Going on a Summer Mission sounds exciting – until we start talking about costs. But you will be on a missions trip—which means that we need to have a different (God-based) perspective about the 'money thing'. First, let's look at three important TRUTHS, and then we'll explore some MYTHS and then get PRACTICAL.
"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass," says I Thessalonians 5:24. God sends people into the world (Matthew 9:37-38, Romans 10:14-15) to make a significant change in the world (Matthew 9: 36; Romans 3:23, 6:23, Matthew 11:28-30, John 3:19b , John 11:25-26). Not only does God call you to go, but He provides for you because His resources are infinite (Psalm 50:10-12) and He can abundantly provide (Ephesians 3:20). It's part of God's character to provide for your needs - especially financial and especially when on his mission (Philippians 4:19, Genesis 22:14).
2 Corinthians 5:20 says, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, 'Be reconciled to God.'" You don't just represent yourself, but rather God, His Gospel and all of God's people to whomever you reach.
God's People want to invest in Missions. Seriously! People work hard for 40-60 hours per week. They use a lot of that money to provide for their family, but they want their money to affect the world too! So God's people are looking for ways to support God's work in this world. In fact, He commands that His people give to His mission like the church, ministers and missionaries—to help spread the Gospel and help those in need. God loves working through His people to provide for His causes.
Yes, you will be doing something amazing and cool. But it's not a vacation. The person mostly benefiting from this trip won't be yourself—but those who receive the Gospel. In that sense, going on a Summer Mission trip is completely unlike the car washes, fund-raisers, and parents-paying trip that you might have done when you were younger. Instead, this is God sending a missionary—you!
Driving to campus last week, I saw a new billboard next to the McDonald's billboard. Instead of saying "Invest in a Big Mac and you'll be happy", it said "Invest in a Missionary and you'll change the world". Is McDonald's begging for money when they offer to give you food in return? Yet when we give God's people a chance to put their hard-earned finances into something more amazing than French Fries (i.e. the Gospel), some call it "begging for money"? No! You are inviting others to participate in the greatest cause of all time! And if they don't want to give, someone else will jump at that opportunity.
Okay, admittedly, this sounds ridiculous. But let's talk about the reality: God already has your team of prayer and financial supporters lined up for you! Yes, now... at this point, months before you even pack your suitcase... God already knows who is going to give! It's your job to then pray and go find those people and be amazed at His provision when you do find them.
If we're talking just about financial support, then yes—you probably could find the finances yourself. But who's going to pray for you? Who's going to be rooting for you? Who's going to be excited to hear about what you did when you return—knowing they invested in something great? Your bank account (or your parent's bank account) cannot pray for you when you're in the middle of the Gospel conversation. Only people can do that—people who are on your "prayer and financial support team".
Actually, Cru Staff don't often using the phrase "support raising". We actually call it "Ministry Partner Development" (or "MPD", for short). Why? Because we want them to truly partner with us, like Paul said in Philippians 1:3-5, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." In addition to partnering with our ministry, we want to develop our relationship with them as well and experience mutual encouragement through ministry updates and prayer requests.
Okay, let's take a step back. You are not the first person ever to have raised support to go on a Summer Mission with Cru. Don't you think we've developed some way of coaching you on how to raise your support? We've come up with some time-tested principles and helps. No matter whether you have a well-connected network of believers or if you are young in the faith who doesn't know any believing adults with a job, we can help you! Each Summer Missions with Cru has an "Operations Director" who will guide you on your support-raising trail - and you might also have some local Cru staff who can help too... ask them for guidance. Once you're accepted, you'll get access to an online tool specially created for you to raise support and teach you how to communicate what you will be doing.
But the support doesn't raise itself. It will take some time and energy. Sure, about 3% of applicants don't raise their support - and the common denominator in almost all of them is that they didn't do much of anything to make the support happen. Going on a Summer Mission is something worthwhile - and you'll need to put some effort into it.
Faith is trusting God that He will provide. This is commonly expressed through prayer. Perhaps you'd like to even pray right now as you think about going on a Summer Mission with Cru,
"Lord, I thank you that You are a God who sends and a God who provides. As I consider being an Ambassador for you this summer, I pray that I would have a right and Biblical attitude about raising support - that it's You providing through Your people for Your mission. Help me overcome any fears in raising my prayer and financial support team so that I can fulfill your calling in my life to follow You wherever you want me to go with Your Gospel. Amen."
Ellis Goldstein: Biblical perspective on raising support
Ellis is the Director of Ministry Partnership Development (MPD) for our US Staff serving worldwide. He and his team help train and equip our staff to successfully build partnerships with others who desire to impact eternity by giving and praying. It is important and encouraging to know what God has to say about MPD, so listen in as Ellis shares about this from scripture.
Dave Dickens: Practical tips on how to raise support successfully
Dave oversees MPD for our US Campus Ministry staff. Listen in as Dave shares some things you will want to keep in mind as you begin to raise up partners for your summer.
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