By on February 3, 2015   /   14 Comments


Men, do you remember what it was like to ask that young woman out on your first date? How did it feel—terrifying, heart-thudding, and pulse-pounding? If you could go back in time to watch a video of what you said and how it sounded, would you want a “redo”?

To ask someone out on a date may not be the same as asking someone to support your ministry, but there is a principle to learn. How you say is just as important as what you say.

“Jim” (not his real name), a ministry leader, asked some friends if he could present his ministry and ask for support to a group at their home. They responded, “Yes.” But there was a stipulation, “After you are done, we want to critique you.” Gulp!

Their critique revealed an invaluable insight. When Jim transitioned to The Ask, his voice changed. As he cast vision for his ministry, his voice was confident, strong, and engaging, but when he transitioned to The Ask for support, his voice weakened. He did not realize he did that. It was almost as if he became apologetic, not in words, but by the tone of his voice.

Jim learned an important lesson that evening. The right words and phrases to ask a prospective partner to make a financial commitment are not enough. How you say those words can make or break the presentation.

Here are some questions to ask yourself what your prospective partner may hear when you ask him/her to make a financial commitment:

  • Do you stumble into The Ask or do you move with confidence from casting the vision to asking? Is your ask timid and sheepish? You may not actually say, “I’m sorry to have to ask you this, but I need money for my ministry,” but the inflection of your words may communicate this.
  • Do you ask someone to be a prayer partner as an apologetic way to soften the ask for support? “Would you pray for my ministry and, if possible, give to it. But if you cannot give, prayer would be great?” Asking someone to become a prayer partner is important, but not in this way.

When you ask someone to give, you are not asking them to pay your bills. Your goal is to mobilize people to be involved in the Great Commission through their giving and prayers. Never apologize when you ask people to give and pray. Can you imagine if Paul approached the Corinthians that way? 2 Corinthians 8-9 would look a lot different!

When you ask a person to give, you are not “doing something to them.” You give them an opportunity to be involved in what is close to God’s heart. Your script and the tone of your voice must reflect this.

Here are a few tips to help build your confidence when you ask:

  • Use a transition from casting vision to your ask: “Before I share with you how we are funded, do you have any questions?”
  • Introduce the ask: “We invite others to partner with us to reach people for Christ.”
  • Explain why your organization raises support: “We have no central funds for paying salaries and ministry expenses. Like many other mission organizations, we depend upon the consistent financial support of individuals and churches. These contributions are used to fund the ministries of our staff members.”
  • Clearly explain why you are raising support: “I must find a team of partners who will give $100 monthly (or use a range of options) to support my ministry. As soon as this team is complete, I can give my full attention to reaching students at the University of Texas.”
  • Ask a specific question: “Your partnership can make a difference as I reach students for Christ. Would you make a monthly commitment of $100 monthly or some other amount?”

After you write your script (you do need to write it out!), practice it 15-20 times. Pay close attention to not only the words, but also how you say them. Find a friend to be a prospective partner to video your entire presentation and then review. As Jim’s friends were candid with him, ask your friend to do the same. Is your vision casting and the ask for support seamless? Observe your voice inflections as you transition to The Ask. Is your ask bold and confident, but done in a spirit of humility?

Words matter, but equally so, how we say them matters a great deal.


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