e3 Giving Day – Less than a Month Away!

It has been 5 years since the Lord has called our family to raise our financial support as our means of engaging the mission He called us to. It scared us when we first knew this was what was next. We were leading a campus ministry at the time, and it was such a surprise that we weren’t even considering that it might be a long-term calling from the Lord. In this journey through the last 5 years, the Lord has provided in amazing ways and in the process, given us some amazing relationships as a result.

Now, we are serving with e3 Partners, leading strategy for North America and building a No Place Left Collegiate Network and we get to give our lives to see the kingdom expand across our continent.

e3USA Leadership Team
e3 Canada Leadership & Staff
Our first ever NPL Collegiate Network call!

We couldn’t do this if we didn’t raise our own support. Lots of you are partners with us – and it is only with you that we are able to do what God has called us to. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Each year, e3 Partners has a global Giving Day, where every gift given on that day is matched with a percentage of funds by our organization – so every dollar you give goes farther!

We would ask that you mark your calendar for Thursday, September 12 and prayerfully consider giving to help us press on in the work God has called us to! For some, that may mean giving a special gift, and for others, that may mean increasing existing support. It gives us so much joy to partner with others in the ministry that we do – we would be honored to have you join with us in a special way on Giving Day 2019!

Tracking My Support

Almost a year ago I started my journey of transitioning from a salary to support-based ministry. This is fairly novel in the Southern Baptist world. I’ve come across some great resources, tools, and services that help tremendously with support raising – especially for someone who is not serving in an organization with a long history of support-based staff. In lots of way we are building our own in-house system for training and coaching support-based staff.

I’m learning is how easy it is to lose track of who is giving, how much I’ve raised, what percentage of my total goal I’ve raised and what the split is between monthly and annual givers.

A key service I’m using as my Source of Truth is Support Goal. It’s a great service for keeping track of even the most minute details – attempted contacts, birthdays of supporters, notes on supporters, etc. It is the cornerstone of my support raising system. One key thing I would like to refer to is my monthly and annual supporters, the total amounts of each, and my current percentage of my goal. Support Goal will do this, but this spreadsheet I’ve created simplifies it further – and hey, I like it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 11.15.26 PM

There’s really nothing special about this spreadsheet. It’s just a list of supporters and how much they give. I’ve added 5 formulas (each with a note on the cells) to auto-total the various columns and total percentage. The total monthly and percentage cells have 3 conditional values added to turn the cell RED, YELLOW, or GREEN depending on whether the value is below 50%, between 50-99%, or 100%+. It’s a simple way to indicate progress.

The point: simple and clear data.

If you’d like to play around with this template, you can click the link above. You’ll need to click FILE > MAKE A COPY to edit it for yourself. More than likely, this isn’t even the best way to do what I’m setting out to do. I’m new at this – that’s the whole point. If you have suggestions for improving the system, let me know! Drop me an email or a tweet.

We collegiate ministry practitioners need to do a better job of sharing the resources we use. It may be a document, a spreadsheet, a service, etc. Tim Casteel said it well. Collegiate ministry can be isolating. Let’s do a better job of sharing than siloing.

 

My New Paradigm: Support Raising

About three weeks ago I became a support-based missionary. Kelly and I have considered a number of support-based ministry positions going back to 2009, but we never took the plunge. In fact, it was the support-based component of some of these positions that sometimes scared us off. We knew that support raising was a biblical concept and had no real intellectual hangups, but we simply weren’t ready to take the plunge.

When I accepted the call to relocate to NC and lead BCM, I was accepting a salaried position in a place with an established ministry and had not just an office, but a ministry facility. If I’m being completely honest, while I wasn’t motivated by those things, I wasn’t disappointed by the prospect of a salary and a more established role. It didn’t take too long to realize that for BCM to transition into financial stability it would require that I make a major decision. I could avoid support raising personally if I cut our budget drastically and limited the amount of ministry and leadership we could afford. I’ve never been a fan of such a retreatist mentality, and thus, the whole organization would need to evolve into a support-based organization. With one staff person already serving at BCM and operating as a support-based missionary, even if I wanted to avoid support raising, I couldn’t avoid the inequality if I maintained my salary while I had a growing staff team of 100% support-based missionaries. Not to mention, how would I be able to relate with them and unite with them? Some friends and family have wondered if I’m nuts to lead our organization directly into support-based ministry. I’m thankful to have people who care enough to wonder about my sanity. They are godly and caring people.

Over the last three weeks I’ve been waist-deep in support raising. I’ve sent out letters, made phone calls, and had face to face conversations. I have already been astounded by how God works through a ministry like support raising. In facing a rather large number as a financial goal I’m attempting to raise, I have quickly realized that while I do need monthly financial support to feed my family and pay my bills, the real focus in support raising is building partnerships with people. As a result, I have decided to adopt a familiar phrasing for support raising for our staff team and ministry – “Ministry Partnership Development.” The term “support raising” is good enough, but the focus is more on finances, similar to the term “fund-raising.” What I have experienced so far is that this is more about the relationships than the resources. I’m not looking for financial backers so much as ministry partners. I have a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I am already thanking God that I get the opportunity to put my faith in God’s provision to the test. He is faithful.