Ministry Partner Prayer Circle

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

Paul’s self-disclosure in his letter teaches us four important truths about donor communication.

Would your marketing department post on social media all the troubles you are facing as a ministry? Probably not. We strive to manage our public image to make the best impression possible. Yet, Paul communicated raw, unvarnished reality about his situation. The pressures he faced pushed him far beyond his ability to cope—even to the point of giving up. It’s really refreshing to read how transparent he was about his struggles. Self-disclosure builds deep and trusting donor relationships.

The beauty of Paul’s communication is he gave God the glory for delivering him time and time again. His trials forced him to rely on God and not himself. When times are good, we tend to trust in ourselves, but when things fall apart, we rush to God to find hope in our time of need. This is true on an individual level and as a ministry. Are you trusting in God for direction through the murky times, or are you relying on your own human understanding? (see Prov. 3:5-6).

Your relationships with donors will become tighter as you share more and more information. Paul draws the Corinthians into his struggles, “as you help us by your prayers.” He considered the Corinthian believers to be partners in his work and wanted them to know everything he was going through. If you simply share general prayer requests, your donors can only pray “bless the missionaries” prayers. But if you share specific needs with urgent deadlines, your donors can wrestle with you in prayer.

Your newsletter or website are probably not the right platforms to share intimate requests. Create an insider’s prayer email and invite your key major donors to join in your spiritual battles. Do you ask for prayer or only for money? Paul asked for both. The more fervently someone prays with you, the more generously they will be prompted to give. Then, when God answers, they will give thanks with you because they are your true partners in ministry.

Think About This: Can your donors relate to you? Are you aloof and distant or warm and personal? Sharing your struggles and your joys will draw your donors closer to your heart.

Response: Lord, thank you for giving me hope through our trials. Help me learn to trust in you and not my own ability. Thank you for our ministry partners who walk with us in tough times.

Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for  Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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