(Written a week ago, at a TEAM orientation)
Dear friends, family, and people who happened to find this blog after Googling the word “sorry,”
I have a formal apology to make.
I am very sorry for the way that I clogged your email inboxes, Facebook, and Twitter feeds with my desperate pleas for mission funds in the past. I’m currently in a mission training course, which is preparing me to move overseas long-term (5 years or more). The subject we have been discussing, since 8:30am this morning, has been stewardship. As speakers have addressed the methodologies we should NOT be using to raise funds, I have found myself guilty. I am particularly guilty of 2 tactics/mistakes.
The first tactic that I am guilty of is “begging.” I have always hated the concept. In fact, when the word appeared on the PowerPoint today, I thought: “I’m not guilty of that one.” Yet, the idea was unpacked (wink wink BFA) further. As we discussed the concept, most people agreed that desperation is behind begging. The word “desperation” instantly stabbed me. I have identified with that sentiment many times in the last 3 years.
I panicked when the school year approached and the emails, filled with questions about my arrival, started to appear each year. I was never able to raise the funds to work at BFA early in the summer. I always became desperate at the end of the summer. My lips spoke about trusting in the Lord, but my heart and mind were worried. I threw obnoxious charts online, updated my Facebook status constantly, and spammed everybody’s mailbox. I’m sorry.
The second thing I am guilty of is not a tactic, but an attitude rather. One of the examples, given as a BAD attitude to have about raising support funds, was the perspective that raising funds is a necessary evil for doing “real” ministry. As soon as this perspective was mentioned, my hand shot up in the air. I yelled: “guilty!” (thinking I was confessing something that other people would agree with). I’ve hated that part of my journey. I figured that everybody else would agree that raising funds is terrible. The worst. But they didn’t.
I was the only one who admitted to hating fundraising. Why? Because that attitude was terrible!!! No wonder the process was so hard for me. I think I went about it the wrong way. Please don’t hear me saying “I wasn’t a good salesman.” That’s not what this is about. I just had the wrong perspective about raising funds. I repeated to myself “If God wants me to do this, He will provide.” My attitude didn’t reflect that truth though.
(In case you wondering… Yes, it was awkward that I yelled the word “guilty,” without so much as a head nod from the other 30 missionaries.)
Honestly, I’m going to have to raise a lot more money to move back to Germany. I am happy to say that I am truly at peace about it though. The task is so (seemingly) impossible that I know I can do nothing on my own. This has to be from the Lord. He is the one will provide. It’s up to Him to move the hearts of others. I’m not desperate. In fact, I found out that I have no deadline. I have a projected date that I will be working towards, but funds won’t disappear from my account if I don’t achieve my goals by a certain date. That doesn’t mean that I intend to be lazy. It means that I feel at peace about His timing.
I have also learned how support raising is more about relationships and ministering to the people on my support team than about what they give me. I’m excited to tell others about the vision God has given me for Europe! I’m almost MORE excited about the chance to re-connect with so many people. Relationships are important to me and I always feel like I’m doing a poor job of keeping up with everybody. Meeting with others, to talk about what I’m leaving the country to do, is a good chance to hear about what’s going on in all of their (your) lives. That sounds like another “tactic,” I know. It really isn’t though. As soon as my coaches started talking about how building relationships and caring for others was more important in the process than asking for money, I felt a huge relief and a true sense of joy. I love that! That’s what I want to do! I want to care for my friends and hear about their lives. If they hear about mine and feel led to contribute financially, great! If not, that’s fine. It’s ok. God will accomplish His plan. He desires my obedience as a means to accomplish it, but He is the one who provides.
Thanks for your time and for your forgiveness. I’m assuming the forgiveness. Will you forgive me? I hope so.