Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Let's be honest - we've all been there. We've wondered if doing something (or not doing something) will make someone want to stop supporting us. And that makes sense if you're a supported missionary - these decisions effect your life in a very tangible way.
One of the most common times I've seen staff worried about involving their partners in the ministry is when it comes to events with a financial appeal. Let me be direct in saying this: inviting your supporters to an event that includes an appeal will not hurt you - it will help you!
I think the main reason we, as staff, are afraid of this is because we think that they're going to hear an exciting opportunity to give and think, "That's more exciting than giving to Joe Summers, I think I'll just change where I'm giving." Or maybe we're worried that they won't like what they hear - they'll tell themselves, "I didn't know this is what Joe was doing. I'm out!"
When you turn that line of thinking around, though, it just doesn't make sense. Think about yourself - you might support another missionary and you're hopefully at least giving to your local church. What are the chances that, if that person invited you to a Vision Dinner, you would decide to stop supporting them? If you're like me, it's pretty much zero. And that's what we've seen historically at events like this - staff almost never regret inviting a partner to an event and when they do it isn't because they lost their support.
When you turn that line of thinking around, though, it just doesn't make sense.
I'm going to take it one step further, though, and give you a few potential ways that inviting your partner to an event can help your support.
Your partner will get greater vision for the work you're doing and get more excited about being on your ministry team. As a matter of fact, they may actually choose to increase their commitment to your ministry - it's a story I've heard countless times! That leads me to my second point.
If your event is following the scripts for a financial appeal that we've provided on TeamGold, then the person on stage will actually take time to ask everyone to consider increasing (we specifically suggest 'doubling') their support before they give a gift tonight. Inviting a partner to an event like this is guaranteed to challenge them in a respectable way to increase their support and implores them to not redirect any giving.
I actually recommend that staff invite people they'd like to ask for support to an event like this. "Woah, woah, woah," you're thinking, "that's too far! You want me to let someone else ask them first?? They'll have just given a gift at the dinner - why would they give again to me?" I, personally, have treated our local Vision Dinner like an MPD appointment. It's an easy, low-stress way to teach your friends about your ministry and why it's worth funding, so it provides an easy transition afterward to say, "Hey, I'd love to meet with you sometime to talk more about our ministry."
So don't fall victim to the myth that it will hurt your support to invite your partners to any ministry event. I've seen time and time again that the people who are most proactive about providing their ministry team with passive and active ways to get engaged in the ministry are the ones with the best support.