What Are You Looking for in a Coach?

This article was originally published for Support Raising Solutions by Joseph Murphy.

When I started support raising, I had no clue what I was doing. I knew that God was calling me into full-time ministry. I knew I would be serving with the same college ministry that had changed my life. I started reading The God Ask hoping for an instruction manual on how to raise my support. If someone had asked me, “Would you like to receive coaching for your MPD?” I wouldn’t have known what to say. I had an idea in my head of what I needed to do, but HOW I was going to do it was a mystery to me.

My ministry organization assigned me a coach without asking what I wanted or needed. I had never met this person before. She was friendly and seemed experienced in support raising. She had been raising her own support for three years. She was also a full-time missionary in the same organization I was joining. I figured, if I’m going to have a coach, it might as well be someone who serves in the same ministry. When I heard that I was going to have a coach meet with me each week, I felt the organization was giving me a babysitter. I felt like it wasn’t necessary and she wouldn’t be of much help to me.

She ended up challenging me to push myself harder and lean more into God’s Providence. There were several times where I wanted to stop, but she was always there to encourage me to go a little further. I didn’t realize how isolating support raising could be. Every day I was talking to people who had never heard of my ministry organization before. They made me feel like a weirdo for choosing to go into ministry. Getting excited about my ministry vision was hard when I was facing rejections daily. 

I started to look forward to my calls with my coach. I knew that she would be able to encourage me, in part because she could empathize with me. She knew what I was going through because she had experienced it all herself. Seeing her excited face on the video call reminded me of why I was support raising. 

I tried my best to follow the practices recommended by The God Ask and the training I received. I was often in situations where specific principles were difficult to apply. I would hit a mental block, unsure of how to proceed. I couldn’t ask my parents about this, because they wouldn’t have known what to say. They had never support raised before, and they knew less about the best practices than I did! I relied on my coach to give me helpful feedback when I found myself in a challenging situation.

I would have been less motivated to do the hard work of support raising if I didn’t have someone checking in on me each week. Picking up the phone and calling people sounds easy until you actually do it. Despite my strong call from the Lord to enter full-time ministry, the Enemy wanted to keep me away from God’s plan. There were many weeks where my coach was my sole source of motivation. The only thing that helped me pick up the phone was the fact that my coach was going to ask me about how my phone calls went. Her accountability gave me the encouragement to stay focused on my ministry vision and financial goals.

In hindsight, I was grateful that my ministry organization provided me with a coach. And while I didn’t know it at the time, they had several people serving as support raising coaches. My coach was able to give me dedicated time because she wasn’t responsible for coaching every missionary in my organization. 

After my first year as a missionary, I needed to do some more support raising to reach my Fully Funded goal. Once again, no one asked me if I wanted a coach. I knew from the bottom of my heart that my answer to that hypothetical question would be a resounding “YES”. If you’re support raising right now and don’t have a coach (or someone like a coach), I strongly encourage you to find one. My experience has shown me that support raising is not meant to be a solitary experience. I’ve had a few support raising coaches over the years and I’m thankful to God for the role they have played in forming me as a missionary disciple.


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.


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