I’m not a typical Navigator staff. One, I came to The Navigators from corporate America, not up through the ranks of ministry. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of The Navigators until I felt God leading me out of business into ministry and started evaluating Christian organizations. Two, never having been in ministry, I didn’t have stories of changed lives to tell people as I raised support. Three and four, I was a single woman raising support for an administrative position in the headquarters office, which, some told me during the fundraising process, would make reaching full support next to impossible. And five, I am an introvert. Some would call this the “fatal factors in fundraising” list.
This is what I did have:
The confirmed conviction that God wanted me in ministry for this season of my life
The assurance that if He called me, He also would provide financially
A track record of success as a single woman in the business world
Confidence that I’m a capable person and that I serve a big God
Here are some lessons I learned in the 14-month journey to full funding.
Women can raise funds. It never dawned on me that I could have difficulty becoming funded because I was a single woman. This belief could have carried over from corporate America where women are strong and successful, but I simply “planned my work and worked my plan,” as they say—the same as anyone with a goal.
God enabled me for what He called me to do. I’m an introvert. I don’t naturally find it easy to initiate relationships with people and openly share my heart. Yet during the funding process, I constantly talked on the phone and met with people. I almost didn’t recognize myself at times because I looked like such an extrovert! I’m still an introvert today and am pretty sure I always will be. God didn’t ask me to become what I’m not to do the work He gave me. Rather, He enabled me to do what He called me to.
Ask for help. I called my funding coach every week and sometimes more often if I felt discouraged, had questions, or faced unfamiliar situations. Talking with my coach helped me feel supported and prepared for new scenarios.
Believe full funding is possible. I was the first missionary I knew ever to reach full funding! Many missionaries had come through my home church while I was growing up. All of them seemed like they were barely getting by financially. They didn’t make being a missionary appealing. I didn’t believe God couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for them—or me. I approached fundraising with the “100% or nothing” mentality. I didn’t eat Ramen or frozen pizza in college, and I wasn’t going to now as a career missionary. We deserve to have budgets we can live on, because God is big!
Trust. Twice in the 14 months I was raising support full time, I had “crises of faith.” Both times, I simply couldn’t see how, through whom, or when provision would come. And both times, God reminded me simply to trust Him—even if I couldn’t see the answers. The outcome was about Him, not people. I knew I was doing my part; I needed to trust He would do His.
Ask God for ideas. When I felt “stuck” in knowing whom to invite to my team, I asked God for ideas—much like listening prayer the People Resources Team teaches. Once, listening for ideas from God led me to invite the president of my alma mater to my giving team. Another time, a man made a generous gift to my ministry during a missions fest but left no contact information. I was tempted to leave it at a nice, one-time gift. Yet, God prompted me to locate this man—even if just to send a thank-you note. The man so appreciated the effort in locating and thanking him, he’s since become a regular, high-level ministry partner.
I knew in my heart God was bigger than all of the “obstacles” I would face in funding or ministry. He is for you, too!
Editor’s Note: Click here to read Emily’s story from the October 2013 TGIF.
Contact Emily Snyder via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.