You made that life-changing decision to become a missionary, and you are excited about the next step of your journey! You know that to serve on the mission field you will need support from others to allow you to do what God has called you to do. Your next step is support raising. I want to tell you that God will greatly use this time in your life, and I am excited for you! However, at the same time, I would like to give you a few thoughts on some practical tools you will need to start and finish this time of support raising. I am thankful for some mentors and friends who gave me this advice before starting to raise support, and I would like to share a few things that are indispensable to have before you begin raising support to get to your mission field.
Prayer cards are THE most important tool while raising support. Your prayer card will allow people to remember who you are and to pray for you. It will enable them to remember you a year after meeting you and possibly remind them to give towards your ministry. However, I have sadly met missionaries that didn’t have prayer cards with them, and I wanted to tell them, “A missionary raising support without prayer cards is like a painter painting without a brush.” It is just a bad idea. Many missionaries will have prayer cards, but they will try to spend the least amount on design and quality. This is a big mistake. Do not use an app on your phone to put your family’s name over a picture you took a few months ago. Don’t get your brother-in-law who has used photoshop a few times to design your prayer cards. You need someone who will do a professional job and make a top-notch prayer card. Remember, this is what hundreds, if not thousands, of people will remember you by. A great company that can help you create a professional design for prayer cards is Commission Creative. You can find a great selection of Missionary Prayer Cards they offer here.
Your information packet or case document will allow you to put into words your mission and why someone should consider supporting you. It will also give that person some background information about you and your family. It is a document that most pastors or people will read before meeting with you or consider supporting you. A good information packet should have three key things:
1) Who you are and your background
- Your testimony
- Your calling to the mission field
- Some information about your family
2) The where and why
- Where you are going
- Why you are going there
- Your goals and objectives
3) How someone can get involved in your ministry
- Other ways they can get involved
It would be best to put recommendations from your pastor, director, etc., in this document. This document should be professionally designed as well, and if possible, it should use the same colors and design style as your prayer cards so that everything works together. An excellent option is the Case Document from Commission Creative.
Perhaps you told a pastor friend that you are starting to raise support for the mission field, and he immediately says, “That is wonderful! Do you want to come by and present your ministry next month at my church?” You are excited, but at the same time, you realize that you need more than just prayer cards to engage the people at his church. Something that helps with this is having a display that you can put up at the church to help the people get to know you better and remember who you are. There are many different things that you can do with your display, but I would like to give you a few recommendations to make your presentation memorable and professional.
1) You need a banner or display with your family’s picture and ministry info.
Like the information packet, it would match and have the same design as your prayer cards in the best-case scenario. But in any case, it should be a professional design and help the people remember your name and ministry. Check out the different size and budget options for displays from Commission Creative.
2) Objects and interesting things from your country or ministry are great things to have on your table and with your display
We had several toys from Ecuador on the table, and many kids enjoyed playing with them and brought their parents over to show them. We also bought a big bag of candy from Ecuador and put out some in a bowl on the display table. The missionary display with candy is always the favorite! We also put out books about missions and the country on the display table. A book with pictures from Ecuador helped people understand more about the country. We also had a few books about Jim Elliot on the table, and many times after talking with a teenager who was interested in missions, I would give them that book to help them learn more about missions and Ecuador.
3) Prayer cards and a sign-up sheet for your email updates are a must
Every person you speak with should receive a prayer card, and if they seem interested in learning more about your ministry and following along with your updates, you can offer them to sign up for your email updates on your sign-up sheet. You can also use an iPad or tablet if you have one of those to use on your display table.
One thing that we did not have while we were raising support was a table throw for our display table, and I regret not having one because sometimes we would be given a nice table throw to use for our table, and sometimes we wouldn’t, and that would affect the look of our display table. I recommend always bringing some sort of table cloth with you for your display. You can get a beautiful, professionally designed Table Throw that will make your display table stand out.
I am sure that God will use this time of support raising in your life, and these three things will be great tools to help you accomplish your goal of raising support and getting to the mission field quickly.
Written by Kason Bloom