Personal support


What is Personal Support?

Many called to work in full-time paid ministry cover all or part of their salary and ministry expenses through an approach commonly referred to as raising ‘personal support.’ The missionary meets with friends, family, churches, or referrals to share their vision, ministry, and testimonies with a purpose of asking them to partner financially and prayerfully. 

Beginning The Message Trust in 1992, founder, Andy Hawthorne was tasked with raising his whole salary. Over thirty years later, The Message regularly employs hundreds of missionaries around the globe, with each person taking on personal responsibility for bringing in finance. Here’s some encouragement from Andy to inspire you in raising your own personal support…

Serving Christ on urban estates is not for the feint hearted but it’s a calling which comes with plenty of benefits. We get to embrace prayer and worship, we get to see the power of God at work in our community, and we get to partner with God in a new vision for the church and urban estates. Playing our part requires resilience, prayer, and not least finances. Yes, it’s our responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to step up our walk with Jesus. To serve and put the needs of others before our own. With that there’s also a responsibility for playing your part in seeing funds released into the kingdom. Finance for God’s work doesn’t magically appear in a mission pot, it takes faith, planning, and action. 

Here’s four things you’ll need to do if you’re going to be a successful fundraiser. 

Number one: Flex that muscle!

Faith is a muscle which requires exercise. Having faith for finances is no different. Some people are more naturally gifted than others, but with a bit of practice even the most hesitant fundraiser can grow stronger. It takes faith to reach your neighbor with the gospel. It takes faith to see a beautiful vision of your broken community. It also takes faith to believe that God will provide for the work of that vision. So, operate in faith. Silence that nagging voice of doubt, push past fear, and get a mindset of God-positivity and faith. If you can believe it, you can do it!

Number two- Pray, pray, pray!

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” There’s your starting point: ask. How can we expect to open a door to finance without first banging on the door? It’s difficult seeing finances flow into urban ministry because it’s a spiritual battle. Fear, doubt, and distraction are just some strategies to stop Christians from winning finances for the kingdom. But as you pray, you see breakthrough.  As you ask, you receive. As you seek, you find. As you knock on doors and break down barriers, you see openings. Pray a lot!

Number three- Keep on running!

It takes persistence to keep funds flowing. An initial burst of excitement can inspire you to contact friends, family, churches to partner with you. But after time, that excitement wilts away and you can find yourself giving up. Don’t give up. Can you set yourself a manageable goal of getting one additional personal supporter every month? As you keep going, refusing to quit, constantly praying, and contacting your network, you’ll see a steady stream of money flowing in. 

Number four- Put a plan together!

Without a plan it’s unlikely you’ll raise significant funds for God’s work. Yes, you can have the right mindset. Yes, you can pray. Yes, you can look up all the verses about God’s provision- but without a plan it all comes to nothing. If you don’t set aside time in your diary, mark off days on your calendar to prioritize actively looking for funds, you’ll end up filling those hours with other activities. Think about who you’re going to ask. Think about how and where you’ll ask them. Think about when’s the best time. Plan it into your workload.  Put an action plan together.

Still not convinced. 

I don’t know anybody with money.

My contact list is small.

What if they say no?

Can you hear those nagging voices again? Fear and doubt tag-teaming over faith.

Give those insecurities a good pounding by reminding yourself of these four benefits of raising funds…

  1. Prayer always accompanies personal support.

You’re not just raising money; you’re raising up prayer support too. People prepared to be hit in the pocket are also prepared to bend the knee. So much of your fruitfulness depends on your own prayer and the prayers of others. Think of your partners as ones who break open the mission field. They bring so much more than finance; they bring in fruitfulness too.

  • Finance stretches your faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. With faith anything is possible with God. Anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone is going to stretch your faith. A missionary with sharpened faith is a threat to the kingdom of darkness. A Christian who believes for finances despite a limited contact list is going to please God. Anything is possible with faith that pleases God. Whole mountains can be moved. A direct debit form per month is surely no impossibility for God.

  • Finance casts vision.

The UK church left to its own devices has a habit of becoming insular. Looking to its own needs and forgetting it’s mandate to care for the poor. As you share stories of the real needs on your estate, as you witness to the transforming power of God working through lives in your community, you become an advocate for the places the church has neglected. You help cast vision for church renewal beginning on the margins.

  • You bless the giver.

The bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive. When you sow into urban neighborhoods you automatically receive God’s blessing. What’s more- when your personal supporter sows finance into the work- they too automatically receive God’s blessing. You want to give your friends and family an opportunity to be blessed by God, right?

Of course, not everybody will be in the position to offer you support. You might get knock-backs. You may sometimes feel temporarily defeated. If, however, you’re willing to dust yourself down and ask again, you will reap a harvest.   

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