As Sent-Ones begin to raise funding for short-term trips and being sent long-term, one tension that will have to be managed is how Sent-Ones raise support from members of your church. Most churches want to prioritize helping their members give directly to the general fund of the church and trust that an elder or leadership team will manage that giving well.
Having Sent-Ones raise support can be a wonderful opportunity to get the word out about Global missions and also encourage your people to give above and beyond their regular tithe. It can create tension though if: a) members feel like they are obligated to give to Sent-Ones; b) members receive too many requests from Sent-Ones; or c) members want to give only to Sent-Ones and disregard their regular tithe. Below we are going to look at the various giving structure models and give some advice on how to help your Sent-Ones raise support amongst your church members.
Support Raising and Avoiding Donor Fatigue
Let’s say your church has a healthy rhythm of challenging your people to give a tithe and it is clear to your people that a percentage of their giving is going to global missions. You’ve gone with the advice from the previous blog post about tiered giving and fifteen to twenty percent of a Sent-One’s funding is coming directly from the church for long-term funding. For some churches who are sending multiple people long-term, letting Sent-Ones raise support freely could be a recipe for donor fatigue in this scenario. So how do we allow our Sent-Ones to raise support, but avoid donor fatigue?
This is very similar to the model we have at my home church, Cornerstone. How we have addressed this issue is that we allow our long-term sent-ones raising support to meet with anyone they know in our church to ask for money. We do not provide lists of names for them, but encourage them to connect with those they know. As a part of their support raising training and shepherding from us as a church, we train them on how to talk to people about support, especially amongst our members. Here are a few things we talk to them about.
"To really serve the Sent-One in the support raising process you will need to provide opportunities for them to meet with members of your church."
First, we want those raising support to have the goal in their presentations of mobilization, gathering prayer support, and then raising funding—in that order. We believe that the funding will come if we’ve cleared their calling. So we try to give them a vision for mobilization to the nations first and foremost in their meetings.
Second, they are required to talk about the amount that our church is giving them on a monthly basis with any members they talk to in order to thank those who are giving for being a great part of our church. But, they also give them an invitation to go beyond what they currently give to support that Sent-One. This serves three purposes: 1) it gets the word out to our people of what our global giving is going towards; 2) it takes the pressure off of the member to give, because they know they are already giving to the person raising support through their general tithe; and 3) it puts our members in the right frame of mind to give, not out of compulsion, but joyfully.
Supporting Sent Ones in Fund Raising
For churches that do not focus time and attention on creating a missions budget, to really serve the Sent-One in the support raising process you will need to provide opportunities for them to meet with members of your church. This can be a great blessing as it will push your people towards giving, but can also lead to donor fatigue if not shepherded correctly. To shepherd your Sent-Ones through this, helping them to have a vision for mobilization in their support raising meetings is still pretty important and valuable to the life of your church.
Support your Sent-Ones by giving them small groups or members with whom to meet. Support them by getting them in front of the church and encouraging your church members to meet with that Sent-one when they are asked to join a fundraising meeting. Consider giving your members the opportunity to hear the vision of that Sent-One and respond with not just one-time giving, but monthly pledges of support.
However you handle this in church, trust the Lord to provide for the needs of your church and for your long-term fundraisers. Remember that God has all the funding in the world at his disposal, but to those who steward well what God has given, more will be entrusted. Don’t shy away from your role to steward the funds of your church and support and shepherd your fundraisers.
Mike Ironside is Missions Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. He has served on staff with Cornerstone since 2006 in varying roles from college ministry to pastoral staff to being an overseas missionary sent from Cornerstone for 2 years. Mike is the Director of Cohorts for the Upstream Collective. He also serves as chairman of the board for Campus to Campus, a missions organization dedicated to getting US college students connected to church planting movements amongst college students worldwide.