Before planting a church in Ithaca, NY, Elizabeth and I had begun two university ministries; one at the University at Albany and a second at Cornell University. During that period, we were bi-vocational and also raised ministry support. Eventually, the church we planted grew, I received a salary and was relieved that I would never need to raise support again!
Of course a decade later, when our family prepared to move to Dublin in 2012, we found ourselves again needing to raise monthly support. We entered the process with some trepidation. As we began approaching friends about partnering with us financially, we were reminded, of what in my mind is one of the key benefits of building a team of ministry partners; having a group of people who care deeply about you, and what you do.
Our church was in a university town in NY, and we were consistently saying goodbye to good friends. Sharing our call to Dublin allowed us to reconnect with people we hadn’t seen in 10 or 20 years. Everyone understands that we all need money to have a place to live, feed our family, and deal with the other necessities of life. But what we have discovered through this process is how important it is to have a group of people who love you and care about you and your family and the work you do.
Jesus said that where your money is, your heart will be as well. And we have found that to be true in so many ways (surprise, Jesus was right!). Some of our ministry partners keep up on the news in Ireland, and while that may seem like a small thing, it is encouraging because it demonstrates their investment in what happens here. Likewise, it reassures us that we have a group of friends who are praying for and thinking of us regularly! That is amazing!
I share that because I want to tell a quick story about Giving Day. Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes feel like I am bothering people when I talk about money. Yet when we began sharing stories of the impact Giving Day was making in our lives, many of our ministry partners would ask about it out of the blue. “Will you be having a Giving Day again this year?” “Please remind us about Giving Day.” Again, it is so encouraging to have a group of amazing people who are pulling for you and the work you are doing!
Because of the generosity of our ministry partners, Giving Day has been a tremendous blessing to our family. It has allowed us to have a solid financial foundation. And even more importantly, it has been a reminder that we have friends on this journey with us.
This Giving Day, I hope you will consider making a gift to the missionary with whom you have partnered. Maybe even send them a note to let them know how much they and what they do matter to you. Thank you!!