A Life Changing Understanding of Support Raising
by Jordan Smith
When I first realized that God was calling me on a journey to minister overseas, my first thought was, “Oh, no, I’m going to have to raise financial support.” At that moment I had some very mixed feelings. Let’s just say I wasn’t the most excited about it. I saw my ministry overseas as the goal and support raising as the obstacle to trudge through in order to do the ministry I really felt called to do overseas. Today, however, after living on financial support for about 4 years, I think about it much differently. There were a few key things that God used in my life to change my mind about it.
I believe that the moment that changed my understanding of support raising came by attending a great support raising training where I had my mind and heart changed with new knowledge. First, I began to understand how much the Bible talks about how God wants to support those He calls to minister and sends out in every way, including financially. Most of the time He uses other individuals to provide for those needs in various ways. Second, I realized that I’m not just asking people for money but inviting them to be part of the ministry that God is leading me to. I was giving them the opportunity to take part in God’s global plan to reach the nations. These were the two biggest turning points for me. Furthermore, the training gave me great confidence to start meeting face to face with people, knowing how to share the vision for ministry, and inviting people to join me financially to be part of my ministry.
I began to see support raising as part of the ministry God was calling me to and no longer as an obstacle I had to endure. The more people I met with, the more opportunities I had to talk about the need for people to hear the gospel in the country where I was going. It opened up people’s minds to the need around the world and ministered to them at the same time. I began to find joy in the support raising process and thanked God for each person that He brought across my path to share my ministry with. God was providing a good solid financial partnership team around me that made it possible to go minister to lost people. This was a support team for me that would not only be there for financial support, but also for prayer and emotional support.
Please don’t think that support raising is always easy! I want to make sure you understand that. Please understand that the enemy’s opposition to you and your ministry doesn’t start when you get overseas. It starts when you begin support raising, inviting people to join your support team. I had so many ups and downs during the months of support raising. I had close friends that I was sure would support me but, to this day, have never financially supported me. I had people that I knew well who discouraged me because they didn’t think I was going to the most strategic country for missions. I had several meetings over several weeks where everyone’s answers to me were “no,” and I didn’t gain any financial support. The enemy wants to discourage you, distract you, and frustrate you, even before you begin your full-time ministry. The spiritual warfare begins as soon as you pick up the phone for the first time to call someone to setup a support meeting.
Support raising is definitely a faith growing experience through both the ups and downs. If I had never started raising support, I would have never grown in my faith like I have over the past 4 years. I learned more about perseverance, because raising support takes a lot of work. I also grew in my faith as I trusted God to provide a support team that would make it possible for me to move overseas and be an ambassador for Christ. I learned that the relationship between me and my supporters is a two-way ministry. I get to extend Christ’s love, pray for, and minister to each of my supporters, and they do the same for me. It’s a continuous ministry partnership that God orchestrates to allow you to share the gospel of salvation to the world. It all starts with raising financial support. The ups, the downs, and the hard work of support raising. It’s all worth it to see more people come to faith in Jesus.
Looking back at where I’ve come from on my support raising journey so far, I have learned a few important things:
- The Bible is full of examples of how God abundantly provided for the people that He called to do the work He wanted to them to do. Most of the time He uses others around us to provide.
- You are not trying to get money from people or being pushy. You are extending an invitation to be part of the ministry God has called you to.
- You are ministering to people even as you are raising financial support. You are helping them learn more about the needs around the world and helping them understand how they can be involved.
- The enemy wants to discourage, distract, and frustrate you during your support raising.
There is no doubt that there will be ups and downs as you raise support, but its faith growing, and worth the hard work and perseverance to see more people come to faith in Jesus.
Jordan Smith graduated from John Brown University with a B.S. in Broadcasting and Cross-Cultural Studies. He served on staff as missions coordinator for 5 years at Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers, AR before joining United World Mission. After raising his support, he served on a church planting team in Prague, Czech Republic for 2 years before returning to the U.S. to serve as a mobilizer with UWM, coaching new missionaries in the support raising process before they leave for countries around the world. He and his wife, Maaika, currently live in Arizona, working with refugee families with the ministry GoTEN.