg 2

Mill Case Document copyMil Case Document copy 2

 

Connect Cards

After a wonderful conversation with an individual about your ministry assignment, have you ever given someone a prayer card PRAYING that they will remember to contact you? Have you ever spoken at your home church, small group, or fundraising event and gotten stuck at your back table talking to a particularly chatty individual? All the other people scurry to lunch before your conversation ends and you feel the wave of missed opportunities that just passed? Whomp.

Insert a wonderful tool to help combat: connect cards!

What’s a connect card you ask? It’s a stack of individual cards you put on your display table, chairs of an event, and/or attach to Sunday morning’s bulletin. Connect cards give you the ability to follow up with interested people after a service or event is over, and is an effective tool all about facilitating more face-to-face appointments and building relationships with the body of Christ. Connect cards can serve as a way to “keep the ball in your court” by grabbing interested people’s contact information instead of just giving them a prayer card and hoping they remember to contact you.

Below there are some examples of connect cards from various workers I coach. (thanks guys!)

Now, don’t go off quite yet and make your own. I want to explain something important first: keep in mind that connect cards are only appropriate in certain circumstances.

“Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.”

Connect cards should only be used when they fall in accordance with a pastor / leader’s protocol on giving. Don’t assume that these cards can be placed on chairs of a congregation without communication or sneakily stuck into bulletins on a Sunday morning without communication / permission prior. Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving (or if you are hosting a fundraising event that you are hosting on your own).

Why is this so important? A lot of churches do their missions / ministry giving by collecting offerings and disbursing where the church leadership collectively decides. That means if you were to come into that congregation and ask all the people inside to give to you personally, it may mess up what the pastor, board, and leadership of the congregation has decided to give to. You DO NOT want to be that person. #boo

Thus, connect cards are preferably only when you ask the pastor / leader “how does your congregation do missions / ministry giving?” If they say you may connect with individuals inside of the congregation on your own, connect cards come into play.

Connect cards are ideal when speaking to your home church (after you’ve figured out the protocol with your pastor on giving), small groups, fundraising events, and the like. If you do use connect cards, make sure to explain them from the platform in which you are speaking from – letting everyone know how to fill them out and what they are for.

I hope these help you as you seek to build out new relationships as you interact with the body of Christ! See the examples below and have fun building yours! I do have a contact who makes connect cards for workers, if your interested in getting one made – contact me and I’ll get you in touch! -JF

Connect Card side 1Connect Card side 2 copypostcard-3.5inx5.5in-h-frontpostcard-3.5inx5.5in-h-front

Connection Form PDF copy

 

HOW TO TALK TO YOUR AUNT MERLE AND COUSIN GARY AT CHRISTMAS

I know from my own experience and coaching numerous workers that seeing relatives over the holidays can be stressful, and can be particularly stressful when raising support. Do you make an ask, or just conversation? How much detail should you go into about your assignment with that relative that isn’t a believer? What’s with all the side comments and disapproval from Aunt Merle?!

Sigh.

Unfortunately, I can’t give a formulated response to how to handle every conversation with your relatives. There are simply too many variables, such as the strength of the relationship, how far along you are with raising your budget, if you have had a personal conversation with them or appointment prior concerning support, etc. Making an ask during Christmas may be the best course of action, however it may also not be the time for it. How does one know? The only thing I can offer here without knowing your exact situation are a couple of quick tips:

  1. If you are going to make an ask during Christmas, I would consider trying to prepare your relatives prior, making sure they understand you want to set aside time to talk with them specifically about your assignment and ask if they would like to join some aspect of your team. Essentially, treat it the same as you would prior to an appointment, it’s just the appointment may be during Christmastime.
  2. If you are having trouble figuring out the best course of action on how to approach family members over Christmas about support, consider asking a seasoned worker or coach on how to best approach these important conversations. Sometimes having a sounding board, and particularly one with experience, can be extremely helpful. Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds with your coach or mentor and explain the relationship dynamics.
  3. When talking about support or your assignment in general, err on the side of boldness and confidence. The more confidence you have in yourself and in your ministry, the more your relatives will too.
  4. Not too much unlike, #3, favor honorable directness over beating around the bush when talking about support. Don’t hem and haw around the subject. Experience has shown me the more up front about it the better.
  5. Lastly and most important: this Christmas, strive to be a good listener.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can learn to perfect in conversation, and all it takes to do so really is a little mindfulness. When it comes to Christmas, you will undoubtably have numerous opportunities to practice! Thus, my main piece of advice is to strive to listen. Be present in the moment, and present with the person in front of you. You can try literally telling yourself  (maybe not out loud though, so those relatives believe your sane) to focus on the people around you and not on yourself. Think about listening more than you speak. Believe that your aunt Merle and cousin Gary have something to teach you, because truly everyone has something to teach you!

All of that being said, below are 10 easy steps to become a better conversationalist. Try and keep these things in mind as you speak with those relatives that may challenge you this Christmas.

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Be a listener that is seeking to understand, not just seeking to get a word in and reply. Your relatives will appreciate your attentiveness and chances are you will feel more inspired and fulfilled by being mindful of the people around you and really focusing on them. Treat your Christmas parties, celebrations, and interactions with relatives as an opportunity for ministry! I pray you have a Merry Christmas friends!

The Pre-Itineration Task List

Recently, I attended a conference where I met with numerous workers who have lived off of support for a long time. Some of them had been in their assignments for over 15 years! Most of the workers I connected with are coming back home to enter into itineration and wanted some advice on how to best navigate a new successful season of support raising.

I found in my conversations that I was encouraging these workers to do several strategic things before they came back home, and I thought it would be helpful to share those ideas here. So, if you are already in your assignment and are gearing up for another season of raising up your team – this is for you! If you haven’t raised your support and haven’t made it to your assignment, tuck this post away for the future you! I hope these give you great ideas of where to start before you land back home. – JF

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I hope this gave you some helpful ideas! Below are some links with further information.

Here’s a link for more information on Connect Cards

Here’s a link from Support Raising Solutions on LOG charts

Here’s a link for more information on Fundraising and Non-Fundraising Events

Here’s a link explaining an outline of a Case Document

Using Texting As a Tool In The Support Raising Process (re-post from SupportRaisingSolutions.org)

This post comes from the wonderful people of www.supportraisingsolutions.org and the brain of Aaron Babyar, a friend and fellow partnership development coach. (Have you ever read The God Ask? You should!) Aaron and I on numerous occasions have conversed on coaching, support raising, and how we can better train workers how to biblically support raise. We have dialogued specifically about texting vs. calling, and when I read this post on text messages to potential partners I was beyond thankful for the brilliant explanation that Aaron gives to how texting can be helpful and harmful in the support raising process. This is an issue I regularly see workers struggle with, so I felt it definitely needed reposting here at jennfortner.com. I love Aaron’s sample texts – I think they are great templates to use as you develop your own language on financial partnership. Thank you Aaron and the SupportRaisingSolutions.org team! – JF

Using Texting As A Tool In The Support Raising Process – from supportraisingsolutions.org/blog/

“Hey (potential ministry partner), I am excited about my new role with XYZ ministry! I’d love to get together with you soon to share my vision, budget goals, and how God is using this ministry to change lives. Could we maybe grab coffee next Thursday morning?”

You hit send on your well-crafted text and wait for their reply.

Crickets.

Although texting seems to be a preferred method of communication these days, the majority of successful support raisers I have spoken with tend to avoid using texts to set appointments because of a high failure rate. There are a number of reasons for this, including a reality that some people might see the word “finances” or “budget” and quickly dismiss your appointment request without ever replying. When trying to secure an appointment, it is more personal and interactive to do so verbally, whether over the phone or face-to-face. Filling your appointment calendar by shooting out some texts certainly sounds appealing, but unfortunately text messaging in this stage of support raising often doesn’t work so well. You could literally communicate this very message to someone verbally and likely get a better response than sending a text message using the exact same words!

A helpful exercise might be to think of all forms of communication as tools in your toolbox. Not every tool is going to be the best instrument for every job. For instance, it’s unlikely you will ever need a sledgehammer when repairing your computer (though you might feel like you want to use one sometimes)! But if you want to break up concrete, you will want that sledgehammer and not a rubber mallet. When trying to set up an initial appointment, texting seems to act like a sledgehammer being used on the wrong job; however, that doesn’t mean you should never use that tool. Here are at least 3 other occasions when texting might be the right tool for the job.

1. Setting up an “appointment request phone call”

I’ve had times when people simply don’t answer their phone or return calls despite two or three attempts at calling. Maybe I even left a short voicemail or two in which I didn’t mention money, but they still aren’t replying. At this point, my new go-to method is to send a short text like this: “Hey John, this is Aaron Babyar. Sorry I keep missing you. Is there a better time to talk later today? Or perhaps is now a good time to talk?” Some people respond by calling me immediately. Many others eventually reply, which jump starts further communication. Note that I ended my simple text with a question or two. That might be partially why some are compelled to finally respond.

2. Confirming the appointment

I like to send a statement message 12-24 hours before a planned get together. For instance, “Jeff, I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at Kennedy Coffee.” This serves to help them remember our commitment to meet, and if perchance they have also scheduled something else during that time and accidentally forgotten about me, it also allows them time to rearrange their calendar. Meanwhile, it saves me from drinking coffee all alone, again, because I forgot to confirm…again!

3. Post-invitation follow up confirmation

When someone gives a “maybe” answer to potentially join my team, I’m careful to set a follow-up expectation during the meeting by saying something like, “Great. Sounds like we agree that we can follow up this Saturday. I will be praying for God to lead you and your husband as you process this potential partnership in the gospel.” Meanwhile I want to be praying for them, and I always send a recent newsletter as they are hopefully moving towards making a clearer decision.
Increasingly though, I have begun to send a text the day before our follow-up that looks something like this, “Sarah, thanks again for prayerfully considering joining my support team. We had discussed clarifying your decision by tomorrow. Let’s plan to touch base in the early afternoon.” I’ve had a variety of replies to statements like this: from people who have already decided “no” who text me their decision on the spot, to people who ask if we can wait one more day, to people who have already decided “yes” that respond, “Great. We are in for $150 a month. Talk to you tomorrow, and maybe you can tell us how to set that up.”

Sometimes, sending a text message is the perfect tool for the job. Be sure to know when to use it, when not to, and when to search through your toolbox for a different form of communication.