This section is here to encourage you, while at the same time provide you with some practical suggestions for raising the support you need to complete your training with us. Know that we as a staff are regularly praying for you and your finances – you are not alone in this!
Our hope and prayer is that you will grow in your faith in God through this process. Please read on for more insight, thoughts, and practical ideas regarding the finances and support you may need for your next step or ministry.
Faith and Finances
Evidence of the Unknown Dollar
The Bible says in Hebrews that faith is the substance, or evidence, of things that are currently unseen and that we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). When we commit to full-time missions or missions training, we are in faith that the finance we do not yet have will be there at the right time. The weight of dependence is upon God to come through and He is always faithful. This truth, however, does not mean it is always comfortable or that we do not have to do our part to see the finances come in.
Faith is not merely wishful thinking but connected to knowing God and having strong assurance in His character and ability to provide for you. Faith operates when there is no resource but God. This is when your faith increases as you consciously choose to keep trusting God. Prayer is vital. Prayer with others is key and brings great amount of encouragement as you look forward to the break-through regarding your financial need.
To ask or not to ask?
Often, the question that arises is, “Does faith mean I do not ask people for financial help?” The key to remember here is that fundraising is not just about the money, but about relationship with others and giving them an opportunity to join you in God’s work on earth. Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, was asked this question and his concise response is worth sharing here: “I think it’s not a matter of what YWAM’s view is, but what is appropriate. And appropriateness depends on society, and it depends on the closeness of relationship. If you build everything on relationship, then you don’t do anything that’ll violate the relationship. When you’re close, and you communicate, I don’t think you’re always communicating about money. It comes in maybe once a year, but if you make it a big deal, and that’s your purpose, they’re going to know it’s your purpose and nobody wants that kind of relationship.”
It’s All About God
Faith and finances is ultimately about God and your increasing intimacy with Him. He cares about you. In that, God will provide ideas and strategies that you can use to see your financial support increase. The amount of ideas and suggestions for fundraising is probably as numerous as the stars. What strategies you choose to use and methods you embrace will depend on what you feel God is leading you to do, your level of relationship with the people you are asking, and the time you have to invest.
Some Key Ideas
Some key ideas to remember as you explore some of the strategies we suggest are:
- Fundraising is not a one-time event but an ongoing part of training and ministry. Even if you have all the finance you need, you have an obligation to communicate with those giving to you. Additionally, you may be burdened to help carry the fundraising need with other individuals, or for a ministry as a whole.
- Fundraising is based on your relationship with God and with people. It is not about the money.
- Fundraising, succinctly put, is communicating your vision. Many people will want to know what they are giving to. If you are doing training, share with people the overall big picture of what they are giving to.
- Communicate your commitment to keep in regular contact with everyone who joins your team through prayer or financial support.
Practically speaking, it can help to think about your financial needs in two areas (1) Up front costs and (2) Regular Support.
- Up front costs could include things like start up costs for your ministry, training costs (such as a DTS), outreach costs connected to training, airfare, visas, equipment, computers, etc.
- Regular support would include things such as monthly living expenses (housing, food, insurance, medical costs, clothing, phone and internet service, laundry, regular outreaches and travel, offering and giving, etc) and savings toward future plans, vision, or needs.
Below are some practical ideas for fundraising:
- Car wash: Gather some friends and ask them to donate their time to help you wash as many cars as possible for donations by the owners. This is a good way to generate some funds towards your upfront costs.
- Cafe or Dessert Night: Ask some close friends and acquaintances to join you for an evening of coffee & tea and desert that you are hosting. This is an opportunity for you to share your vision with a group of people and ask them to prayerfully consider joining the team through prayer of giving. This can result in regular, or monthly, partners.
- Similar to above, you could prayerfully ask some of your closest friends or those who really understand and support your vision to host a dinner or desert on your behalf and then encourage people to invite someone else who may be interested in hearing what you are doing and joining your team.
- Garage or Yard Sale: Have a sale, by donation, in which you give away things you no longer need. You can also ask people to donate quality items to have at the sale. This as well can generate funds for up-front costs.
- Bake Sale or BBQ or Sausage Sizzle: Many places are willing to donate, or sell at a reduced cost, supplies for non-profit fundraisers such as missions and missions training.
- Mail a paper fundraising campaign letter that simply, yet thoroughly, communicates what you will be doing, why, for how long and the needs you have.
- Follow people up with personal phone calls and/or notes or email. Keep fundraising relational and personal. You are not “shopping” for partners, but recruiting team members.
- Invite 1-2 people to a more personal discussion over coffee or tea.
- Invite people to pray with you on a regular basis concerning your fundraising.
Remember, whatever method or strategy you use, keep trusting God and pray. It is important to communicate to people that you would like to follow up with them. This allows you to easily contact them again to see if they are interested in partnering with you while giving them time to go away and pray and think about it without pressure. This is primarily for those strategies that involve you clearly sharing your vision and asking for people to join your team (desert nights, dinner, meetings, etc).
The Importance of Partnership
Partnership is key to longevity in pursuing your training and ministry endeavours. It may be practical to think, “I will just work to earn enough money to pay for this training.” That can be done, but eventually you will need to leave your work and pursue your training and when that money runs out you may need to repeat the whole process, all the while putting what God has called you to on hold.
Relationship Based Fundraising
Relational partnership not only provides a long-term foundation of prayer and financial support for your training and ministry, but also allows other people to be part of what God is doing through you. Remember, this is about God and His purposes. You play a role in that and others do as well. Just as God leads some to go out into full-time missions, He leads others to contribute significantly through prayer and financial support. Think of it as forming a team to go with you. There are many people literally seeking for missionaries, both young and old, to give to and consider it an honor and a calling to do so. We are never meant to “go it alone” but to have a team of supporters around us.
Whether this idea is new to you or something you already agree with, seeking partnership from others can be anywhere from awkward to absolutely nerve-wracking. We encourage you to see our suggestions for “Practical Strategies” as well as commit every idea and fundraising endeavor to the Lord and follow His direction.
Other Useful Resources
“Friend Raising” by Betty Barnett
“Funding Your Ministry” by Scott Morton
“Daring to Live on the Edge” By Loren Cunningham
“Against All Odds” by Jim Stier
MP3 Audio Teachings
“Let’s Go Barefoot” by Loren Cunningham
“Faith and Finances” by David Hamilton
“Precious Valleys” by John Dawson
“DNA Conference (Session 11)” by David Hamilton
Thank you to the wonderful team over at YWAM Perth for being the inspiration behind this page.