“If God wants me to go on this mission trip, then the money will come in.”
Ever hear someone say that? Ever said it yourself?
While it sounds “spiritual,” we’re pretty convinced it’s a misconception.
Here’s why: what seems like a nice "trust-in-Jesus" truism is often a cop-out. Too often we’ve seen people back out of a mission trip because the funds didn’t come in, and they usually say the same thing: “It must not have been God’s will.”
Maybe. Or maybe we’re blaming God for our own lack of effort. Yes, He’s the source of everything we need. But the pattern we see in scripture is that He calls people to take active steps of obedience. Manna in the wilderness? Leave your tents and gather it. Crossing a raging river on dry ground? You have to step into the water to see it retreat. Colossal military victory against impossible odds? Pick up your swords and see what God does.
Prayerfully ask, “Does God want me to go on this mission trip?” If the answer is “Yes” (which we think is pretty likely), you already know that it's His will. Don’t let anything stop you from walking in it – especially not something as small as money!
“But how?” Well, we’re glad you asked! Here are our six tips for working toward your goal as you trust God to provide.
Sure, it’s a no-brainer. But prayer is easy to skimp on when we get into task mode. Remember: God is the one who called you to go, and He is your provider. Prayer keeps you tied to the promises and the trustworthiness of Jesus. It also strengthens your relationship with Him, and it reminds you of your dependence on Him – for everything, not just finances! It’s all for Him and about Him, anyway!
2. Adjust Your Attitude
It’s been said that success is determined by your attitude. This is definitely true for your approach to raising finances.
Here are some common wrong attitudes we’re all susceptible to:
- Fear – “What will people think? What if God doesn’t come through?”
- Laziness – unwilling to get uncomfortable or do the work required
- Pessimism – “This is just too much!”
- Resentment – wishing God hadn’t called you to go because of what it costs
- Hopelessness – “The money will never come in!”
- Inferiority – “I don’t really deserve to have people support me financially.”
- Self-pity – approaching the financial need like a beggar seeking a handout instead of like someone seeking partners for their mission
- Pride – ashamed to admit that you need help
But God is your source of far more than just money. Ask Him to help you choose a right attitude so that you can see your financial need as an opportunity for growth in knowing and trusting Him. Ask Him to help you choose:
- Confidence in God
Remember: the battle is truly won in the unseen of our hearts and minds.
3. Get Creative
Don’t limit yourself by assuming that what you’ve seen or done in the past is the way you have to go this time around. Our Creator is infinitely creative! Ask God to give you fresh ideas. He may direct you to do something as simple as making a phone call, or something as challenging as selling a prized possession.
We’ve seen all kinds of creative fundraisers. Car washes. Talent shows. Silent auctions. Bake sales. Corporate sponsorships or donation matching. Babysitting. Pancake suppers. Think outside the box! And don’t shy away from working for it. Let your church know that you’re looking for odd jobs to raise money for missions; there’s always a lawn that needs mowing or a garage that needs cleaning.
A caution: Steer clear of constant pleas for help on Facebook or Twitter. It’s far less personal, and is often the easy way out for people who are nervous about fundraising. Don’t take the path of least resistance! Ask God for an effective plan, and stick to it until you see Him provide all that you need.
4. Form a “Dream Team”
Invite people to give to the dream God’s given you, not just to a financial need. You do this by sharing why you’re going and what you’re excited to see God do on your mission trip. Share stories of what God has done in the past. Paint a picture of the physical and spiritual needs you’re asking God to meet through your team. Asking for donations is a valuable way to include others in what God has called you to do.
And you need a “dream team” for so much more than money! You need people to send you, to provide moral support, and to pray for you. When you involve others in your life and ministry by inviting them to pray and give, it’s not just your mission trip anymore – it becomes a mission trip for the whole team helping you get there.
5. Just Do It
Here’s where your faith is demonstrated by your action. Show that you trust God to provide by actually doing what He has called you to do. Don’t sit around being lazy and fearful and then assume that it “wasn’t God’s will” when the money doesn’t come in. If God’s worthy of your service on this mission trip, He’s also worthy of any sacrifice you make to get there.
This means you need to actually ask for people’s help! We often make assumptions about potential financial supporters.
- People know about my financial need.
- People know they can give – I don’t need to invite them to.
- People have already decided not to give.
When we fail to ask, we make the decision for people by assuming we know already what they want to do. Instead, swallow your fear and ask a simple question: “Would you please support me financially on my mission to _________ ?” This places value on your mission trip and on the person you’re asking to help by making the need clear. More than anything, it prioritizes obedience to God’s call over your own personal comfort.
6. Pray Again
Yes, we said it already. But with all the emphasis on the effort required (and besides a few miraculous exceptions, there is effort required), we don’t want to neglect the fact that God is the One we’re depending on. Work hard, but never forget that it’s His provision you need.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6