I am an entrepreneurial missionary. As a pastor once told me, "You live by faith, but you live on money." The new wave missionary sees a need and plants a seed.
Are you called by God to work behind enemy lines? Is working in the community your dream, your passion? If so, then follow God's plan; otherwise you will never be happy. I'm sure you have heard that, "God will take care of your every need if you just trust Him." Few people have really put this axiom to test. I am a living proof that He is able. Put Him to the test!
If you had a dream job what would it be? If you love your job you'll never work another day in your life! So be clear about what you feel God is calling you to do.
People that are called to do missions do missions now. People tell me, "I feel called to do ministry." Then they proceed to tell me of their plans: College, job, marriage, children . . . then ministry. Once the children are grown, "Well, I'm too old now." Our goal as Christians is to love people into the kingdom of God. It doesn't take a seminary degree to do that!
If you are serious about raising your funding, get involved in local missions now! It is much easier for a church to support your goals if you can give a progress report instead of just a vision statement. Real missionaries are involved. NOW.
If you want to be successful in support raising two things have to happen:
1. Focus on working with the lost. There are few people involved with direct evangelism. Be one of them!
2. Be active in sharing so you can tell your supporters personal stories of how you have led others to Christ.
As you share stories of meeting people's needs and leading them to Christ, supporters will want to help you continue your work.
Many volunteers talk about wanting to get into ministry and in the same breath explain how they could never raise their own support. "I could never ask people for money." That is a pride, not theological issue. Or they look at me and say, "You have a gift for raising money." to which I reply, "Yeah, that and writing 30,000 letters and making hundreds of thousands of phone calls."
Most people think of support raising as making a list of all their friends and asking them for money. I don't consider that a good first step. Make a list, yes, but don't ask for money. Instead tell them you are putting together a team to help you reach a community for Christ. Their job will be to pray as if people's eternities depend on it. Because it does!
In Part 4 of this series I will explain how to do a newsletter, but for now it's enough to say you contact your team every month without fail.
The best way to get people to support your ministry is to get them on site. I regularly host Outreach Events. (See the document 'Menu for success') This gives individuals an opportunity to see your ministry up close and personal. Church members want to hear how people in the community are accepting Christ as their personal savior. As they see results, they desire to further your work.
Most churches set their budgets in August for the following year. It usually takes about a year to get your support. It is critical that churches and especially the missions committee know about your ministry. As more people get involved, they become your public relations team. This is the way most people hear about your ministry. Therefore make sure you have plenty of opportunities for people to get involved.
One of the first things you need to invest in is a prayer card with your family on it. People want to support a missionary not an organization! Do everything you can to get your name and face on their refrigerator.
Remember you are not raising support you are raising supporters.