Facebook: The Support Raiser’s New Best Friend

By on April 1, 2009   /   Leave a comment

We ask participants in our Bootcamps to bring the names and contact info of at least 200-600 friends or acquaintances they’ve made during their lifetime. Without exception, there are always a few trainees who just can’t seem to come up with more than 87 names or so. If I was just a tad meaner, I would mock them, saying: “You’re 40 years old and want to go into full-time Christian work? So, you love the ministry…it’s just people that you hate!” Of course, I would never say that, but there is a sad bit of truth in my sarcasm. Friend, ministry IS the people business and if we haven’t even spent the time reaching out to others in our B.F.M. (Before Full-Time Ministry) days, what makes us think we will be able to flip some magical switch inside our brain that instantly transforms us into serving/loving the multitudes and giving our lives away in nurturing relationships? As we say in the south, “Ain’t gonna happen!”

But I don’t want to come down too hard on the “Mr. Bootcamper with only 87 names guy” because he’s just doing what almost every support raiser does starting out. It’s not that they hate anyone; the problem is they summarily cross off their prospect list the names of 900+ folks they haven’t seen for 5, 10, 20+ years, etc…You see, out of the approximately 1000 people you’ve met or known in some measure during your short stay on this planet, you’ve probably stayed in touch with only about 60 of them. And certainly the only people with the guts (or penchant for rejection) to actually call any of the “neglected” 940 could only be Amway or insurance salesmen!

Well, a 20-something Harvard dropout named Mark Zuckerberg has changed all that for us. Now, instead of it being weird or awkward to re-connect with your 5th grade Girl Scout friend or your 9th grade lab partner, it’s ok—even cool—to do so. How did Zuckerberg pull it off? In 2004, he created a simple computer program to communicate with some of his college buddies. When it caught on at other campuses, he decided to open it up to all colleges, then all high schoolers, and finally the whole world! Affectionately known as Facebook, it is now the largest and fastest growing social network anywhere with over 175 million active users (adding 150,000 daily!) who spend three billion minutes a day cruising the site for more friends. Let me mention four quickies on how Facebook can become (to you—a support raiser) your new best friend:

1. Resurrect your “Namestorm List”
Rethink all the hundreds of names you conveniently “forgot” about from your past lives and go back and write each one down. Don’t leave anyone off!

2. Befriend them on Facebook
Search for and ask each to be your friend. Virtually everyone says “yes” because the measure of popularity on Facebook is how many friends you accumulate. Enjoy re-connecting, sharing memories and old pics.

3. Join or start affinity groups and invite old friends
Your friends have joined a number of the thousands of Facebook clubs/groups with interests ranging from sports teams, school classes, and hobbies. Jump in and have some fun.

4. Build rapport and prepare to ask
Pick and choose which friends you want to go deeper with. As you share your life and ministry, it opens up spiritual discussions and opportunities. Then when you set up your next round of support raising trips, these “old-new” friends will be primed to see you and listen closely to the voice and heart they remembered from many moons ago.


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