An Open Letter to the Parents of Support Raisers

By on August 1, 2006   /   Leave a comment

I have wanted to write this letter for decades. Why? Because I’ve seen a multitude of parents over the years misunderstand—and even oppose—their sons or daughters who feel God’s calling into ministry…and support raising. At our Support Raising Boot Camps, I ask the participants how many have parents who are excited and supportive of them having to raise their own salary. Usually, about one out of the fifty will lift their hand. Sad to say, this is the norm.

Dear Parents of Support Raisers,
My wife and I are now the parents of young adults whom we are working hard with to help become self-sufficient. As you know, transitioning them out of the nest and into good jobs with incomes to cover ALL of their expenses can sometimes be a frustrating, drawn-out, experience. That’s one of the main reasons we send them to (and pay for!) college—so they can have a good foundation from which to support THEMSELVES… the rest of their lives.

When your son or daughter came home and informed you they were headed into full-time ministry, it may have been a surprise. But, when they mentioned they would be required to raise their own salary, you may have gone into shock! Did you think, “Who are these people that take advantage of naïve Christians by bringing them into their organizations, working them to death, and expecting them to pay their bills by begging from others?” I know. My businessman dad felt the same way and was initially embarrassed by me, his fanatical son, who (he hoped) would someday grow out of this monastic phase!

These thoughts might help you understand why the organization asks your son or daughter to raise support, and why they agreed to do it:

1. Support Raising is Biblical
The Levites in the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul, even Jesus (Luke 8:1-3) lived off the support of others. If the Son of God was willing to humble himself by being financially dependent upon God and others, shouldn’t we be too?
2. Support Raising is the greatest preparation for ministry
It requires faith, hard work, and perseverance to be successful in ministry. Those qualities, and more, are developed and refined during the support raising time.
3. Support Raising is not begging
Actually, we’re inviting others to be ministry partners with us. In the process of them investing, through us, in the Great Commission, we also build lifelong friendships with them. I secretly feel sorry for those Christian workers who do not have a team of 40-50-60 couples and churches regularly praying for and supporting them. For me and my family, we wouldn’t want to live any other way!
4. Support Raising is for brave and bold visionaries
About 70% of the world’s full-time Christian workers are “faith missionaries” who raise their own support. Christian workers drawing a guaranteed monthly salary check is a western denominational idea that has developed over the last 100 years. You need to be extremely proud of your son or daughter for taking on a challenge that few are willing or able to take on.

BTW: My dad is now one of our most enthusiastic and proudest supporters, and it will mean the world to your son or daughter for you to get behind them with all your heart. They may or may not be in full time ministry forever, but they will never forget you cheering them on during one of the greatest challenges of their life.


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