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The Ministry of Asking

When I was in my teens and twenties, I could easily have been persuaded to become a career missionary except for one thing: There’s no way I was going to ask other people for financial support. If I was being honest I probably would have said, “God, I’ll do anything you want except ask people for money.”

As my life journey continued, I thought maybe God was prospering my career so that one day I could afford to send myself into ministry without burdening others. But even as my bank account grew, God was transforming my thinking. I began to see fundraising not as something we do so that we can do ministry, but as an important part of the ministry God intends for us to embrace.

After all, God has no shortage of resources and could easily fund every well-intended ministry without having to involve other people. But He rarely does that. Why?

Here are some of the reasons why I’ve decided that I need to ask others to financially participate in my missions activities even if I can just write checks and pay for them myself:

1. I need to know that others believe in what I’m doing. If Godly people who know me are not supportive, I should question whether this is really something I should be doing.

2. Asking for money is humbling. There is no more appropriate way to enter into a ministry opportunity than from a humble posture. The more money I have, the more humbling it is to ask, and the more I need to be humbled — especially as I engage with those who have so much less.

3. God wants to use me in the lives of those who support me. It may be helping them learn the joy of giving; learning to discern when to say “yes” and when to say “no”; or possibly something totally unrelated to money that God gives me the opportunity to speak into.

4. It allows them to fulfill their calling. Not everyone is called to go, but those who aren’t may still be called to give or pray for those who do go. I don’t want to deny them the opportunity to participate in God’s work according to their ability.

5. They get connected to other aspects of God’s work. You may be connecting them to a ministry they’ll become part of for a long time. Their eyes may be opened to the breadth of God’s love and work around the world.  That ultimately expands their view of God himself.

6. Their support may exceed your needs. That excess provides resources to the ministry that they wouldn’t have if I wrote a check just covering my own portion. Donors to each of my disaster relief trips have provided extra money to help the survivors.

If those are good reasons to raise support, why would I just pay for it myself?  Pride.

Written by Encompass Board Member Alan Weisenberger on Christ in My Coffee