How To Make Your Own Prayer Card on Vistaprint

I’m excited to share this wonderful tutorial on How to Make Prayer Cards on Vistaprint. I didn’t make it, a friend of mine in ministry at a sensitive location did. I’d tell you her name, but I can’t, so we will just call her “Designer Debbie”. What I can say is please use this link if you end up using Vistaprint to make your Prayer Card. By using it you will give Designer Debbie discounted materials for future use! WIN WIN http://reward.vistaprint.com/go.axd?ref=TBNJM5

My girl DD is also a really great designer and makes Prayer Cards along with other promotional materials (case documents, connect cards, etc.), so if you want to skip the DIY – contact me and I can get you in touch with her.

So what is a Prayer Card? Think of it as a business card for ministry. Typically they are small, display your tagline, picture, ministry, and contact information. They are helpful for giving out at events, face to face meetings, short conversations, etc. and provide the recipient a quick glance at your ministry and way to keep your contact information. Often these go on refrigerators as prayer reminders, go in invitation letters, thank you cards, pastor packets, and the like. Read along to find out more on how to make your own! Thanks Designer Debbie!

Ghosting! When It’s Time to Make The Final Contact

Ghosting! It’s October so let’s talk about it now for obvious reasons.

You all know the scenario, chances are you’ve been there…

You reach out to a friend via phone and try to set up an appointment. No answer. You text them and ask if they have time for a quick phone call. Nope, nothing. Then you call again and leave a voicemail. Crickets. Then the process gets a little weird because you call again a couple of days later and still: NADA. Maybe you send another text several weeks after beginning the process, but you don’t know what to say. So you send something but don’t love it, bite your nails and then…na that wasn’t them that texted back…it was just MORE CRICKETS. And you’re wondering…did I just damage a relationship? What if I see them at Target? Do they shop at that one? Maybe I’ll drive to the one on the other side of town that’s farther away from their house. AWKWARD.

So what do we do with this whole ghosting MONSTER lurking under the bed? How do we appropriately handle the FEAR that rejection is happening before our eyes? I’ve got some ideas to combat the SCARY scenarios. Don’t SCREAM, let’s dive in (and okay, I’ll stop using the puns). There are 3 main things to keep in mind when you think you are being ghosted – let’s talk about them.

1. Don’t Jump to Conclusions

When you feel you are being ghosted don’t jump to conclusions. People are busy with their own lives, and your top priority is almost always NOT their top priority. They’ve got their own world swirling around them, so recognize that we have to meet people where they are at and contacting you back may not be at the top of their list. Don’t jump to the conclusion that if they aren’t Johny-On-The-Spot with getting back to you it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. It could mean a variety of things such as one or some of the following:

  • they are bad with returning phone calls / messages / insert media you used
  • they are busy
  • it’s a hard week
  • it’s a hard year. ahem… it is 2020.
  • they are out of town / country
  • they intend to but just haven’t gotten there yet
  • they are distracted
  • their phone broke?
  • they have a new number
  • they are potty training their toddler and are laser focused unto getting rid of cloth diapers for ever and ever amen (wait… just me?!)

Thus before making the conclusion you are being ghosted, here are ask some important questions of yourself. If you answer “no” to any of these things – then try that thing before jumping to conclusions:

  • Am I using the right contact method to reach them? Have I tried multiple ways to get in touch?
  • Are they actually receiving my phone call / message?
  • Have I tried enough times over a period of time, and given them long enough to respond?
  • Have they already expressed interest in giving but have had trouble responding recently?

2. The Final Contact

If you have have sufficiently tried to reach out to someone but are getting no response (see list above) then you may consider making The Final Contact. The Final Contact essentially is communication that attempts to honor the relationship when someone isn’t responding, and lets that person know you will not be contacting them again about support. Now, that being said I have some pretty strong thoughts about The Final Contact and how it works / doesn’t work that I need to share before proceeding further:

  1. Consider all of the questions above carefully before doing The Final Contact.
  2. You should NOT be doing The Final Contact if you’ve only tried calling a person twice or even 3 times. It should be after you’ve made several attempts, tried several communication methods, and given them time to respond. Many people make the mistake of believing someone’s silence is rejection and give up too quickly due to fear. Be confident, and remember you don’t have to apologize for inviting someone to be a part of the Great Commission.
  3. If a Final Contact is given too early you run the risk of offending cherished relationships.
  4. If you move to the Final Contact too early you also run the risk of no support from them.
  5. It’s likely that after you make The Final Contact, you will hear from the person who has ghosted you. It happens often.
  6. In wording your Final Contact, keep the door open a smidge that you may have a future assignment / time you raise support, and perhaps you will reach out again in the future (see example below – this doesn’t need to be emphasized, just accommodated for).
  7. You don’t make The Final Contact if someone has answered your calls and methods of communication, only if they don’t (unless it’s a nuanced situation). Don’t make The Final Contact you’re out for any circumstance that gets awkward that you don’t want to follow up on. No no.


So HUGE WARNING HERE: Don’t do it too early. However, well timed Final Contacts can help in putting the relationship in good standing. So what does a good Final Contact look like? This example of a Final Contact is written by my friend Grant Hoel who is a support raising coach and in full time ministry with Chi Alpha.

Hi [Name], I hope everything is going well for you. I’ve been trying to get in touch with you recently to share about my upcoming ministry assignment to [City or Country] but I have been having trouble. It is possible that this is not the best method of communication for you or that you’ve been extremely busy and unable to get back to me. Or maybe you’re just not interested, and that’s okay. In any case, I wanted to let you know that this will be my last attempt to reach you in regards to this assignment. Also know that I really value your friendship and would love to catch up or hear how I can be praying for you at any time. If you are interested in talking about the ministry and how you could be involved, feel free to give me a call: (555) 555-5555. Either way, I look forward to catching up the next time I see you. Have a great week and God Bless.

Some thoughts straight from Grant on what a well-crafted Final Contact does:

  1. It provides the person the most charitable excuse for not returning your call.
    • “I know you’re probably super busy…”
    • “I understand that now may not be the best time for you…”
    • “You may not be able to give right now…” “And that’s OK!”
  2. Let’s them know that you will not be contacting them regarding support/financial partnership for this assignment.  You won’t bring it up unless they initiate it.
    • “So I just want to let you know that I won’t be contacting you again about this unless you bring it up.  If I’m wrong and you just haven’t been able to get back to me, just give me a call and we’ll pick up the conversation from there.”
  3. Affirms your relationship with them. 
    • “I just want you to know that I absolutely appreciate your friendship…” 
    • “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or any way to pray for you…”
    • “I look forward to the next time we get to see each other…”

3. Don’t be Timid: Its The Great Commission (See Rejection post)

I get it, it can be SCARY to reach out to friends and family for support, and when that friend ghosts you in the process, it doesn’t feel good. But I think alongside having the Final Contact in our pocket, remembering that we are all called to the Great Commission as either goers or senders 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.  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! He’s actually the one that set it up for the christian worker to live off of support. If someone doesn’t join maybe someone else is supposed to. I can be as simple as that, if you let it be.

It’s hard to know what to do when a person isn’t responding to you, I hope some of these thoughts help in the process. Below is a song to help inspire you. As Grant put it to me when explaining his process on The Final Contact “Now may you confidently and effectively raise the funds you need to do the work in which God has called you. May you have even deeper and more meaningful relationships as a result of your support raising efforts.” – JF

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

 

What To Do If A Financial Partner Stops Giving

What happens if you are months into your assignment and you notice that the support of one of your financial partners has come to a screeching halt? Would contacting them be awkward? How would you word such a conversation? Here are some tips on how to deal when giving drops off:

  • If someone’s support drops off, try to deal with it relatively quickly. Don’t wait 4 or 5 months (or yikes…even longer) to reach out. I think waiting until the second month is okay, but I probably wouldn’t go beyond that if you can help it.
  • If someone stops their giving don’t assume that they don’t want to give any more. It could likely be a credit card expiration situation.
  • If someone’s support drops off contact that financial partner! Personally I would use email or phone call to connect, and I would stay away from less personal spaces like Facebook Messenger or text. Here’s a sample email or phone conversation:
    • Hey Paul! Hope you are doing well! Things here are going great even in the midst of COVID-19. We have gone out of shelter in place and have been able to connect more with the local church as well as resume our English teaching with ease – which is great. It’s also lead to a lot of really great ministry moments recently that I’ll be sharing more in depth in my newsletter coming up next week. Excited to share more! How are you all doing in the midst of COVID? Everything ok with you and your family? Would love to hear more. // I want to reach out because I noticed in May that your monthly support did not come in. I’m wondering if that is a credit card issue / expiration or if there are other circumstances? Let me know if you could either way. I would love to be praying if you have any specific prayer requests and thank you for the continued support in ministry, it has and does mean more than words can say. I’ll be attaching instructions to the bottom of this email if indeed it is a credit card change. Thank you Paul!” (*include giving information, instructions on credit card changes that are extremely user friendly, and your contact information)
  • If they don’t happen to answer, don’t give up, try to reach out in another way. And/or if you are emailing and don’t get a response, wait a week or so and pop in with a quick email that says something like “Hey Paul, just checking in. Did you happen to get the email I sent you on a couple of weeks ago in the beginning of June?”
  • If they answer back and let you know it’s a credit card expiration, I would respond by providing them again with the needed information to make the change. Do as much of the work as you possibly can for them, and make it AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE for them to complete the task.
  • If they answer that they won’t be continuing and their financial abilities have changed say something along the lines of:
    • “Hey Paul, thanks for letting me know about the situation that lead to a pause on the giving. It truly helps me. Thank you so much as well for your giving over X amount of time, words cannot say enough how grateful I am. If it’s okay I would love to touch base with you later on down the road and see if jumping back on would make sense after the challenges you are facing pass – and will be praying for you in the midst of it. I’m sure it’s a challenging time and I’m so sorry you have to walk through that (*or whatever helpful language works here based on relationship and challenge they are facing*). I’ll continue sending newsletters and thank you for your continued prayers. If you would like to not get those any longer let me know and I can take you off the list. Again, appreciate you and your family and will stay in touch.” 
    • If you send this back to them set yourself a calendar reminder to email or text them in a month or two just to simply check in and ask how they are doing. There should be no other agenda for that touch point unless they initiate it. Tell them you have been praying for them (and indeed – pray for them!) and let them know you were thinking of them.
  • Just as a reminder, stay relational with your partnership team! According to Bill Dillon’s statistics in his book People Raising, 66% of people stop giving because they don’t think that you care about them or their giving. Don’t be that worker that goes off to their assignment and forgets the team beyond you and behind you that makes it possible! If that is the case, you will likely have people drop off.
  • In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, I don’t think these tips or steps change. It may be that someone on your team falls on hard times and drop offs due to the economy, and staying ministry minded will serve you well. Still reach out using the following the tips above.