Welcome to day 5 of my 30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
You can’t talk about short-term missions involvement without talking about fundraising… the two go hand in hand – like PB & J*. The harshest critics of STM look negatively on it because of what they consider to be a poor return on investment. Others consider the experience and impact worth every penny.
Regardless of where you stand…
Missions involvement requires finances!
This photo was taken during a short visit back home (New Brunswick, Canada) in 2016. Driving along the old road from Apohaqui to Sussex, you’ll come upon the well-known Riverbank Cemetery. On that particular day, the little wooden church atop the hill was open, so I went in and found this plateful of pennies sitting on the floor. Apparently the offering hasn’t been taken up in a while.
Ahhh… pennies! During most of my life, they were the smallest denomination coin still in circulation, but in Canada… no more. There was a time when missions were funded by Sunday School penny drives where children marched to the front to deposit their coppers and hope that maybe this week… the boys would win.
These days you need more than pennies to fund your short-term missions trip. Depending on the length and location of your trip, your assigned budget will vary. But regardless… you’ll have one.
I’ve heard authors say – and I like this idea – you’re not so much raising money as you’re raising supporters or ministry partners. While it may sound like I’m splitting hairs, there is a difference.
“Raise money and you have a one-time transaction.
Raise partners who believe in your vision and you have a foundation for ministry.”
If you’re to get more than pennies to help cover your budget you have to give prospective supporters something they can buy into – a vision… a dream… God’s dream for your involvement in the country of your calling; not something too grandiose, rather simply tell them what God has talked to you about.
They need to feel, hear and see your passion if you want to convince them that what you’ll be doing is more than simply Christian group tourism (an accusation that critics of short-term missions often brandish).
If you’re budget is large enough to require some sort of deputation – or travel, don’t regret that too much. I know some people cringe at the idea of deputation, but you’ve got to see it as part of your overall ministry. You might be surprised at how God uses you and/or what God teaches you during any fundraising related travel… it can be a very beneficial time if you make a point to build relationships along the way.
Let me suggest a few resources that may help you.
- The God Ask, Steve Shadrach (2013) … Book
- www.JennFortner.com – Jenn is a fundraising coach for Assembly of God (Eurasia) missionaries. She has some great stuff.
- PeopleRaising.com/people-raising & SupportRaisingSolutions.org/blog – While both of these promote their paid content, there is a fair amount of information freely available on their blogs as well.
- In my own book Short-Term Missions Success: Defining Moments Toward Long-Term Growth, I dedicate all of chapter 5 to the question of sharing your vision, people raising & fundraising (it’s available in paperback and Kindle formats).
Fundraising is a necessary part of missions travel, but it doesn’t need to be a “necessary evil”. If the thought intimidates you… check out the resources I mentioned, talk to any missionary that might be on deputation in your area and talk to your pastor or any former STMers you may know as well.
God bless you as you undertake to fund the dream of Short-Term Missions involvement.
* PB & J = peanut butter & jam 🙂