“The money needed depends on where you serve, the time needed to raise it depends on your effort.”
The biggest factor in knowing how much money you have to raise is where you will be serving and whether you will be in individual or team housing. For example, serving in rural areas of countries in the two-thirds world normally means you need less support than if you were serving in western Europe.
Support raising is based on relationships, so the timing is based on how much time you invest in building relationships before hand as well as how many appointments you make to speak to people about support raising. My wife and I met with ninety-six families over a period of four months before we were 100 percent supported. I know others who have done it in ninety days. On the other hand, another person spent a year on it and only reached 65 percent.
Either you or the agency can set a deadline, but both of you should agree to it.
Answer from Rob, who has served for six years with Operation Mobilization.
“Set a deadline.”
You should have a deadline, because deadlines create urgency. And urgency motivates not only the donor to give and pray on your behalf but also motivates you to be proactive in your search for funds and dependent upon the Lord, who has called you to accomplish his purposes.
Urgency calls for decisions. When you ask for critically needed funds with established deadlines, it takes your prospective donor or an existing donor out of the, “maybe we will think about helping you sometime” mode to the, “We need to make a decision now” mode, “so we can help our brother or sister in Christ who has been called by the Lord to accomplish this particular vision.”
Deadlines can be very powerful and I have watched some amazing things take place as people and ministries set deadlines. Maybe you need to review the vision the Lord has given you and keep in mind that it’s really not your vision but the Lord’s agenda you need to accomplish.
Answer from Bill Dillon, author of the book People Raising. Visit PeopleRaising.com for the newsletter, book, and donor tracking software.
“The cost of living varies widely from country to country.”
Costs vary according to country, situation, family size, and mission agency’s requirements. A single missionary in some countries can get by on the equivalent of US$500 a month. A married couple with five children in a mission school, and a four-wheel drive vehicle to get around could need well above US$5,000 a month.
Answer from Bill with Into All The World. He served for thirty-two years in Africa and Asia.
“Not as much as we thought.”
It depends on where you will live and whether you are working professionally (and thus receiving a salary in the host country) or serving solely in a ministry role. We set a support goal and then went overseas without meeting that goal. We’ve never had “enough money” (according to our budget reports), but we have never lacked for anything we needed, either!
Answer from Jeremy who has served in Asia for three years.
Editor’s note: For reasons to live on less, also read Roger Greenway’s classic article Eighteen Barrels and Two Big Crates (on how and why our stuff gets in the way of our witness).
“Enough for today.”
I live in Africa and run an orphanage, feeding program, medical clinics, and several other ministries. Funding has always been my biggest struggle, but I have learned that all I need is enough for today.
I have had to make unbelievable choices when it comes to money. I have had to decide to provide medical treatment for a child today or feed my children tomorrow. God would bless the “yes” so we would provide medical care for this baby today, and tomorrow the money for food would always come through. He has always provided, often in the most unlikely of ways!
Answer from Emily in South Carolina, who has served with Salvation Ministries in Mali and Uganda for four years.
This related post gives more info – On average, how many people does it take to support a long-term missionary?
Another site with good links re raising support – https://resources4missions.org/issues-trends/practical-helps/support-raising/