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Support Raising

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.

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The Next Stage of My Ministry

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This morning (Sunday, 3/24) at worship officially marked a new stage of my life and ministry. It was announced to the congregation from the pulpit that I will be transitioning out of Broadman this summer. There is much to say about this, and one single post will not contain it all. Expect to read more about this.

I have been chomping at the bit to talk about this openly, but these things take time and patience is a virtue. That being said, we are responding to God’s call to step out in faith to join the H2o campus church network to plant a church on the campus of The University of Akron. God has been at work far beyond what we’ve been doing ourselves, and this U Akron plant definitely has his fingerprints all over it.

We will be finishing up this semester as planned, then we will be engaging in support raising full time, mostly in our home state of North Carolina. This will be a major change for us, but one we are excited to take head on.

There are many changes ahead, but I feel deeply confident in God’s calling. The greatest blessing by far has been the overwhelming response we got from our Broadman family this morning. There were some tears and a lots of hugs. And lots of encouragement. We have a heaviness of heart in leaving Broadman but we are convinced that we must press on.

I am looking forward to what God will do in the comings days, months, and years.