Get the Right Perspective, Get to 100%

I try whenever possible to stay away from the words “fundraising” and “donor“when describing support raising as a ministry worker. Instead I use the phrases “partnership development” and “financial partner“.

Why you ask? The nuance lies within the overall perspective of raising one’s budget.

The word “donor” denotes someone who gives blood, gives one time, or is involved in a limited transaction. “Fundraising” denotes car washes, bake sales, golf tournaments, and transactional events. Right? Right. Of course fundraising and donors are in and of themselves not bad. OF COURSE. However, neither indicate an ongoing relationship between the giver and the organization or ministry. If our perspective of raising funds leads us to believe all we are doing is fundraising, it is likely we will struggle raising our support because what we are doing is truly more than fundraising. Simply put: we do more than fundraise. We invite people to partner with us in ministry.

Conversely, partnership is defined as this: “two separate but equal parties, with separate but equal responsibility, working together to achieve a common goal.” 

I like that definition much more as it encapsulates a what a healthy perspective while raising a budget looks like. It clarifies that the one sending is vital to the ministry instead of merely standing on the sidelines. The word partnership keeps us mindful that we are to be good stewards of our resources as Christians, and stewards of our calling to the Great Commission – whether that looks like going or sending. “Partnership” says WE ARE DOING THIS TOGETHER.

Experience has shown me that ministry workers who know the difference (in their hearts and attitude) between “fundraising” and “partnership” are those that succeed in raising their financial partnership teams. And FYI, success looks different than just getting to 100% and getting to the field fully funded. Again, think perspective — getting to 100% is only part of it.

Success in partnership development looks like fulfillment, retention in partnerships, healthy mindsets, healthy relationships, joy, actual enjoyment in the process, and getting to one’s field in ministry fully supported.

The opposite of success is strained relationships, procrastination, anxiety, 80% raised budgets being “good enough”, and low attrition in partnerships.

I believe that success in partnership development is 90% perspective.

“If our perspective of raising our funds leads us to believe all we are doing is fundraising, it is likely we will struggle raising our support because what we are doing is truly more than fundraisingSimply put: we do more than fundraise. We invite people to partner with us in ministry.” 

Those that are successful hold Paul’s perspective when he says “Not that I desire your gift, what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philipians 4:17 

Successful partnership development knows those that join your team are a vital and dynamic part of your ministry.  Partner relationships become important, growing, and vibrant instead of obligations and burdens.

I challenge you to take a look at your perspective in partnership development. Is it a fundraising perspective, or one of partnership? Why is it important to see it differently than fundraising? What’s the difference?

You may not immediately see the difference, but as you work to find out what a biblical perspective of financial partnership looks like, it’s likely you’ll find it much more enjoyable and doable. Perspective leads to attitude, which determines action. You will do what you believe. Try and shift to a healthy perspective on partnership development. Having a wrong perspective may hinder you staying in full-time ministry long term, and can lead to stress every time itineration season rolls around again. Let’s not do that. Let’s do successful partnership development that leads to vibrant 100% funded ministry and healthy engaged partnerships.  – JF

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Raising Support: Just A Necessary Evil?

Is raising your support just a means to an end or a necessary evil? Have you considered the implications of support raising from a big picture / macro standpoint? Let’s talk about it for a minute.

The difference between a missionary who raises their funds verses a missionary who is paid is simply that – one raises their financial support and the other is paid to minister. Right? Right. Typically missionaries who raise their financial support are the norm. However, there are a denominations / sending agencies such that pay their missionaries. Though being a paid missionary sounds awesome, as we found out late summer of 2015, this method of funding can have it’s own set of challenges and downfalls. 

If you think about it from a macro viewpoint,  a sending agency / denomination that pays its missionaries / workers by design is limiting the amount of missionaries it can send out to the nations. I don’t know this as hard fact, but I can surmise that there simply isn’t enough money divided up amongst all of the sending agencies in the world to pay enough missionaries to finish the task of the great commission. 

Hence God’s good idea — calling us all to be a part of the Great Commission. Yes, all of us. This is where the brilliance of God and raising support comes in. Throughout the Bible (the Levites, Elijah, Nehemiah, Jesus, Paul, the Apostles) you find examples of ministers being supported to do the work of ministry the Lord has given them. It doesn’t just start with modern missions, raising finances has been God’s design all along. I venture to say it is His idea not only because it works, but because we are all called to take part – either as goers or senders – as I mentioned above. Mark 16:15-16. 

Let’s talk about some major pros and cons from a macro (big picture) and micro (smaller picture – your perspective) standpoint of a missionary who lives off of support versus one that is paid.

Benefits of a Missionary Raising Support:  

  • Macro: Provides the opportunity to inspire others into missions in congregations that you travel to speak at (missions simply wouldn’t be as prevalent without this type of advocacy – around 80% of the missionaries I work with say they were inspired to go to their mission field because of a conversation they had with another missionary or hearing another missionary speak)
  • Macro: The opportunity to invite and inspire friends and family to be a part of the great commission in a direct way
  • Micro: Raises awareness of your ministry
  • Micro: Preparation for the field before going to the missionary field
  • Micro: A team of individuals and churches who are likely to carry you in prayer, provide emotional and spiritual support, and are invested in what you are doing

Cons of a Missionary Raising Support:

  • Micro: Oftentimes it takes longer to get to the field
  • Micro: The uncomfortable feeling of asking friends and family for financial support
  • Macro: Some agencies do not require the missionary to raise 100% of their financial budget before going to their mission field leading to underfunded ministers and propelling the “poor missionary” mentality

Benefits of a Missionary Being Paid:

  • Micro: Doesn’t have to spend time raising support instead of going straight into assignment. **I believe this can also be a detriment in some cases, see below!

Cons of a Missionary Being Paid:

  • Macro: Fewer missionaries on the mission field, thus less people hearing about Jesus!
  • Macro: Less churches and individuals being inspired to be a part of missions
  • Micro: No team of committed individuals and churches lifting the missionary up in prayer on a continued basis. 

A common misconception and attitude amongst workers who raise their support, is that support raising is just a necessary evil and means to an end. I would challenge that thinking by saying let’s get past ourselves and see it for what God intended it to be! In the macro sense, raising support is about so much more than one person’s budget, essentially it is about the body of Christ partnering with the Great Commission. And in the micro sense, the fact of the matter is, when done correctly and with the correct biblical perspective, support raising is actually ministry. Raising support can be a exciting, rewarding, and truly vital ministry.

As I mentioned above, the one major upside to a missionary being paid for their service is they get to the field quicker and “waste” less time before they go into their assignment. However, I can’t tell you the amount of times I have heard missionaries that raise their support say that their season of itinerating (particularly at the beginning of their journey in missions) is the absolute best preparation they could ever imagine for the field. 

Pastor Chris, who is a guest blogger on this blog, recently wrote an article in which he explains this principle: 

“As a christian worker or missionary you are going to find many people interested in speaking to you about Jesus, but they may not always be ready to make a commitment.  They may not be prepared to forsake Islam or their family’s religion of many generations because you told them a nice story.  Successful ministry work requires faithful and patient follow-up with that person who has shown some interest.  The man who pumps my gas gave his life to Jesus, but only after I spoke with him many times.  He had to know more than my “story” about Jesus… he had to know ME. Was I a worthy person to carry such a story to him?  Could I be trusted?  Did I really believe the message I was sharing with him?

The first place you learn and practice how to do follow-up is while raising your financial support.  You may think raising money and sharing the gospel are vastly different but they are not.  If you are unable to look a pastor square in the eyes and say, “I need your support to fulfill God’s call on my life” – then you will find it difficult to look another man, with another religion, square in the eyes and say to him, “I need you to abandon everything you have been taught and follow Jesus!”I encourage you to think of the macro implications of raising your support in your season of itineration! Ministry, the Great Commission, God’s plan, more missionaries, etc. etc.”

In this season of itineration, I echo what Pastor Chris said- think of more than just the micro implications of raising your support – think of the bigger picture as well! Raising support means more missionaries spreading the gospel, more workers doing more good things, involving the body of Christ in the Great Commission, more prayer, more preparation, etc. It’s so much more about God’s plan than it is about raising your budget!

10 Easy Steps On Becoming A Better Public Speaker

Untitled Infographic (5)

I used to be terrified to speak in public. Knotty stomach, raised pulse, sweating, and no sleeping the night before. Growing up I avoided any classes that had me speaking in front of the class. I cannot count how many times I ran in the opposite direction if there was even a hint of me having to be in front of a group.

Now, surprisingly, I’m mostly over it. Why the dramatic change? Practice. A lot of practice. I have been blessed with leadership over the years that encouraged me as well as provided no-way-out situations speaking to groups. (I hated them for it then, love them for it now) As for my personal skill level, I cannot say I have arrived exactly where I want to be; but I have come a long way and am proud of where I am today.

A lot of missionaries and those in ministry are plagued by fear of public speaking. Many missionaries are not afraid of public speaking, but have a long way to go to refine the art of giving a impactful message or 5 Minute Window at a church service. Whether you are starting off with cold sweats just thinking about public speaking, a boarder-line professional, or somewhere in between – I hope this simple info-graphic helps. Here are a couple of additional notes for some of the steps above:

STEP 4 VISUALS: If you are having a hard time describing where you are you are going overseas, a job you are doing, etc. use something visual to illustrate it! Also, if you are a missionary or traveling minister speaking at a church, set up a table in the back but don’t let it be boring. Create ways for people to comfortably interact with you after the service.

Some examples: (1) Create a alphabet in the language of the country you are going to so those stopping by your table can spell their names (and children’s names) in your country’s alphabet. (2) Have a video about your ministry continuously playing on a laptop or tablet. (3) Have something small available that represents your ministry.

STEP 9 THE ATTENTION GRABBER: After providing a brief introduction of yourself (and your family if you have one), you need an attention grabber. Use one of the following to grab people’s attention from the very beginning:

  • Share a short personal story. “I’d like to begin by telling you a story about Anna, a 5 year old girl I befriended in Spain.” 
  • Ask a group question or do a quick group survey. “Raise your hand if you have any idea where Qatar is on a map?” (then show the map later on the slide). “What do you think of when you hear the word “poor”? You shouldn’t be receiving actual answers, only developing a story / idea and involving the congregation.
  • A thought-provoking statement. Impressive to everyone (not just you). “Did you know that in Africa 1 out of every 10 people are _______” This of course needs to relate to what you are doing and why you are speaking with the group.

STEP 10 ESTABLISH A NEED: After you have their undivided attention, you must establish need. You can do this in multiple ways. Here are two suggestions that you can effectively establish need:

1. Share statistics and data. Appeal to the congregations logic and reasoning. Don’t overdo the stats — it’s easy to do.

2. Share stories, pictures, or videos. Appeal to the listener’s emotions with these. (If you shared a story for your attention grabber; a good idea is to come back to some aspect of the story, develop it more, and thread it throughout your presentation.)

One last word on public speaking: you will get better at it! Practice makes perfect, and the more you speak in front of groups the better you will become.

Are there any tips you have? Add them in the comments!

Want more information on public speaking, including an effective outline?  Read the Financial Partnership Development Workbook.

Overcome Major Obstacles to Get Fully Funded

Recently Support Raising Solutions, a ministry of the Center for Mission Mobilization (who are the amazing team of people behind The God Ask by Steve Shadrach) published a blog post I wrote on Overcoming Major Obstacles to Get Fully Funded. I’ve included an excerpt below. Click on the link above or just below to read the full article.

In my time as a support coach, I have yet to see a ministry worker not make it to the field because they were unable to raise their budget. I’ve seen people not go to the field because they got engaged, accepted a different job, or had medical issues—but it has yet to be money that has kept someone from going to the ministry they felt called to. That being said, I’ve seen numerous ministers scared that they were never going to get to the magical 100% mark. Some just freeze up, unable to move forward because of obstacles and fears. So lets talk about the obstacles and fears we face when raising our budgets. What are some of the most common? And what can we do to overcome them? 

#1 Obstacle: Perspective/Lack of Biblical Understanding

Viewing fundraising as a necessary evil instead of a vibrant ministry can be the largest hurdle someone raising support can face. I once heard it said 90% of support raising is perspective. After listening to numerous workers talk about their struggles, I find this overwhelmingly true. Workers who can’t seem to see the awesome ministry opportunities raising support provides them are the same ones who can’t seem to get to full support, and ultimately will probably walk away from their ministry calling. Viewing support raising as ministry is vital to staying engaged long-term and excited about the process.

If you go into an appointment seeing it only as a means to an end, you’ll pass up the opportunity to minister to the person across from you—and miss being blessed yourself! Other effects may be:

  • Coming across as disingenuous
  • Being sloppy and cutting corners
  • Awkward and fearful to make strong/bold ask

So, how can we overcome? Seek out a biblical understanding of support raising. Discover what God has to say on the subject by checking out resources such as the bible studies in the appendix of The God Ask. Ask others who have been successful in raising their support about their overall perspective. Pray continuously, and ask the Lord why He came up with this idea of Christian workers raising their personal and ministry expenses from others. He has already given the answers in scripture, we just have to find them.

….read 3 other obstacles and how to to overcome them by visiting the Support Raising Solutions blog 

 

You Need To Listen To This Podcast

Recently a friend of mine from Support Raising Solutions, Aaron Babyar, was a guest on a great podcast called EngagingMissions.com. He spoke on the topic of support raising.

I think every ministry worker needs to hear it. Including you.

Think of this podcast episode like a audio syllabus for a upper-level support raising class at a fancy university. Also, if you have been searching for better language to describe what you are doing in raising up a financial partnership team, steal every one-liner Aaron says and turn it into your own vocabulary. Here are some great examples of Aaron one-liners for stealing purposes:

Begging and inviting — those are diametrically opposed.

My supporters are a part of my ministry because they are in it with me.

“Believe and have faith that it all depends on God, but meanwhile, work like it all depends on you.”

Take an hour to listen sometime this week and thank me later – here’s the link:

http://engagingmissions.com/em140-aaron-babyar/

 

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.

 

Dealing with The Monster of Time Management

As the holidays approach, so do the packed schedules. Am I right?! I personally feel as though I ran through November and am not wanting a repeat for December. Does anyone else feel like Thanksgiving possibly can’t be this week? Anyone?! Okay just me? Anyway…
As I’ve been pondering best practices of time management in my own life, I would like to share some of my thoughts on the subject in the context of financial partnership development. I’ve also added the advice of a few christian workers in the throws of intensely packed schedules.
If you have ever procrastinated partnership development in favor of getting the other thing done or just gotten tired of hearing the words “I’m busy” come out of your mouth  – this post is for you! (in all reality, this post really is for me and maybe for you…)
 Time-Management
Time Man·age·ment
noun
noun: time management
  1. the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work.
    “time management is the key to efficient working”

7 TIPS FOR BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT

1. Keep a detailed calendar. Become familiar with the calendar on your smart phone (or computer) and start using it… EVERY DAY. Set multiple alarms (sometimes I set it to daily if it is urgent) for yourself so you are reminded of your tasks. If you aren’t a “scheduled type person”, strongly consider figuring out how to become one. Find some helps in the area of time management online if need be. Try out a daily method of entering calendar appointments and checking your calendar.

2. Get an accountability partner or a coach. It is easy to get behind on raising up a committed team. If you can find someone within your ministry context to hold you accountable. Ask that person to hold you accountable on multiple levels:

  1. Daily goals.
  2. Weekly goals (Sometimes it is better to commit to weekly goals instead of daily goals. However, some people work better with daily goals instead. Find out what works best for you and commit)
  3. Overall goal of when you want to be at 100% fully-funded.

Your accountability partner can be someone you work with, for, or even a good friend who can do a good job at motivating you. Try to be as transparent as possible with this person. As you go through highs and lows keep them involved and informed. Having someone to chat with about this season of life can be helpful in and of itself.

3. If you can cut back somewhere, do it. While raising your funds you may have other ministry assignments within your local church. You may also have multiple hobbies, small groups, or other things that take extra time out of your schedule. Find out which of those to keep and which of those to let go of in this season.

While raising up your team it may not be the time to say yes to joining the new softball team that your work is putting together. It may be time to ask your worship pastor if you can cut back on your commitment with the worship team to once a month. It may be the time for someone else to lead the small group at your church. Of course, ask God about your commitments. Realize that this season takes some time out of your schedule and is important to do correctly and relationally. If you can cut back on some commitments, do it.

4. White boards. Perhaps you are not so good about checking your iCal / Google Calendar, but you are a visual person. Enter the good ole’ white board! Find a space in your home that you see on a daily basis, and put up a dry erase board. Create weekly and daily goals to write up on that white board. Change the day goals daily and the week goals weekly. It always feels good at the end of the day to scratch things off the list!

5. Take a sabbath. Be kind to yourself during this season of life. Make sure to take time out for God, yourself, and for your family. Take one day a week for sabbath. Let it be a full day, and hop back in the other 6 days of the week.


time-and-money6. Don’t do the thing I do. If I need to get a lot of things accomplished on my to-do list during a busy week, typically I work on everything but the hardest thing on the list first.

Consequently, if you are anything like me during a busy week or season of life, the first thing you’ll fall behind on is financial partnership development.

Let’s call that what it is: ole’ fashioned procrastination.

Here’s my suggestion if you have a problem with this: switch and reverse. If you START your work on the hard thing you will feel better than if you leave the hard thing for the LAST THING. If it helps, here’s some permission: you can still procrastinate! Just procrastinate the easier things instead of giving yourself mental trauma for a week by procrastinating the hardest thing on your list.

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Warning: you may not like me much after this next one….

7. What’s your favorite Netflix show right now? If you can easily answer that question I may need to have a coaching moment with you:

AnimationNOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR NEFLIX.

I know I know… hear me out though. As I mentioned in #3 and #5 – white space, flex-time, important commitments, and a weekly sabbath are all very important to adhere to during seasons of partnership development. I personally need scheduled white space in my routine. I also need to let my brain unwind after a complex week. However, scheduled productive white space is different than hours of Netflix binging.

To stay productive but to successfully unwind – watch out for time sucking habits such as Netflix or hours in front of Facebook. Try and limit the amount of downtime with those as your go-to’s. When you do seek out white space, seek out restful activities that are natural energy resources to you. For instance go have a cup of coffee with a dear friend, take a nap, go for a walk or a bike ride with your spouse or by yourself, play a board game with your family, work on a painting or home project, or play your guitar. Go with what brings life, energy, and fun back to you.

Also don’t forget, one of the most restorative things we can do with our time is spend time in front of God! Right?! Right.

Here are some other thoughts on Time Management from other itinerating christian workers:

TIPS FROM 7 OTHER CHRISTIAN WORKERS 

Worker 1:  I’m substitute teaching 4-5 days per week as I raise my budget. I did leave my super hectic reporting career because there’s pretty much no way I could handle all the nights and weekends while trying to schedule appointments and speaking engagements. So that’s something to consider – if you can, keep working but possibly cut back a little. Apart from that, prioritization is so key! Having a to-do list (I use the 2Do app) has helped a ton. I never get everything done that’s on my list, but it helps ensure I get done what has to be done on a certain day. And this may seem simple, but I also just started keeping my TV off for most of the day. I started looking for little time suckers and took steps to eliminate them. I didn’t sit for ours in front of the TV, but getting distracted here and there for a few minutes at a time added up!

Worker 2: Divide and conquer. It sounds so simple, but I feel like our generation can get so overwhelmed with huge tasks that we freeze in our tracks or don’t know where to start. Break your weekly tasks up into bitesize chunks. Send 5 emails. Get caught up on thank you notes. Make 10 calls, write newsletter. Write them down and cross it off the list. It really does help!

Worker 3: Lists are extremely helpful. Keeping a detailed planner that I take everywhere and being intentional with my time has also helped.

Worker 4: Say “Yes” to the planner! You never know when someone will call you back about an appointment and it’s best to have your schedule right in front of you. As a substitute teacher, I’ve had to have a planner anyway; I have a different job every day.

Worker 5: I am not a planner by any definition of the word but I have grown to rely on my online calendar very much. I do not make plans any more without checking it. And when I do make plans, I update it immediately. There is time in life, but sometimes we need to truly force ourselves to take advantage of it when it is there.

Never give up!

Worker 6: Know that it’s going to take time. More time than we’d like. We live in an instant society. Everything we do we expect immediate rewards or results. Don’t feel guilty if your fundraising journey takes longer than others, just don’t compare at all. Comparing more harmful/painful than helpful.

Remember God is using this time to prepare us in more ways than we even understand! So ask for patience, be content in all things, and rest in God’s timing rejoicing with others and not worrying about how fast or slow you get to the field.

Worker 7: I strongly recommend substitute teaching during support-raising season if you MUST work. With substitute teaching you are able to set MANY preferences. Specifically, which/how many days to devote to both subbing and support. At the end of the school day (for the most part) you don’t have work to take home with you!  So many positives about substitute teaching, I could keep going, but won’t. (wink emoticon)

Do you have practices that help you in the area of time management? Share them in the comments please!

Dealing with the Monster of Rejection

A subject that comes up regularly in the hearts and minds of ministry workers raising their finances is that of rejection. Eeew. I know, I’m going there. We are talking about it…

To explain a little further what I mean when I say “rejection”, I define “rejection” as facing the fear of rejection and/or what happens when we are given a “no” when asking for financial support.

I’ve gathered some insights from various ministry workers that I coach to speak on the subject of rejection. Before sharing those, I would like to share 5 thoughts that may turn the lights on the monster lurking in the corner.

original
Re·jec·tion
rəˈjekSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.
    “the union decided last night to recommend rejection of the offer”

Facing rejection can be daunting to even think about in the context of raising funds. Will I damage the relationship? Will they say no? Will I be awkward? Will they be awkward? Will they answer the phone? Are they screening my phone calls? Do they not like me now that I’ve asked them for an appointment? Am I annoying? Did I ask for too much? If I call them and ask to get their commitment in what will they think? It goes on and on. All of these thoughts I’ve absolutely had myself and have talked with other workers about on a regular basis.

As far as actual rejection goes, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, it’s a sure fire thing while raising your funds (and let me point out, while in ministry in your field) you will deal with some form of rejection. I know – shocker. It just happens.

Whether it is the fear of rejection or actual rejection that is hanging you up from accomplishing your goals (or is just getting in the way of this being a great season of life in ministry) here are a couple of thoughts on combating the fear of rejection, or the “no” itself:

1.People have different giving goals, sometimes it just isn’t about you, it’s about them and the Lord. Not everyone is meant to join your financial partnership team, and that is okay. Tithes and offerings are a very personal thing between a person and God. For a lot of people giving directly links them to the cause they are passionate about, and giving may be their only outlet of involvement with that cause or ministry.

For example, let me give you a story: Say “Joe” is very passionate about disaster relief aid, but Joe works a full time job in food service and never gets to volunteer due to a busy and irregular schedule. Thus Joe is very passionate about providing finances to several disaster relief organizations and does not have much room in his budget to give to something that doesn’t fit within that context. Then you ask Joe to financially partner with you for reaching college campuses and Joe tells you no, because he just started supporting a new relief effort.

Now you have two choices here: (1) You could walk away from Joe feeling defeated because he didn’t partner with you monthly, and maybe even feel like somehow the relationship is damaged or awkward because he said no. Or (2) you could walk away celebrating that Joe is able to directly influence the thing he is passionate about, just like you are by starting your journey with ministry to college campuses. So which would you choose? Which do you normally choose? What do you automatically think when someone doesn’t give to you?

(Keep in mind, you could easily insert a pastor of a church into this story as easily as “Joe”. Churches have numerous projects, causes, and workers vying for their financial attention. Celebrate with churches who give in general, even if it isn’t to you!)

2. You don’t have to apologize I think this is one of the most important things to remember in the midst of asking for finances. Asking someone for financial support is okay and it’s even biblical. (If you doubt that to be true, here are some verses to check out) Also, what you are doing is downright cool and inspiring. Seriously. You don’t have to be ashamed about telling people about Jesus and you certainly aren’t the only one since the days of Moses who raised finances to do it.  If it means anything, I give you permission: You can be bold. You can be confident (and it actually helps). You don’t have to apologize for following God’s path, and you actually get to be an inspiration for those you connect with to follow their own paths with God!

3. Remember this is God’s thing, not yours. If He has called you surely He will provide for you. Also, He’s actually the one that set it up for the christian worker to live off of support. He can sympathize, Jesus empathizes (Luke 8:1-3), and has a plan for you and for your financial team. If someone doesn’t join maybe someone else is supposed to. I can be as simple as that, if you let it be.

4. Perceiving rejection is typically worse than actual rejection. What do I mean? If your anything like me, most of the time the real battle doesn’t even leave your own brain. Often times we become our own worst enemy when it comes to raising our finances. If you think about it, the real worst thing that can actually happen in raising your funds is asking and hearing a “no”.

However, I don’t think that we let that be the worst thing. I actually think the worst thing that happens to us is in the battle of our own minds – and as we focus on  perceived thoughts that may or may not be true we become jaded, upset, unfocused, unsure of our calling, etc etc etc. Practical combat here: avoid the troubles this creates by being clear in your asks and let the actual “rejection” be the worst thing that can happen (because really it’s not that bad!). Truly, sometimes the fear of rejection is more real than your actual being rejected is.

5. Just because a pastor or individual doesn’t immediately call you back doesn’t mean they are rejecting you (or mad at you). Try to keep in mind that it’s not always about you. People have busy lives and are not as keen on raising your support as you are. Pastors are busy and have a lot of various priorities. Individuals lives can get busy and inboxes can get full of emails and to-dos. Give those you try to contact a little grace and don’t give up too quickly. Don’t tell yourself they have said no before they have had the chance to.

If someone doesn’t connect with you after multiple attempts that’s okay. Give it a little time and try again. Maybe their season of life is a busy one. Here’s where it may get scary: sure, maybe they don’t want to join your ministry team. But you don’t know that until they say no. Whatever the case actually is, in your assessment try and assume the best before the worst and whatever you do, keep moving forward.

6. BONUS: Don’t give up! If you are reading this it is probably because you are doing something awesome God has called you to. If that is true then He has given you grace for it and He knows your obstacles and fears in the midst. I think the main thing I have learned in my personal experiences and from coaching is simple: keep your perspective biblical and your know that God has got this. Amen? Amen.

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To go along with these thoughts, here are a few more thoughts on rejection from workers who have recently gotten to 100% with a team of committed financial partners:

Worker 1: Someone once told me “God already knows your partners; you just have to find them.” That helped a lot in dealing with rejection. If someone says no, they’re just not one of the ones God had in mind for my team!

Worker 2: I would say that the hurt of rejection is a result of the expectation that said person is going to become a partner…so for us the biggest let downs are the ones that come from those people we though “for sure” would join our team. If we walk into support meet-ups having the understanding that it’s the Spirit doing the real convincing (even though it’s our jobs to communicate accurately and be straightforward), then we would walk out with the understanding that no matter how it ended, the Lord is in it and He’s the one forming our team.
From a practical stand-point, I would add that it’s better that you hear a “no” from a potential partner rather than a “yes” only to have that commitment fall through months down the line while serving on the field! (That helped me, anyway!)

Worker 3: Last week after reaching 99% fully funded, I lost a $200/mo supporter, and when I was praying about it I laughed! I thought “God is my supporter” (this sounds cheesier now that I’m writing it down.) I’m just saying – rejected? No. Trust God and keep going. One thing I’ve learned: It’s not about me.

Worker 4: God has hand-selected every church and individual financial partner that will get us on the field. Never let those pastors or financial partners that do not feel personally led by the Holy Spirit, or do not currently have the funds to support, feel like they have failed. Smile at them warmly and honestly and tell them the faith you have in God for getting you to the field. Typically they already feel both shame and regret for not being able to support you. Do not let them walk away feeling like they let you down. If we can’t handle this “rejection”, how will we handle the rejection when those we serve reject Christ when we share the gospel?

I hope you find some of this helpful. When dealing with the monster of rejection, remember to turn the lights on. It may not be as scary as you think!

Have thoughts? Post them in the comments!


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