It’s hard to be effective in your role when there is a crushing fear in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to pay your bills or keep the doors open on the property you’re renting (church or housing).
In the last few weeks I’ve heard a lot of discussion and prayer requests around the issue of finances, specifically amongst church planters and full-time ministry staff that are trying to raise support for their positions. In some of the worst cases I’ve heard about, there are currently staff that are consistently under-funded and have been in this state for quite a while. That’s a BAD place to be—not just for you, but for your spouse, your family/marriage, and I would argue for your entire church/ministry! It’s hard to be effective in your role when there is a crushing fear in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to pay your bills or keep the doors open on the property you’re renting (church or housing). The heartbreaking news is we can easily theologize our way into somehow thinking being under-funded or on the brink of implosion financially is a noble position to be in when in actuality we’re burying our heads in the sands of denial.
I’m no stranger to the situation I’m describing above. I’ve been on full-time support for the last five-plus years, and I have experienced the same pendulum of emotions that come with relying on God (via others) for my financial means. The good news I’ve experienced, however, is five-plus years of being in a surplus of fully funded.
In this series I’m going to start by exploring two common emotional positions we tend to retreat to in hopes that your current support-raising tension can actually lead you to more intimacy and authenticity with Jesus.
So let’s get started. . . .
In this article we’ll look at position one: denial.
Denial: This is where we begin to think about the weight of what we need to raise, the many pressures of our lives, and the potential hopelessness of never reaching our goals, and we start to “check out.” The fruit of checking out is we stop pursuing people to make “asks” because meeting with them or even thinking about new donors snaps us out of our peaceful denial state and jettisons us down to the pits of anxiety and/or despair. Denial looks like when we put our heads in the clouds of the “coming Kingdom” and write eloquent newsletters about “relying on God’s sovereign provision” without the daily faith in action of pursuing funding activities in the “here but not yet kingdom.” Sadly, denial can be so rhythmic it can re-shape your prayer life only to include petitions about things you actually expect to happen, and in this case full-funding can slip from being an actual expectation. The root of denial is unbelief in God’s ability to give you strength within painful times and even an unbelief in His desire to be with you during those times. Both of those are lies about God that keep you feeling alone, fearful, and driven to self-comfort by way of denial.
If you’re living in denial about your funding, you have an amazing opportunity for growth. It’s time to repent (change your God) and believe the Gospel.
Here is a prayer I’ve prayed, and I hope this can help you articulate some things going on in your heart and emotions that are driving your actions (or in this case your inaction):
Father, instead of feeling the weight of my funding situation, I’ve chosen to ignore it and ignore the fear and desperation I feel. The fruit of my beliefs have caused me to not run to you but have caused me to run to myself and my protection mechanisms of “checking out” for comfort. I’m a poor god, and my denial has left me increasingly anxious and inactive. Father I turn to you—the King whose riches are unfathomable. Holy Spirit, fill me and give me the strength and courage to meet the challenges and fears of rejection that come from fundraising activities. Help me believe the good news that you will never leave me or forsake me, specifically within these strains of funding.
Thank you, Jesus, for calling me and sending me into the harvest, your harvest. Thank you that I’m not an accident and that you’ve prepared these good works for me to walk in before the foundations of the earth. Help me to believe in you and not my efforts or circumstances. Help me to walk out my repentance in faith as I ask financial partners to join my team. I do specifically need finances, Father, and I ask you’d move in people’s hearts to want to join in your work that you’re doing in and through me. Open my eyes to see those whom I need to involve in this ministry. Thank you for loving me and providing for me ultimately in Jesus so I would never be in need again.
Romans 8:32 (AMP) He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
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