Survival Guide to Raising Support During the Coronavirus – Part 2
(This is part 2 in our series as we look at heart postures and strategies for connecting with ministry partners during the coronavirus pandemic.)
While on a stateside trip for some leadership meetings I was asked to stop by a friend’s ministry in Oklahoma City to speak at the Rescue Mission downtown on my way back to Germany. I shared a short devotional and a few minutes on my current ministry. Then something happened that humbled and amazed me. It was a holy moment. The Executive Director asked the 70 or so homeless residents attending daily chapel to give towards my ministry. I was shocked, even embarrassed that he would ask them to give to me. I don’t remember exactly how much they gave but it was over $300. I wanted to give all the money back and felt unworthy of taking some of these folks last dollars.
My friend, seeing my discomfort with the situation, taught me a lesson that I will never forget. He said “Mark this is part of their transformation process from dependent and unable to contribute to independent and able to give. You would rob them of this opportunity to bless and reinforce that they have nothing to offer if you reject their gift.” For me, it was a literal and real life example of the widow’s mite. These people were precious and gave with such joy to the Lord. At that moment I couldn’t think of anyone who would have had more of an excuse to not give and how important it was for them to have the opportunity to give.
As we have a season where COVID-19 is causing global impact, it will have an impact on the people who are going to be your ministry partners. Some may lose their job or have reduced income. Personal businesses will suffer under the social distancing we are seeing. These are very legitimate concerns and issues that could prevent people from partnering with you and yet circumstances should not be the only factor in which we decide to invite someone to give or not. We don’t want to rob someone of an opportunity to give because we decided what was too difficult for them. The question is how do we balance opportunity with sensitivity to their situation?
- Empathize with your partners and potential partners. Partner care is going to play a vital role as your current team members and future team members are impacted by COVID-19. Pray for them, mourn with them, communicate with them, and care for them. Care about their needs as if they were your own. Offer gracious understanding if their situation is such that they cannot support you or have to stop supporting you. The relationship goes beyond the financial investment.
- Genuinely investigate their situational ability to engage as a ministry partner during the pandemic. In your phone script or personal invitation consider adding this phrase or question: “We’re thrilled about the ministry vision the Lord has called us to fulfil. We also recognize during the pandemic the logistics of meeting together might not work for everyone, is hearing about our ministry vision something that works for you?” You should also consider amending your ask during this time frame with a similar phrase recognizing the current situation but not pulling away from the opportunity.
- Dispense with guilt. A worker is worthy of their wage. If your work is to raise your support you are still worthy of your wage even in a time of crisis. It’s not a conditional statement. Your first ministry is to build your team of partners. You did not choose to have the pandemic hit globally during your partnership development period. It may be more challenging but that does not have an impact on your worth as a great commission worker.
- Prioritize your vision and budget during the crisis. It’s a good time to evaluate what are the most important parts of your vision that need to be accomplished during the pandemic. Focus on those elements recognizing everyone is making sacrifices right now including you. It could be that you have some longer-term goals for the vision God has called you to that you wait to pursue until after the pandemic has passed and life has returned to a more normal state.
- Share opportunities to partner. God is still at work during times of crisis. His will and vision for His kingdom is still being accomplished. Continue to share the vision and the opportunities because like the homeless described above, God works in people’s hearts despite their current circumstance. People are blessed by giving and sometimes people are moved to give when things are hard for them.
Should I Even Be Raising Support Right Now? – Part 2
This article is submitted by Jessica Wood of Support Raising Solutions. Support Raising Solutions is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.