World Mission Speaking The Language

World Mission: Communicating With A Long-Term Attitude

In our recent Zoom panel discussion last week, one of our guests talked about the need to keep a long- term attitude or perspective as we negotiate through this COIVID-19 pandemic. This idea resonated with all of us on the panel.

Greg Kelley, CEO & President of World Mission, shared how the current COVID-19 narrative is being driven by the media; and how much of the dialogue we hear is based in fear. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) What does this mean for us as non-profit leaders? It means we need to push back against the fear and not take a defensive posture. One way Greg and his staff countered this was by developing a long-term attitude. We are in a season and it will pass. Keeping our vision in front of us is critical. The vision is everything. It is your lifeline.

Greg shared how World Mission looked for what he called a “sticky point;” something unique they could communicate to their donors and friends to counteract the current fear, or “noise” out there. Something that would cut through the clutter. World Mission is an international evangelistic mission agency. They work in underdeveloped countries with unreached people groups. So, what they discovered is that the people they serve are more concerned about starvation than being infected with the COVID virus. Hunger and survival became the “tip of the spear” for them. It took their eyes of the COVID “noise.” As they communicated with the right message, donors and friends have responded with increased giving.

In an article entitled “COVID-19 Fundraising: How Nonprofits and Higher Education Can Adapt” (, May 2020), the author states, “There is a lot of media noise, and a lot of people are looking for guardrails and foundations. Take the time to clearly re-communicate your organization’s fundamental purpose and goals to your donors. Help people to understand the enduring significance of what your organization is doing in the midst of so much uncertainty.” In other words, “double-down” on communicating vision and mission.

Remember, having a long-term attitude helps us balance our short term needs with our long-term vision. Our vision shouldn’t change, even if our needs in the short term may. Fostering and promoting this vision starts with you – the leaders. When the vision is threatened, it is no time to take a defensive posture, but to push forward. “Double down,” you will be glad you did.

Here are a few of Greg’s “sticky points” to consider:

(1) Maintain a long-term attitude. Your vision is everything.

(2) Mobilize your best team members with personal phone calls….use “ENCOURAGE, PRAY, SEED VISION”.

(3) Find a line to cut through the noise of the pandemic.  What is something that uniquely states how God is using you now? For World Mission, it is ‘the people we are serving are more concerned with starvation that getting the virus’.

(4) Be a leader.  Recognize the times we are living in and be a relevant voice. Always bring it back to vision. What distinguishes you? 

Article submitted by Kent Vanderwood, Vice President for The Timothy Group. Kent currently resides as a board member for the West Michigan chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Through his work as Development Director for The Potter’s House, Gospel Communications International, and Mel Trotter Ministries, Kent brings a wealth of experience in fundraising and development. His passion for seeing Christian stewardship principles applied in a systematic way helps the non-profit organization or ministry be successful in fulfilling its mission.

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