In the SRS Bootcamp training on developing a ministry team (which we recommend at All Nations!), there is a story they use contrasting Lisa, an introverted woman who successfully raised and maintained her support, with Lenny, an extroverted “life of the party” guy who was unable to sustain his team.
Well, I’m Lisa, and I want to share from my perspective the role and influence of personality has on support raising.
When I first considered developing a ministry partnership team and raising support, I was tempted to believe I would be unable to do so. I privately compared myself with Steve Shadrach, who was leading the Bootcamp I attended back in 2004, and I knew I was nothing like him. I don’t have any natural inclination to recruit or woo people, and I thought that would hinder me in securing givers for my team. But I also knew God had clearly put me on this ministry path (which required raising support), and I was willing to take the risk and trust Him to provide.
Introversion Doesn’t Disqualify
What I discovered is that other factors turned out to be much more important than personality, and that introversion might actually be a tremendous blessing. As an introvert, I prefer deep, one-on-one communication, rather than the quick and superficial conversation we tend to experience at large gatherings. As I started having appointments, I realized my style perfectly fit the kind of deep heart to heart conversations I desired to have with my prospective ministry partners.
I know our society often says that extroverts are the ones who easily relate to people, and it is true that there are qualities many extroverts have that make entering into relationship easier. But please understand what healthy introversion looks like. It does not equate to shyness or inability to communicate. It simply means that our energy comes from a quiet peaceful place, while extroverts are energized by being around people—many times large groups of people.
More Important than Personality
If personality type is not the key to successful support raising, then what is? From my years of experience and observation, here are three characteristics that I feel are more important than personality, and that truly can make or break any support raiser:
1. Discipline to work hard and long
It’s making calls even when I really don’t want to, forcing myself to make “the ask”, and regularly taking time to maintain relationship and communication with supporters. By God’s grace, I was able to make a support team cultivation plan and stick with it. Almost every week I take a few hours to write birthday or anniversary cards, to prepare a prayer email, or design a newsletter. So you come up with a strategy too. Don’t give up on it. Find someone who can help you follow through if this is not your strength!
2. Conviction about God’s leading and goodness
Having confidence in the guidance and goodness of God is what helped me forge ahead through discouraging and uncomfortable times. That means going to Jesus when I receive disappointing responses from my asks. It entails coming back and trusting Him to do His part – and believing that whatever the outcome, He is my loving Father and will always work for my good. I will certainly ask, and do my part in obedience to His leading, but I know He’s the only one who can give the needed provision.
3. Effective communication
This looks like taking the (sometimes painstaking) time to prepare a creative presentation that will invite people into the story God is drawing me into. It needs to have a good flow, easy to understand context, and communicate vision and practical action they can take.
God Says Yes
These things may or may not come naturally for both introverts and extroverts. Don’t be discouraged if you feel you don’t possess a certain personality type. In the end, I believe God says YES to the prayer in Hebrews 13:20-21, that He will equip us with everything good for doing His will. His promise is for extroverts as well as introverts alike! He gives us what we need – maybe in ourselves, or maybe through our community. Let’s keep believing and following Him, knowing that He is gracious and that He has not made any mistakes in the gifts and strengths He has given each of us.
Interested in learning more about joining All Nations, or curious how you can be part of a team to send others well? Check out our journey to the nations, upcoming trainings, Prayer Corps, and SendersU!