What’s stopping a flood of laborers from being sent out from college campuses?
Overwhelmingly, there are two barriers holding college students from being sent into full time ministry:
The last post addressed Parents. This post will deal with half of the money issue – how support raising prevents graduates from being sent. The next post will deal with how educational debt chokes sending (is it OK if I cheat a little and split money into two posts??).
If the world’s greatest need is laborers, one of the biggest obstacles is raising support. There are tens of thousands of college grads who want to do full time ministry but, upon learning that you have to raise support, bail out.
So what we can do about it?
- In general, the main issue to press is – “if the cause is worthy, the cost is irrelevant”.
- Staff need to model what a life on full time support looks like.
- Have students in your home. To see how you live. To see your family. To visualize what their life can look like.
- Students need to see this is a viable career option. You can provide for a family on staff. You can save for retirement. You can give generously (that’s one reason we always encourage students to send us support letters for Summer Missions).
- Staff need to watch how they talk about support. Do we always complain about it? Are we cheap and always using poor talk? (see more in Ali Enos’ excellent CruPressGreen post: Poor Language Could Be Costing Us Laborers)
- Teach the principles of living a simple and modest lifestyle. Whether you go into full time ministry or not you should live simply and give generously because it’s God’s money, not yours. Take a discipleship appointment and listen to and discuss Roger Hershey’s phenomenal talk on the subject.
- Make it clear that we provide incredible training and coaching on how to raise support. In our region with Cru, the success rate for interns getting fully supported is nearly 100% (for those who work at it full time). We can fairly confidently say – if you work at it, God will provide 100% of your support.
- Share with students stories of God providing financially.
- Walk through a Biblical basis for support raising. I’ve unpacked some of that here: Jesus Was Supported by Others – Will You Follow?
- Students need to see that support raising is not begging for money, mooching off others, wasting their degree. They need to see that they may believe more in the American dream than the Bible.
- Students need to see that brilliant men and women, who literally could have made millions in the marketplace, have foregone earthly riches in order to serve Christ (following in the footsteps of Moses and other greats of the faith). We need the best and the brightest, not those who can’t find viable work elsewhere. They need to hear (true!) stories of other grads leaving six figure starting salaries and $50k signing bonuses on the table in order to go into full time ministry. My discipler in college had chosen staff on Cru – he held degrees in economics and mechanical engineering from Rice University. He could easily start with a six figure salary. That inspired me. It emboldened me. It let me see that full time ministry is a great investment of incredible talent and brains. We have the greatest cause in the world and we need the brightest minds in the world to give their lives to fulfilling the Great Commission.
- Spend a discipleship time listening to a talk Steve Shadrach’s talk at Urbana on 5 Essential Keys to Fully Fund Your Ministry. It has great vision and practical insights on raising support.
Some helpful links:
- Cru’s How Staff Members Raise Their Salaries
- Support Raising Solutions – their blog is particularly helpful as is their resource page
- A few of my posts on support raising:
What are ways you have helped students move past the obstacle of support raising?
photo courtesy of Tax Credits