Connect Cards are Awesome.

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 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. 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 – here we go – pay attention: 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 in giving. So 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. Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.

Why is this so important? Well, 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, ONLY THEN do 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!

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Don’t Just Fundraise, Multiply Yourselves

If you are reading this blog on a regular basis, chances are you are in some aspect of ministry. You are also likely to be raising your finances to do so, right? 

Assuming that you are a ministry worker raising support, I have a question for you: What factor was the most influential in getting to your field of ministry? Use the poll below to answer, please. 

If these poll results are indicative of what I have seen statistically, one of the most influential factors will be speaking in-person with a Christian worker or hearing a christian worker speak about their ministry to a group. 

Essentially, I am in my career in ministry because someone was intentional with me. 

What about you?

The person that inspired me took the time to notice me, to point me out, and to speak into my life. They took time out of their busy speaking and traveling schedule to answer my questions and find out more about me. Stopping to notice someone takes time and effort–and most importantly, it takes an intentional habit/profound belief that we aren’t just running around raising our budgets be cause we have to: we are ministering to the body of Christ. God designed it this way for a reason.

Guess what, dear reader? It’s time to be intentional with your audiences as you raise your funds! If you aren’t already doing so, be intentional when speaking in groups, at services, or face-to-face. You are now that person you were once inspired by. Yes, YOU. Not the person next to you. Not the person more charismatic or more extroverted than you. For real: YOU!

If you think about it, you (and other workers like you) are now the best advocates of the Great Commission on the earth

As we go about our support raising, let’s take that role seriously and not just raise our budgets but multiply ourselves. The most effective fundraising Christian workers I know are not as concerned about raising their budget as they are about inspiring the Body of Christ. They see fundraising not as a means to an end but as an invitation.

An invitation to the Great Commission and an invitation to inspire others to follow Christ no matter the cost. An invitation to minister to friends and family around them. An invitation to raise up involved teams of supporters who are going with them in the trenches of prayer and support, and perhaps physically serving in short term ways. 

Raising your funds is a lifestyle opportunity to provoke the body of Christ to do something and to be a part of something larger than themselves. The best support raisers I know don’t see their budget on the micro level: rather, they focus on the macro and eternal worldview Paul had: “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philippians 4:17. 

If we are bold and clear in our asks and see support raising truly as ministry, we will naturally multiply ourselves and become effective in our ministries even before we even reach the field.

As you go forth in your itineration, look for people who were like you before you got started on your current path. Or people who are like you now! People who need to be called out from the crowd.  People who are called to ministry but may have questions, hesitations, or simply don’t know that there is a place for them. It may be that they need that extra push to follow God into their own area of ministry, just like you once did.

 

How to Contact Pastors for Financial Support

Do you ever wonder what is the best way to ask a pastor for financial support? Perhaps you are like a lot of christian workers I know, trying to figure out how to get started. This video goes into some of the basics – I hope you find it helpful. – JF

Side note – I created this video using PowToon. PowToon is a great site that has numerous templates for video or slideshows. Think about creating your own video for newsletters, social media posts, or anything else that you need to add some dynamic. Videos add a lot to whatever you are trying to convey. Right? Right. Do you have any video sites you like to use? 

6 Practical Tips For Connecting With Pastors

If you aren’t used to it, contacting a pastor to ask for financial partnership can be confusing and scary. When I began calling pastors I would break out in a cold sweats and “umm’ed” a lot the moment I got a pastor on the phone.

However scary it can be, pastors / local church congregations are a great source of financial and prayer support. Thus I’ve put together a short list of tips to help calm those jitters and give some good starting places for those of you who share the same cold sweats and umm’s as I once did. I hope these help!

1.Start your journey by speaking with your home church pastor. 

Connecting with your home church pastor is one of the first things you should do when you begin raising up your support team. Start by setting up a meeting with your home church pastor. When you meet explain your ministry and share the specifics of your financial need. Ask if there is any protocol or advice your pastor has as it relates to financial partnership development. If you would like to get a monthly commitment from your home church, now is the time to ask. If you would like to get members from your church on your financial partnership team, ask your pastor for permission to invite them into partnership. He/She will appreciate you filling them in on your plans, and probably will be able to give you helpful tips and hints. The more communication you have with your home church pastor, the better.

2. Remember each church and pastor is different so accommodate accordingly. 

There are numerous ways to try and connect with pastors. Unfortunately the process is not cut-and-dry and can depend pastor to pastor. Try a variety of ways based off of their style, church feel (is it more modern or classic?), and what you know about the pastor / church. Do your homework before contacting a pastor and find out what programs their church has, what type of feel the service is, etc. As the process of connecting with a pastor may not be the same every time, here are some good ideas of what it should look like:

Your contact process should look something like:

Email or snail mail with pastors packet → phone call pastor → meeting with pastor → church service

Facebook message to pastor → get response from pastor → meeting with pastor → church service

Phone call to pastor → get response from pastor (may have to call numerous times before pastor answers) → meeting with pastor → church service

Whatever you think is the best way to contact, make it creative and memorable. Seek creative ways for pastors to remember you and the ministry you represent. When you do speak at a service or visit a church your goal is to make a dynamic and lasting impression on the pastor and the congregation. Whenever possible present with a another medium besides your words – use video, testimony, display tables, etc.

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3. Communicate clearly. Have a phone script handy if it helps. 

When you get a pastor on the phone or have a face-to-face meeting with a pastor, here are some helpful topics to clarify:

  1. Would they like you to share at a service?
  2. If so:
    1. How long would he/she like you to speak?
    2. What is the order of service?
    3. What is the dress protocol?
    4. What are the service times?
    5. Is there a prayer meeting or Sunday school you can attend before service? (definitely do this!)
  3. How does their missions giving work? Is there any protocol that exists?
  4. Would the church be interested in giving a monthly commitment?
  5. Are there any opportunities for you to engage with the congregation / serve the congregation outside of regular church service?
  6. If the church does commit monthly, what would the best way to update the congregation be as you are in your field of service? Paper newsletter? Emailed newsletter? Video update?

If you think you’ll miss an important question on the phone due to nervousness or just because it is hard to remember everything – create a simple phone script to use when calling. Include some or all of the above questions and write out what you want to say. Use that phone script at least until you become comfortable talking to pastors on the phone.

4. Consider reaching some pastors via Facebook if you have a preexisting relationship with them.youve-got-mail-gif-tom-hanks-send

Some recent statistics I have seen within my organization have shown that pastors are checking their Facebook messages faster than they are their office phones. Be careful which pastors you ask over Facebook as Facebook often is a pastor’s personal space. For those pastors you already have relationship with, I wouldn’t hesitate to reach out via Facebook if you are having a hard time reaching them on the phone.

5. Make a Pastor’s Packet

Pastor’s packet are for churches, events, small groups, and great for emails and snail mail to pastors. They include information on yourself and the ministry you are working with. By the use of simple graphics and a good looking template, the Pastor’s Packet can show a level of professionalism that you want to have and that pastors will be looking for. Write it almost like a colorful resume. Here’s a simple outline:

Outline of a Pastor’s Packet:

Page 1: Color photo (include family if married) and our calling to ministry and your spiritual testimony

Page 2-3: Ministry experience, education, and training

Page 2-3: Description of ministry target and problems you ministry attempts to solve

Page 3-4: Your ministry strategy and outcomes

Page 3-4: Financial explanation/appeal 

6. Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged!

Don’t give up in calling or seeking out pastors. It’s true, they are busy people and can sometimes be hard to get ahold of. Give them the benefit of the doubt though, generally their busyness is for a good reason. Be kind and gracious with pastors and never start to feel a sense of entitlement for their congregation’s commitment or for the pastor to even call you back. Always put the ball in your court when it comes to contacting a pastor, and always be kind.

Typically it may take upwards of 10-15 phone calls before you are able to reach a pastor. That’s okay, just stick with it and don’t give up.

Treat your time with churches and pastors as ministry, not as merely support raising. Seek ways to bring messages of hope, healing, and blessing to the church today. Ask the Holy Spirit for a special word for the pastor and congregation. Be ready to pray for anyone the Lord brings your way. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

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Remember in all of this: you are following God in your calling in a radical and dedicated way, and you are also ALREADY a minister in the body of Christ. Just by EXISTING you are inspiring and provoking (in a good way!). In this season you have the opportunity to inspire others in the body of Christ to follow the path God has called them to, whatever that looks like for them. Use the platform / coolness God has given you to inspire! And don’t forget to communicate your needs clearly and in an honoring way to the pastor and the body of Christ. Have fun out there, it’s a great experience to challenge and call the body of Christ to join in the Great Commission!