May I be blunt for a moment? I really dislike fundraising. Fundraising is one of my least favorite parts of mission work, right up there with leaving the people you love and jet lag. Asking people for money feels dirty. We all know of the various televangelists who sell their false gospels to the masses, preying on generosity to finance their lavish lifestyle. Although the work we are planning in Japan is far different from that and our lifestyle could hardly be considered lavish, asking for money to do the work makes it feel much the same. Even aside from the unfortunate televangelist connection, one often needs to be a salesman in order to find partners in mission work. I don’t know anyone who really likes salesmen, and especially when connected to the work of the gospel, it makes it all the less appealing.
Be that as it may, fundraising is an essential part of mission work, at least within autonomous groups like the Churches of Christ. Since we don’t have missions societies and the like, the “dirty work” of raising support for the mission is left up to the individuals seeking to do it.
As much as I dislike it, it’s not all so dreary as the picture I have painted. The process of raising funds is undesirable – absolutely – but I have come to see some unique blessings which arise out of the ensuing partnership. I’d like to share a few of those here.
1: The Opportunity To Bless
Scripture is clear that partnership in the work of the gospel is a mutual blessing to both parties (Philippians 4:17). For the worker, they receive the gift that allows them to do the work with fewer distractions. But for the one giving the gift, God credits the fruit of the work to their account. For Paul, that meant their gift served as motivation for him to work all the more, so that his work could be credited to those partnered with him. Financial partnership in Kingdom work isn’t simply a transaction of funds; the partner is involved in the work in an intimate way before the Father.
Typically, those who go through the difficulty of moving to a foreign field for mission work already have a desire in their heart for the work. There’s a level of self-motivation involved. Nevertheless, there can be distractions, and it can be easy to blow off course from time to time. Partnership helps address this. When people at home are sacrificing to make your work possible, it reminds you to work hard for their sake. It adds an extra layer of motivation. Although these people aren’t looking to hold that over your head – they trust you, or they wouldn’t have partnered to begin with! – you appreciate what they have sacrificed for the sake of the work you are doing. That gratitude can help keep you focused when other less tangible motivations seem dull.
3: Seeing Investment In The Work
When people partner with you your work, they begin to care about the work itself. Of course, they care about it enough to partner to begin with! But as they see the fruit of the work increase over time and hear the stories from the field, a deeper connection forms. What first seems distant comes closer to home. The initial investment may be primarily financial, but many partners will find themselves praying for your family, for the work, and for specific individuals with whom you are engaging. Some will even come to visit you on the field, even participating in the work where they can. Seeing that personal investment is a blessing that occurs only through partnership.
These are just three of the ways in which partnership becomes a blessing. Again, the act of raising funds is hardly enjoyable. It can be frustrating and stressful, not to mention disheartening at times. It’s humbling to ask people for money, and even more humbling to realize you depend upon their generosity for your livelihood. You also know you can lose support at any time, either because of a change of heart or a change of circumstances. Yet, with all the stresses of the process, there are so many blessings that come along with partnership. As we continue to raise support, we try to keep these blessings in mind, and let the vision of the fruit to come maintain our focus moving forward.
Would you like to join in the blessings of partnership with us? Find out more by clicking here.