When people think about support-raising for a mission trip, they often think of asking people for money, having a car wash, or hosting a fundraising dinner. While that may work for a short-term trip, in Encompass’s 120+ years of sending long-term missionaries, we’ve found an approach that works even better: partnership. It’s not just about asking people for money—it’s about inviting investors to participate in ministry alongside you to make a bigger impact than either of you could have separately. That’s why we don’t even call it “support raising”—we call it Ministry Partner Development (MPD).
MPD is a vast topic, which is why we have each of our long-term missionaries complete a 12-week program entirely dedicated to it. The program even includes a coach so each participant can customize MPD and make it their own. While this article isn’t meant to replace MPD training, here’s a basic overview of our MPD method:
- Have the Right Mindset: Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive, so you shouldn’t be scared to ask people for their partnership. You are offering people a chance to trust God and join Him in His eternal work. You shouldn’t view yourself as a desperate beggar shamefully asking people for whatever you can get—you are a spiritual prospector filled with excitement and discovery as you seek investors to join you in reaping lasting rewards.
- Pray: As Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work—prayer IS the greater work.” Finances may get you to the field, but prayer is what empowers you to produce fruit on the field. Ask God to give you divine opportunities with the people He has to be part of your team.
- Connect: Make a list of everyone you know and set up face-to-face meetings with each of them to share your vision. When you meet, describe the kind of ministry you’ll do and why it’s so important. Show photos of times you’ve ministered to others in the past, and share testimonies of how you’ve seen God transform people’s lives. Then invite them to partner with you in what God is doing and ask if they’d commit to praying, giving a one-time gift, and/or giving a monthly recurring gift. If they need time to think about it, tell them you’ll follow up with them in one week. Offer to add them to your email list so they can follow your journey, and ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in partnering with you.
- Follow up: After you meet with each person, make sure to follow up with them about a week later and ask if God might be leading them to partner with you.
- Thank: Send an email or card to people thanking them for their interest and for setting aside the time to meet with you. Even if they don’t give right now, this expresses that you value the relationship regardless of their financial involvement. It’s also good to find ways to give back to your partners by praying for them, messaging them on their birthdays, and sending them souvenirs from the field. These kinds of things remind them that you truly view them as partners.
Developing your partnership team might not be an easy process, but it’s actually some of the best training for being a missionary. Not only does it teach you how to develop relationships with all kinds of people, but it also shows you how to rely on God’s truth and grace. When we obey God’s call, He shows up in ways we never could have imagined.
If you want to learn more about doing missions with Encompass, contact one of our mobilizers at email@example.com.