A Pastor’s Perspective on Church Partnerships

It must be a tremendous challenge to live in two complex and ever-changing worlds at the same time: the ministry you are called to, and the process of raising funds to accomplish it. You probably feel like you are bouncing back and forth between your ministry hat, to your fundraising hat, and then back again. I am guessing that you didn’t start out in ministry because you love fundraising, but you have probably come to terms with it being a necessary part of the process. One of the biggest challenges is how you raise support has changed over the years. What you used to do, you can’t always do now. What used to work doesn’t always work now.

How can I help? Well, when you were seeking support, you are likely going to talk to a pastor like me. I am the one that will initially say yes or no to taking the next steps in presenting your ministry to others for support, so this is an opportunity to hear from the other side of the phone or email inbox.

I want you to know that I have a huge heart for missions and the work you are doing. I believe in you and your mission. I want to say yes to every phone call I receive, but obviously, I can’t. So what is the difference between a ministry I get to say YES to, and a ministry that I simply can’t? A big part of that decision is made by the fundraising aspect.

You see I don’t like fundraising either, but as things have changed I am now the one who will communicate a new global partnership to the mission board, congregation, and online community for support. I am trying to raise support, but I need a partner! I need your help.

I want to help you raise the support you need to accomplish your goals. I want the people in the congregation to respond because I believe it is a critical part of spiritual growth and maturity. It’s not easy though, so I am much more likely to say YES to missions partnerships that have…

-A cause the congregation can get excited about People used to be willing to give to a person they believed in. Now, most people are only willing to give to a purpose they believe in. They are no longer moved by WHAT you are doing, they are moved by WHY you are doing it. People are living a fast-paced life and are bombarded with messaging all week long. It is challenging to get their attention and communicate anything to them. This is why your mission has to cut through all of the noise, get their attention, and compel them to respond. The good news is that people want to be a part of something that is making a difference. You want them to hear your mission and say, “This has to change, and I have to help.”

To say YES - I need to be able to communicate your mission in a quick, clear, and compelling way.

-Consistent content that can keep people excited about your mission Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Even if I can get the congregation pumped up and excited about your mission in a moment or a service if I don’t keep that mission in front of them consistently their excitement and support will quickly evaporate as it shifts to the many other cares and concerns of life. People want to travel, experience new cultures, and make a difference on a global scale. You have the opportunity to take them there and help them experience all of that. Take pictures, videos, and design content that can transport them there. Help them experience what their brothers and sisters across the world are experiencing and help them live the life of purpose they were created for. You will get a handful involved if you share your mission during a service. Can you imagine how many you will get involved when you share your mission with them all year long! When you invite them into the story consistently, it becomes personal to them. It might even become so personal to them that they begin to raise awareness and support on your behalf. Just recently my daughter and the girls in my neighborhood did a lemonade stand, but instead of keeping the profits, they donated it to one of our global partners because they understood the cause and it was fresh in their minds so it became the first place they wanted to help when they could.

To say YES - I need to receive pictures, videos, stories, victories, and updates consistently to quickly post and share with the congregation.

-Numerous ways for people, and the church, to help and see wins

One of the biggest challenges in connecting people with global initiatives is that everyone is in a different place spiritually and financially. It is good for everyone to take a step forward, but we don’t always offer a step that is accessible. We currently work with a ministry that has done a great job at inviting people into a significant meaningful step no matter where they are and what they have to give. You can give $1 and provide a meal for a malnourished child, $50 to send a love/food basket to their home and family, $480 to sponsor a child for a year, $1,500 to take a trip to see and love on these children, $12,000 to build a kitchen to feed children, $15,000 a year for three years to plant a new church and build a kitchen to feed children. As a pastor, I get so excited about all of these options because there is an exciting step for EVERY person - a baby step for a first-time guest, a medium step for someone new to giving to global causes, a big step for an individual who is experienced with missions, a small step/big win for a church, and big step/HUGE WIN for a church to celebrate with the congregation. This makes your ministry applicable and accessible to every person, committee, the congregation I share it with.

To say YES - I need to have opportunities for everyone to get involved. Baby steps, big steps, big leaps, and HUGE WINS.

Unfortunately, I can’t take away the need to raise support for the amazing work that you are doing for the kingdom. I wish I could because I believe that you are fulfilling a calling to do something that very few are willing to do. I want to see you succeed in raising the support you need to accomplish the goals you have in this ever-changing landscape of ministry and fundraising. Though I can’t remove raising support from the equation, maybe I can turn some “no’s” into “yes’s” to help you keep that consistent support growing.

Practical Steps

  1. Perfect your “elevator pitch” - write out the mission you are called to so it can be shared in a quick, clear, and compelling way.
  2. Commit to taking 1 photo, 1 video update, and 1 story every week - post on your social media channels and/or share with your ministry partners
  3. Brainstorm and write down opportunities for everyone - a baby step, big step, giant leap, and a HUGE win.

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