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Building a Support Team

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Understand These Basics of Raising Support

  1. Recognize the support-raising process as a ministry rather than a fund-raiser.
  2. The people who have a part in supporting you in this missions experience are not spending money, they are investing it. Their investment is in your life and in reaching the lost, which is certainly a worthwhile investment. This also should motivate us to do all we can in allowing God to shape us through this experience.
  3. Your contact with people can be a real educational opportunity for missions.
  4. Support-raising, in its truest form, involves relationships. Seek to establish mutual involvement, interest, and prayer rather than merely receiving money.
  5. Not everyone is available or suited to cross-cultural ministry. Your going and their sending is an exchange of gifts.
  6. Read "Are Missionaries Beggars?"

Develop a Biblical Perspective

The idea of missionaries depending upon the Lord and fellow believers for their support is a Biblical one. It is important that we have a proper perspective of stewardship. All of a believer's possessions are a "loan" from God. We have a responsibility to use what He has given to us for His glory. (Read I Chronicles 29:14-17.)

When Jesus sent His disciples out, He gave them some instructions. (Read Matthew 10:9-10.) Paul also talked about missionaries receiving support from those to whom they ministered. (Read Galatians 6:6.)

(Note: Some participants may choose to use their own financial resources instead of raising support. We encourage everyone to read through this section for information related to prayer support, your church’s involvement, etc. Keep in mind a benefit of raising some financial support is simply that people pray more faithfully if their wallet is involved.)

Read the following examples in Scripture of how people in the Bible raised support and briefly describe what they did: Numbers 18; Exodus 25:1-9; Exodus 35:5-9; I Chronicles 29:5, 14-17; Acts 11:27-30; I Corinthians 16:1-4; Romans 10:14,15; Romans 15:25-29; Philippians 4:14-18; III John 5-8

Pray

The place to start in preparing for your short-term ministry is in your relationship with God. One way to do that is through prayer. Recommit yourself to God right now. Ask Him to help you to be willing - willing for ANYTHING, ANY TIME, ANY PLACE, ANY WAY. That's total surrender. God doesn't just want you to be willing to be a short-term missionary.

He wants you to be willing for anything. Commit yourself to pray daily for yourself and your ministry from now until one month after you return home. Realize also that you will be joining the ranks of those who are battling on the front lines. They are the troops who are liberating prisoners of war from the enemy. Be prepared for battle. Prayer and praise are your best defense. Here are a few things you can pray for.

Pray that:

  1. You will grow to know and love God more through this experience.
  2. You will be obedient to Christ and His Word in living a life of love, service and joyful submission, especially during hard and confusing times living in a cross-cultural situation.
  3. God will be able to minister to others through you. Pray that you will be bold in sharing His love for others in word and deed.
  4. Your love for others on your team and other missionaries will be a witness to the fact that Christ truly is the Son of God.
  5. You will stand firm and put on the full armor of God in the midst of the battle.
  6. Pray for God's direction in making your list of supporters.
  7. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide people as they consider giving.

Look for Ways You Can Contribute

  1. Evaluate your budget and begin to plan ways of allowing for your personal contribution.
  2. Apply family vacation money towards a family mission experience.
  3. Specify that holiday and birthday gifts be monetary gifts, applied to your mission.
  4. Contribute regularly toward your mission project.
  5. Place tax refunds, monetary gifts, etc. into savings.
  6. Sell "less than necessary" items for cash. (i.e. Have a garage sale!)
  7. Use your creativity and wisdom!

Put Together a Prayer Support Team

  1. Develop a list of people who would commit to praying for you and enlist their prayer support.
  2. Use a Prayer Partner form and record the names and addresses of your prayer partners on this form.
  3. Ask your prayer partners to make the following commitment:
    • to immediately begin praying for you regularly
    • to pray for you every day of your mission experience
  4. You will be responsible for communicating your prayer requests to your prayer partners. You should give them specific needs that you would like them to pray about. Some suggestions are given in the document "What Do Missionaries Really Need?" Use these and add your own personal requests.
  5. You will want to keep in touch with your prayer partners throughout your preparation and missions project. We recommend that you write a card or share verbally with each one at least once during your preparation and once after your return.
  6. We encourage you to meet regularly with two or three of your prayer partners during your preparation time. Pray together about your struggles and your joys as you prepare for this important mission. Obviously, these people will be people who live in your area and should be people you can share openly with. You will find that sharing this time in prayer will deepen your relationship and be a real encouragement to you.
  7. Consider sending the article, "What Do Missionaries Really Need?" and the cartoon titled "Why I Need Your Prayers" to your prayer support team.

Assemble a Financial Support Team

  1. Pray for God's guidance as you begin to make a list of potential financial supporters.
  2. Write down the names of people you think might be open to supporting you. (See "Who Do You Know")
  3. Write a letter to each of these people explaining what you plan on doing and include a response form and an envelope addressed to International Messengers. Be sure your FIRST and LAST NAME appear on the response form. Encourage them to send support by a specific date. (For an example of a support letter download this sample).
  4. Make sure people make their checks out to International Messengers and designate the gift to your account on the support response form or on a separate piece of paper. DO NOT have supporters write your name on the check.
  5. Each person who gives toward your support will receive a receipt from International Messengers.
  6. If you have made phone calls or personal contacts to raise support, you may wish to call some of the people back a second time if you don't hear from them. Ask them if they were able to consider supporting you and what they have decided. Be sure to thank them, whatever their response is. Make certain you don't make people feel uncomfortable about saying no.
  7. Send each person who sends you support a note thanking them for their support.
  8. Send, or have supporters send, your support check along with the response forms according to the following schedule. 
    • $1000 is requested prior to purchasing airline tickets 
    • 50% is due 60 days prior to departure 
    • 80% is due three weeks prior to departure
    • 100% is due prior to departure
  9. If you raise more funds than are required for the project, you may indicate in writing (letter, fax, or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) how you would like those funds to be dispersed within IM. You may request to have funds: 
    • transferred to the ministry of another team member(s) 
    • transferred to a special project(s) 
    • transferred to an IM missionary’s ministry
    • held in your account for a year

Getting Your Church Involved

  1. You should call your pastor and set up an appointment with him as soon as possible.
    • When you make this appointment, or during the appointment, give a copy of "How to Make the Most of Short-Term Missions" to your pastor.
    • In this appointment you should explain your plans for involvement with International Messengers.
    • Tell him what the ministry involves, what you will be doing, and why you want to be a part of this ministry.
    • Tell him what your support needs are and that you would like to have an opportunity to share this need with the missions committee of the church and/or the congregation.
    • Ask him how you should go about making the arrangements for this meeting.
    • You can also ask the pastor if and when you could share your plans in a church service. Usually 5 to 10 minutes is sufficient time.
  2. When you meet with the missions committee, you should dress neatly and cover the following details:
    • International Messengers information
    • Where you are going
    • What you will be doing
    • Why you want to be involved
    • How you will be raising your support and when the support is needed
    • Tell them you would appreciate it if the church would consider having a part in your support through prayer and finances
    • Thank them for the opportunity to share your need with them
  3. Two or three weeks after the meeting, if you have not heard anything, call either the pastor or the missions committee chairman. Ask them if there has been any decision made on support for you. If so, instruct them on how they should give the support.
  4. Be sure to publicly thank the church for their support.