Mission: the push and the pull back

By Fiona Mearns | 29 March 2018 | Comments (1)

 

What was it that motivated you to go into mission in the first place?  How would you describe the ‘pull’?  Was it a lightbulb moment or perhaps a slowly growing sense of calling? 

During the many training days we’ve run over the last decade we’ve pretty much heard it all and could probably distil it down into this ‘Top 10’:

  • Felt called by God to serve/use my God-given gifts to further His Kingdom
  • Wanted to invest my life in something of value/live my life in the context of eternity
  • For God’s glory
  • To share with others the goodness and greatness of God experienced myself
  • Inspired or influenced by the example of others in mission
  • Inspired by what God is doing and wanted to join in
  • Desire to further God’s kingdom/make Him known
  • Could see the need and wanted to help
  • Wanted to feel that what I do will have a lasting impact
  • A nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away

Words that crop up time and again are ‘passion’ ‘desire’ ‘inspire’ ‘eternity’ – words which are dynamic and expansive – so why then, when it comes to resourcing the vision do the words change?

Time and again we hear words like ‘fear’, ‘difficulty’ and ‘embarrassment’ being used when it comes to support-raising.  The pull of mission and calling is pushed back as the negatives stack up.

So what are the ‘Top 10’ push backs?

  • People will think I’m begging or I don’t like receiving money from people
  • I don’t have the confidence to speak to people about support-raising
  • Why would anyone want to support me?
  • I don’t like talking about money – it feels ‘grubby’
  • I don’t have the time – I’m too busy doing the work
  • I feel guilty asking if people are already struggling financially/times are hard
  • It’s embarrassing or awkward to the raise the subject of money – I’d rather talk about the work
  • We just don’t talk about money in our culture
  • Not sure who to ask/I don’t know any rich people
  • The bar seems so high, I don’t know where to start

Interesting, isn’t it?  10 pulls and 10 push backs.  You might spot your own inspirations and reservations in those lists; you might have your own variations on them but they are true for the many thousands of Christian Workers we’ve worked with over the years and as Myles Wilson of Funding the Family Business will affirm, they’re true statements across the globe in every culture where mission workers are raising support.

So how do you stop the push backs smothering the vision that God has called you to?

  1. Start by recognising them – understanding the feelings or stories you tell yourself is the first step to making a change.
  2. Take encouragement – whatever struggles you have, you are not alone. There is biblical teaching and practical advice available – more of that below.
  3. Seek advice – wise counsel of those who understand what it’s like to raise and live on support is priceless. You may already know others in this situation, but our training days offer an opportunity to hear from people who have years of experience and understanding about support-raising (around 80 years between them – which is a fair number).

 

Where to find help

Face-to-Face

Finance for Ministry devotes a session to helping you understand some of the feelings and issues around support-raising and examines those same issues in the lives of key groups and individuals in the Bible.  Support-Raising for Ministry goes further and really cuts to the heart of why support-raising should be viewed as a privilege and not a burden. Click here for latest dates.

Help at Hand

The Funding the Family Business handbook starts by looking at the biblical basis for raising and living on support and contains exercises, reflections and prayers designed to help you draw strength and understanding from that heritage. Order your copy here at the reduced price of £10 by using the code FTFB10.

Advice on specifics

How much is enough? and Culture Shock: the emotional turmoil of poverty, injustice and equality are just a couple of the issues which are tackled in a whole series of papers we’ve written tackling issues related to raising and living on support.  Free to download from the Stewardship website.

 


 

Read more like this:

Why is accountability so important?

Spare change or major investment?

Holidays for missionaries: luxury or necessity? 

 


 

Posted by Fiona Mearns

Fiona Mearns is the Resourcing Christian Workers Coordinator at Stewardship and part of a team committed to helping individuals build and maintain strong, sustainable support networks.  She loves to write whenever there’s an opportunity and is a fan of a well-used apostrophe.

comments:

Barrie Morris

April 10, 2018 1:54 PM
When we joined UFM in 1960 we were discouraged from discussing or requesting support from the platform. We maintained this principle over the 40 years working with UFM so did not have the problems you highlight today when candidates are asked to request support from the front. We enjoyed sharing the vision and the blessings as well as the challenges of mission with God's people. God provided for our needs through his people. When asked questions after a meeting about support we had the freedom to share or decline.
This does not seem to be a principle encouraged these days especially as big NGOs have massive programmes requesting money and this may have influenced many smaller societies. Mission has become almost a business so one wants to apply business principles. And this creates work for others, so it snowballs.

leave a comment:

Your comment will have to be approved by a site administrator before it is shown on the site so please be patient.