When I quit my job ten years ago and started into full-time ministry, I took a cold turkey approach to raising support. Not only did I personally feel God leading me to step out in that way (which I don’t recommend, unless God leads you to do it that way), but I also was not aware of any books, training or resources that could help me fund my ministry. There actually were a few resources available ten years ago, but I believe some of the best books on support raising have been written since then. At the top of that resource list I would put The God Ask by Steve Shadrach. Steve is a support raising guru who now trains Christian workers in raising support as his full-time ministry. His organization is called Support Raising Solutions, and they supply resources (like The God Ask) and host training bootcamps as well.
Confronting Unbiblical Paradigms
The God Ask is both an inspirational book, a theological book and a practical training manual for those who are raising support. Steve rightly fills up quite a few pages dealing with the mental challenges and misunderstandings that sidetrack missionaries and ministries from becoming fully funded. One misunderstanding is the false view that the “normal” way to be in full-time ministry is to receive a paycheck from a church. Historically and statistically, this is simply not true.
Our culture might try to push us towards a “real” job or ministry that actually pays you a salary, but this concept of Christian workers receiving a guaranteed monthly paycheck is more of a western, denominational idea over the last hundred years. The bulk of the world’s full-time Christian workers are “faith missionaries”. In other words, they don’t get the golden guaranteed payroll check each month. Instead, they live and minister from the ongoing financial gifts of others. – Steve Shadrach, The God Ask
Many of the unbiblical paradigms about raising support can be confronted by a fresh look at the biblical view of finances and raising support. From Moses to Nehemiah, from Jesus to Paul, the Bible is full of examples of believers who depended on their brothers and sisters to support their ministry vision financially. I believe a poverty mentality/spirit is a real stronghold with many Christians, and this book uses Scripture to crush the paralyzing lies that God will not provide for us. While the whole book is good, I think Steve’s writing shines the brightest when he is teaching you to think rightly about God and finances.
After laying the foundation of a biblical mindset, The God Ask builds a practical plan for you to develop your vision, set a budget and fund your vision to 100%. A few of his key points are about developing a clear vision and the power of asking. Steve encourages workers to take time to establish a strong ministry vision that you can share with sincere passion and excitement. There is also an ongoing emphasis that you must do all you can to get face-to-face, one-on-one meetings and ask people directly for their partnership with your vision. The more nitty-gritty stuff is included too, such as how to keep track of your partners, how to send out newsletters and how to follow up when people do not give.
It is an extensive, 300+ page book, with 11 appendices that include helpful worksheets and charts, and if you want one book or one resources on raising support and funding your ministry, make it The God Ask.