Support Training: How Much is Enough?

By on February 1, 2008   /   Leave a comment

I won’t bore you with the children’s story of Goldilocks stumbling upon the three bears’ house in the woods (with no one home) only to test out their porridge, chairs, and beds. You remember—each time she tasted, sat, or laid down, she would proclaim it to be too little, too much, etc…and then finally…“juuuust right!”

Looks like I bored you anyway, but let’s apply this tale to the critical area of support raising training. In the last eight years, we’ve been privileged to train staff from almost 300 organizations. You might ask, “How many different approaches have you seen as groups seek to train their staff?” I would laugh and respond, “About 300!” Well, how much support training should a ministry provide? Most supply way too little training, some too much, and precious few…”juuuust right!” No, I don’t believe one size fits all, but here’s a couple of ministries who, in my opinion, have “figured it out.” Maybe we can learn from them:

1. Campus Crusade for Christ
In early 2000, I flew down to Daytona, Florida to participate in their Ministry Partner Development. I, along with 89 new CCC staffers, gladly traded $750 and six days of our lives to receive the intensive training Ellis Goldstein and his team of nine full-time coaches were providing/requiring. Morning, noon, and night, we interacted with the Scriptures, prepared our presentation notebooks, and role played until asking others to join our team became “second nature.” Did you pick up on how much emphasis this organization puts on training?

  • They actually charge their staff $750+ to make sure they really value it.
  • They spend six full days doing nothing but support training *CCC has at least ten full-timers focusing exclusively on training and coaching staff.
  • They even follow it up with regional trouble-shooting sessions each quarter.

2. The Navigators
That fall, I trekked to Glen Eyrie, the Nav headquarters in Colorado Springs, to soak in their support raising training as well. They required trainees to invest $550 and at least 15 hours of Bible study before we came. The excellent training Scott Morton and his team provided/required included even more Bible study, prayer, and even phoning real-live human beings, practicing asking for appointments! Every new staffer had their direct supervisor sitting right next to them, going through the entire four days with them. This supervisor would have weekly accountability with them until 100% was reached. Pick up any more tips?

  • They could not come unless they spent at least 15 hours preparing.
  • It moved from role plays to actual calls.
  • Afterwards, it was not group, but one-on-one, weekly accountability.

Now, you’re probably not part of a mega-organization like Crusade or Navs where you can duplicate what I’ve described. But, a crucial element of leadership is discerning what you can do excellently “in-house”—and what you can’t. If you don’t have the expertise, personnel, or resources to do an A+ job, then have the humility and wisdom to partner with some skilled specialists who can bring that piece of the puzzle to the table.
I know that may sound like a shameless commercial for our Boot Camp training, but it is not intended to be. Our single motive? To do whatever we can to help you and your organization get your new and veteran staff to 100% of their funding (and keep them there!) over the course of their life and ministry. Whether you provide that training yourself or choose to partner with an organization like ours, don’t settle for too little (or even too much), but make sure it’s…”juuuust right!”


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