Is it really possible that our first year in France has come to a close and we’re beginning our second? …Time passes quickly and I’m a bit emotional at the thought of it. First, though, there are exciting things to tell you…
So… you have visioned, prayed, applied and been accepted to serve as an AIMer. Now what?
Now you start the check list (…the dozen or so checklists, if you’re anything like me), you know the one… the “I-have-so-many-things-to-do-and-I-don’t-know-where-to-start” checklist.
See… I knew you had it too. Continue reading
Last week & this, I kind of wanted to run away and hide under a rock. I did… sort of… but I’m coming back out.
The month of January is flying by at an incredible pace and we have a lot of “fancy footwork” to do, if we can survive the bureaucracy! 🙂 Continue reading
Over time, my own STM involvement has required that I do my share of fundraising, and I’m by no means a specialist. It takes ideas and today… idea generation often begins with a Google search.
I want to save you a step and share some of the resources that I’ve come across and particularly like:
(note: Books & blogs come from various doctrinal confessions with great best-practices in the area of fundraising.)
Both sites below have premium product or content for sale, but the links provided take you to free content (articles or blog-posts).
Find the titles listed right at their Amazon store:
As a rule… Communication is key with any relationship building exercise related to raising financial partners.
- Marketing: Whether you think in these terms or not… you must become a marketer. What are you marketing?
- Your call to missions
- The country to which your called
- The work that God is calling you to do there
- Principles of Marketing: Trends in marketing need to be reflected in the way you present your yourself and your STM opportunity. Currently for example…
- You’re building a brand…. something that becomes immediately identifiable with you and your God-appointed mission.
- You need to be present in various Social Media platforms. Go where your potential supporters are. You don’t have to be a ninja on every platform… but you should be present in several.
- Communication needs to be image-rich. The days of text-only reports, newsletters or blog posts are gone.
- Increasingly, even image-rich communication is taking a back-seat to video formatted communication. (If you can do video, great. If you can’t, don’t sweat it … at least be image-rich. I’m just a novice in this area myself.)
- Don’t kill yourself trying to learn all of these things at once… but if you can either (a) learn them bit-by-bit or (b) get help from someone who knows this stuff… your fundraising will be further ahead.
- Keep a Personal Element: Mass communication is by far, much easier and it’s unthinkable to handwrite every request-for-support letter that you intend to mail out, however keeping a bit of a personal element in there somewhere will help your fundraising efforts.
Stop to think… how much time do you spend reading the email that’s been cc’d to 1,000 people? Right, not that much. Now… what about the emails that have your name and your name only in the “to” box? Right again… there’s a much better chance you’ll read it through.
Find some way to keep it personal.
- Quality Speaks: Whatever you do in terms of marketing materials, whether online or in printed form, you need to make things look good! Pastors and church-members get many appeals for financial support, so yours must stand out.
In a series of upcoming posts, I’ll share how I applied the ideas above into our own fundraising efforts leading up to France and since we’ve been here.
BUT… if you’ve been accepted by a sending organization and already have a time frame for your STM trip, start now!
– start reading
– start preparing
– start building resources
– start pulling together a communication strategy
Time goes quickly and the more you do now, the less stress & scrambling you’ll experience at the last minute.
I encourage you…
STM involvement is an incredible opportunity. If God has called you and men have affirmed you (sending organization), you are well positioned to live an extraordinary life. If you have questions, leave them either in the comments section below or email me via the “E-Mail” button.
God bless your preparations!
I think it’s fair to say that, with the exception of taking down the Christmas Tree… this was the week that we officially “wrapped up” the holidays. Today I’m teaching at Bible School but here’s the rest of our week.
Belgium & Family
On Monday morning, we packed up the car and headed north. The first 3.5hrs got us as far as Melun where we dropped off Jacques, our “over-the-holidays Collie-dog“, after which we drove another 4hrs or so to Belgium where we spent a night with friends before surprising Liz’s parents – who did not know we were coming. Liz had prearranged it with her brother. They were well & truly surprised!
While there, the kids got to eat “mitraillettes” which they love! Why are they called mitraillettes (which means “machine guns”)? Lemme explain how they’re made & you’ll understand why:
– take 1/2 baguette
– insert sausage / meat of choice
– fill to overflowing with french fries
Voilà! …another Belgian treat.
(besides the more commonly known waffle)
On our way home from Belgium, we took a 30-min side trip to see the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge, commemorating the 60,000 lives lost during WWI. It’s one of those places that I think every Canadian should see at least once.
More often than not, Canadians are seen as understated on the world stage, but this sprawling monument of grand proportion defies that stereotype.
6,000 tons of glistening white limestone tower 27 meters above the highest point of Vimy Ridge, overlooking the Douai plain.
It was Canada’s victory on this critical battlefront that established Canada’s nationhood on the world stage… it was no longer just another British Colony.
In the Trenches
The last photo above is one of Liz and the kids in some of the trenches at Vimy Ridge. It’s a fitting image of how we see ourselves here… in the trenches & on the front lines. We see the fighting in the spiritual realm around us, we stand just as much chance at seeing shrapnel fly by as we do to take new ground.
We, just like you, are in a battle… Lord help us to maintain the ground that has been won and to follow your direction to take new ground as well.
Prayer & Fasting
The UPC of France is joining with UPCI churches all around the globe in making the month of January a month of prayer and fasting in an attempt to refocus our attention on the Lord and on the building up of his kingdom. The theme of the month is: Follow… for if we will follow the Lord Jesus, growth with result: personal growth and church growth alike.
As I mentioned last week, we need to renew and expand our financial base as we look forward to the Brochu’s return in March.
Will you support us financially in 2016? … Click here.
Also… if you’d like to receive our two special eBooklets (Top 15 in 2015 & Building Engaged Youth, Building Missionaries, through Short Term Missions), Click Here. I’ll send them to you immediately when you subscribe to our monthly newsletters.
Thanks for stopping by today. Let all that you read inform your prayers for us and for the work in France.
A Quiet New Year
Since we’d done a fair bit of visiting over the past week, we opted for a quiet New Year’s Eve as a family watching Mary Poppins (since we forgot to bring “the Sound of Music” with us).
We spent New Year’s Day preparing a nice meal that we would share with friends from the community… complete with foie gras, leek soup, duck and Italian panettone, topped off with a game of turkey foot over coffee. Lovely way to begin the new year & Liz outdid herself as the hostess with the mostest.
Renewed Vision & outreach
Tomorrow at church we’ll be kicking off the new year with a fresh call to grow in the Lord and reach out beyond our walls to those around us.
We’ve purchased calendars for each of our church members with a daily Bible verses to help each one discover some of the major themes of scripture. In addition though, we’ve also given everyone a second, gift-wrapped calendar that they can in turn give to a friend that they’ve been praying for. The goal… to bring others closer to Christ. Please keep this particular outreach in prayer this week.
Many of you know that our missionaries return to France in March – six months ahead of schedule thanks to #IAmGlobal. That being said, we’d like to continue on here for a while, working with them after their return.
Need: While on furlough, their budget covered several of our expenses which, when they return, will become our responsibility, increasing the amount of required monthly financial support.
I’ve put together the following 3-min video to outline “our Beginnings, our First Year and beyond.” It will generally reside elsewhere on the site, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at it first.
To say thanks…
In the video I mentioned a special newsletter and article as my thanks for subscribing to the newsletter; spreading & building awareness. Here’s a quick overview:
Building Engaged Youth, Building Missionaries
…through Short Term Missions
I credit my current involvement in ministry to extensive Short Term Missions (STM) involvement beginning in youth. Missions truly changed my life. In this 6-page eBooklet, I detail:
– My STM experiences & their impact
– STM expectations & outcomes
– Positive outcome influencers
– UPCI STM opportunities
If you want to see young people impact the world and be impacted by Short Term Missions, this booklet will give you an overview of what’s possible.
Top 15 in 2015
This 4-page eBooklet is simply a quick overview of the Top 15 moments of Ministry involvement and Family Life during our first eleven months as AIMers (or volunteer missionaries) here in France.
Both are .PDF documents, optimized for reading on your iPad, tablet or computer, but could be printed as well.
How can I get them?
Both of these eBooklets are my way of thanking subscribers to our Newsletter. If you’d like to receive them, simply click here to subscribe and you’ll immediately receive download links via email. (Newsletters are published bi-monthly or monthly at the most – so don’t worry, I won’t flood your inbox.)
A special appeal…
In the month of March, our expenses will more than double. Below is a minimum breakdown of what we’ll need in new monthly financial partners:
If you or your church are not currently supporting us financially, would you consider doing so this month? Click Here for instructions on partnering with us.
Thank you for stopping by today. God bless you richly and help both of us to become more and more like him. Happy New Year!