Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just a few random thoughts on ministry promotion

This morning as I was thinking through how organizations seek to raise their profiles in the hope (let’s admit it) of raising additional financial support, it seemed to me that most go about it in the exactly the wrong way. It’s not that they don’t walk well-trodden paths. The approach that is typically taken is one that most take, hoping that it will work (and it sometimes does for a time).

And that path is the the path of self-promotion. "Let’s send out our speakers and do advertizing to tell people more about who we are and how wonderful we are! Surely if people knew what we were doing, they would want to support us!"

The fallacy of this approach is that it is based on the assumption that the problem with most Christians is that they don’t know enough. We assume that if we tell people just how wonderful we are and what wonderful work we are doing and planning to do, that they will feel motivated to give to us.

Perhaps it might and perhaps for a short time. But over the long-term? Not likely. And I am not convinced that the problem with most Christians is a lack of knowledge; it’s a lack of connection. People support what they believe in and loyalty is not built on knowledge. Loyalty is built on relationship and a sense of ownership. Organizations that want to succeed in today's world are those who deliberately find meaningful ways to helping people to make personal connections with those whom they are trying to serve. In the case of The Voice of the Martyrs, which I lead, that means finding significant ways of building bridges between persecuted Christians and those in Canada.

It may start with knowledge, but it can’t stop there. Nor can we keep pounding away on the same nail hoping to drive it home if you are meeting concrete-like resistance to begin with. Perhaps, as I twittered today, the problem is not that Christians haven’t heard enough missionary speakers. Perhaps they are tired of being viewed as human ATM machines and that the cure to raising support for your ministry is not talking more about yourself but championing your cause.


Michelle said...

I agree, it's about relationships....and at the foundation, making sure your ministry is founded on God's leading and his word PRAYER and ultimately trusting in him to provide!

Bill Yeo said...

I would agree as well. When I was preparing for the mission field, I was given a book called "Friend Raising". It truly is about making connections with people, so that they can see themselves as participants, not supporters.

Glenn Penner said...

The question is, I wonder, were the "friends" encouraged and allowed to do more than just give finances?