Dear Summer Missions Student,
You are embarking on an incredible adventure! You have accepted the challenge of helping reach the world for Christ by deciding to join other students on a Cru Summer Mission trip. This could very well be one of the most exciting summers of your life!
My name is Mark Gauthier and I serve as the National Director for the U.S. Campus Ministry of Cru. Church history is filled with accounts of students taking the Gospel to domestic and foreign fields. You are now taking up the baton to run with passion in making a difference in our world by being Christ’s ambassador. The Lord will bless you through your summer project experience and you will be a blessing to others.
I know it was that way for me when I participated on my first mission outreach at the Newport Beach Summer Project. This project was my first opportunity to trust God to provide the necessary funding for my participation. Seeing God provide then became the foundation for trusting him for many years as it relates to the financial provision for the ministry to which I’ve been called.
As “Christ’s ambassador” (2 Corinthians 5:20) you are in a unique position to invite others to partner financially in His cause. As you offer individuals the chance to underwrite your Summer Project expenses, you will be giving them the unparalleled opportunity of investing in eternity (Matthew 6:19-21).
King David gave Israel such an opportunity when he challenged the people to underwrite the cost of building a temple for the Lord.
Because David knew that all the world’s wealth ultimately belonged to God, he boldly challenged others to channel their resources toward building a physical testimony to the Lord, a temple. As you raise funds for your Summer Mission trip, you will be allowing God to channel the resources of His people toward building a human testimony, a witness for Christ.
The following strategy for raising support can be summarized in four words:
As you place your trust in God and carefully implement each of these four steps, you will see success! I can't even describe how excited I am for you, knowing that your summer will be life-changing. May the Lord bless and keep you as you trust him for things way outside your comfort zone.
Warmly in Christ,
National Director U.S. Campus Ministry, Cru
STEP ONE: NAMESTORM
First, stop and take a moment to pray.
Then, start by developing an initial list of potential ministry partners. In namestorming there is just one rule – anything goes. No name should be disqualified. Don’t decide for an individual whether or not he or she is interested. If you limit yourself to those you feel will or can give, you may prematurely disqualify those whom God wants to become ministry partners. Later you will need to prioritize whom to contact first, but for now, don’t disqualify anyone.
You may be thinking you could never generate more than a handful of names, but research has shown the average individual has a personal network of at least 400 friends and acquaintances. So, you should be able to develop a list of at least 100 potential ministry partners.
For instance, you’ve probably had at least a dozen teachers alone. At the church you regularly attend you probably know Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, and other friends who attend church. If you’ve ever had a toothache or a cavity, you know a dentist. As you think about your hometown’s business district, no doubt the cleaners, the bakery, the hardware store, and numerous other sources of contacts come to mind.
As you namestorm, associate various professions, businesses, your church, and places, with any friends and acquaintances they bring to mind. To aid you, we have provided categories to prompt your thinking. This will take time – perhaps two hours or more so get the brain juices flowing. Push yourself...see if you can come up with 200 names!
Having written out your list you want to gather the addresses of the people you’ve named. creating a master name and address list.
STEP TWO: WRITE A SUPPORT LETTER
From your list of names, write first to those you feel most likely to give.
The ideal is a handwriten personal letter that presents your needs. While it would be best to send a handwritten note to each contact, it’s not always feasible if you come up with a list of 100 names. Since most people have access to a computer, you can write the same letter to each person and personalize the salutation. Sending people photocopied letters would not be the best, try to make the letters personal.
Here is a basic format you can use to compose your letter . . .
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones,
I want to bring you up to date on what is happening in my life. I am in my sophomore year at Purdue University. College has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned much, made great friends and have grown in my Christian faith.
Besides the pressure here to make good grades, there is also the challenge of deciding what great activities to be involved in on campus. Many of these activities provide a ready escape from the realities of a needy world, while others provide opportunities to make a difference in the world. Through my desire for the latter, I have been involved with a Christian ministry called Cru.
Cru (www.cru.org) is a ministry that has been caring for college students since 1951. The group is very active here at Purdue and on another 3,500 campuses in the U.S. and overseas. The Lord has used this ministry to help me grow in my faith and to give me a burden to reach people for Christ.
This summer, I have an unbelievable opportunity to take part in a summer mission trip sponsored by Cru. I will be going with approximately 60 other students to Lake Tahoe. A summer spent on a project like this can be invaluable. Few other environments can top this in developing spiritual leadership and ministry skills to equip me and others for campus outreach and ministry after college.
There will be great opportunities to share my faith as vacationers and college students flood the area this summer. Our group will be involved with outreaches on the beach, on area campuses and in the community. At the same time I will be in a small group Bible study and discipleship ministry.
My heart’s desire it to increase my understanding of God’s Word, deepen my relationship with Him, and be more burdened for reaching people with the Gospel. Truth be told, I am both very excited and nervous at the same time. I know my faith will be stretched as I do things I have never done before!
In order to make all this possible, I need to develop a team of ministry partners... a group of people like you who would give to make my trip possible. As you might imagine raising the necessary funds will be one of my greatest steps of faith in preparation for the summer. I need a total of $4,000 by May 31 which covers room and board for the summer as well as transportation.
Would you prayerfully consider joining my team by giving a gift of $100, $200, $300 or more? Of course whatever amount the Lord leads you to do is the right amount.
All gifts are tax-deductible and checks should be made out to Cru. In order to know how close I am to reaching my goal, I will call you next week to see what you have decided and to answer any questions you might have.
More than anything I need your prayers as I seek to follow the Lord by participating in this summer mission trip. Thank you for considering joining my team to help reach people for Christ at Lake Tahoe this summer.
In writing your letter be sure to:
STEP THREE: CALL
The degree of your success in the letter-writing strategy depdends on your follow-up phone call. The follow-up phone call is critical for three reasons:
Be sure to establish a specific time in the letter to get their decision.
If when you call your potential ministry partner has not made a decision, set another time to call within a day or two.
STEP FOUR: THANK
Send a thank-you note the same day the ministry partner gives you her decision. Be sure to keep a record of this so you’ll know to whom you’ve sent one and so you won’t send two to the same person – that would be bad.
This thank-you letter is an important part of developing a relationship with your ministry partner. This should be a personal, handwritten note or letter. Do not print or copy a form letter or send an email. Always include something personal in your note to show specifically how you and Christ’s cause have benefited from their generosity. You owe them a good thank-you note.
The following is a sample “thank-you” note . . .
Dear Dr. and Mrs. Smith,
Thank you for your gift of $100 to support my ministry this summer. Your prayers and finances are greatly appreciated. Your investment will have far-reaching results as I help reach people for Christ!
Please join me in praying that God would continually deepen my commitment to the cause of Christ. Your prayers are very important. Thanks again for your help.
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