more questions about college ministry funding

Yesterday, I noted a few questions that had arisen in my own curious mind about one of the BIG, vital aspects of collegiate ministry: finding the funds to get the job done. Today, I continue with a few more Qs for all of us, beginning with one I wish I didn’t have to ask.

4. What is your reaction to those who are funded differently from you? Is there any legalism or pity mixed in there?

Heartbreaking: Some college ministers on BOTH sides of the personal support-raising fence seem to look at those on the other with actual disdain! I think some have adopted homemade rules about how funding should happen, based either in biblical principles or personal experiences. Do you hold those in contempt who have to raise funds – or those who don’t raise funds? Are they “lesser” ministers / missionaries?

But others struggle not with judgment but with (wrongful) pity, especially regarding those (in the clear majority) who do raise their support personally. When I talk to college ministers raising their full support (even for decades and decades), they often report that it’s a wonderful life they lead.

And for those who have received funding through other means, that, too, can be celebrated! Right?

5. Are there a bunch of alternate funding sources we’re missing here?

As you may know, this is a pet hope of mine: That we might find many opportunities to help fund college ministry work and college ministry workers in creative (and even sometime ministry-enhancing) ways. This isn’t to supplant “Ministry Partner Development,” tithes at churches, or endowments and donations at Christian colleges. But could some kind of “entrepreneurial enterprises” or other creative models enhance the work we’re doing? I haven’t seen too much, although NewChapter has one strong idea in this area – and I myself was heavily funded this way for a couple of years.

I still figure there have got to be more options. Lots of ’em, even.

6. Have you collaborated with others to gain funding wisdom?

We should collaborate on this issue, even with those outside of our organizations or branches of college ministry. Obviously. Even if we never switch to others’ models of fund development, others’ models for funding could easily offer us wisdom and “tweaks” for our own.

7. Is the mission you share compelling enough that supporters share your mission with others?

This was another main point in the talk (given by Cru NE Regional Team dude Ryan McReynolds) that I described yesterday. You and I believe that college ministry is exciting, world-changing, and undervalued, right? So are we telling that AWESOME TALE in such a way that others “get it”… and get it enough to spontaneously share the story, too?

It’s not easy to get good at our story-sharing. But it’s so, so worth it, that we might receive all the “ministry partnership” (in finances and otherwise) we possibly can!

written from Charlottesville, VA


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Exploring College Ministry Road Trip 13: Day 51 recap
recap: a rainy day of exploring the Cavalier tribe of UVA (see all explorations so far)
T-shirts: the Billiken (!) tribe of Saint Louis University
tuesday: I begin to head home… Probably past Nashville by the time I stop tomorrow!


  1. Pingback: The Hidden Costs of Support Raising « the SENTinel

  2. This is a topic that certainly is worthy of our discussion, and brainstorming.

    I am enabled, financially, to do campus ministry full-time through the generosity of many churches and individuals. Prior to being a 100% support-based campus minister, I was a 100% support-based missionary to Africa. All together, I’ve been doing the support raising thing for 11 years now.

    I’ll go on record…I love being 100% support-based. I’ll admit though, I have my days when life is not so good, but that is usually because my focus is out of whack. When I view support raising the way it should be viewed, then all of life is well.

    There are at least two traps into which we can fall.

    Trap #1: Not viewing support raising as actual ministry.

    Support raising is a very important part of my ministry, it is not something I do in addition to ministry. I am not only a minister to college students, but I am also a minister to many individuals, and a few churches, who support college ministry. Forgetting this truth leads frustration with the time spent on support raising.

    Time and time again I have seen that the things that are happening on campus (or in the far away space of Turkana, Kenya) are inspiring for the people who support our service. They see, through us, how God is at work, and it encourages them and motivates them to live more fully for God. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this aspect of my ministry.

    Trap #2: Not trusting God to do what He’s promised to do.

    God is the one responsible for, and in control of, raising my support…not me. That being said, I do have to do my part.

    I think I’m a pretty decent support raiser, though I need to be careful not to take any glory from God. He does it all! He raises up our support, daily! But I am willing to do my part. I work hard, I communicate vision, and I truly enjoy meeting new people and asking them to be a part of what God is doing through us.

    Support raising is not for everyone. But, with the right attitude, and not lacking the call of God, we can find success through it.

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