Explore panel: ‘Support raising sounds intimidating. What was it like for you?'
September 2021
Thanks to Explore News reader Moora Letsoalo in South Africa, who asked our missionary panelists to share about support raising! Like Moora, you might wonder what it's like to ask people and churches to help fund your ministry. SEND missionaries team up with a missions coach who helps guide them through the process, but it can still feel intimidating. Here's how our missionary panelists experienced support raising.

Think of it like a treasure hunt! 

Headshot of Debbie in SpainRaising support WAS intimidating, until we started having tapas parties (in honor of our ministry in Spain). We realized that in a small group setting, people really enjoy seeing videos and pictures and hearing about what God is doing and what is left to do in other parts of the world. Then it was just waiting on God’s timing. After all, it’s his money, his mission, his vision. 
If we look at support raising like it’s all on us to reach 100 percent, we start treating the process with a human approach, with our own strength and wit. But when we view it “like a treasure hunt” (as a dear old teammate used to say), then it is just like going out with eyes open, and letting God do his thing.  

A whole team of people are for you

Headshot of Hannah in JapanI  would say “intimidating” describes the initial stage of support raising. Take a step back, though, and look at the bigger picture: this is a beautiful opportunity for a partnership with others to join your team, and a beautiful way to see God provide. Every person's story in the support-raising process is unique but I'll share a personal story as to why I found the financial team of partnership with others so important.
Though I am currently with SEND in Japan, I started my journey in the Czech Republic doing a two-year internship. Month four into my first year, I got sick with a pretty bad virus that lasted a few weeks—it was cold, the sky was grey and the winter there was really different from Texas. I was ready to look at plane tickets to come back, but then I realized that there was a whole team of people who were for me in this journey, and that's what kept me on the field that month.
If you need someone to talk to about the options, or other missionaries who have been to the process of support-raising, please feel free to reach out. Keep going and explore. We're here for you.  

Sharing our stories was a gift

Headshot of DK in Southeast Asia

Raising support can be challenging, but is also a beautiful time to tangibly see God’s provision. The most challenging part for us was setting up appointments to meet with people and share. Somedays it felt like many messages were sent with no fruit. Other days it felt like we did absolutely nothing, and God dropped opportunities into our lap!
Once the appointments were made, the fun part happened: getting to share your heart and the passions God gave you! Regardless of the response of the person we shared with, it was such a gift to simply share our stories with people!

A chance to let your church help out

Headshot of Jake in Czech RepublicSupport raising certainly can be intimidating! It does drive you to prayer for your financial needs and grows you personally in your walk with the Lord, which are certainly great things. As you present your needs, you also learn how to articulate your calling and hopes for your ministry.
I would encourage you to ask your church to help you as much as possible. If they are sending you out, they also can bear the work of support raising with you. The church's endorsement will encourage people as they consider partnering with your ministry.

We developed a wider view of God at work

Headshot of Leif in SiberiaThere is honesty in calling it raising support! I understand that mission organizations might call it “support discovery” or “ministry partner development” or all sorts of things, but it sure feels like raising support. 
Support raising was not easy for us. It is not a natural strength of ours, and we did not have large churches with large budgets, but rather many small churches in our network. We grew to enjoy the ways we were able to build relationships in these many churches and to get a wider glimpse of God's heart and work in the United States. 
Over time we have come to recognize the overwhelming blessing of the “advocates” in the various churches. These are the people who actually bring our financial and prayer needs to the churches for us so that we don't have to do it all by ourselves. God definitely uses this process to teach humility and to confirm the call to the field.

You probably noticed a common thread of building relationships through support raising. If you're curious to learn more, you can download this free PDF "Taking the Shame out of Support Raising."  Or, reach out to a missions coach (just click below!) to start a conversation about your missions journey.

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