I had lived in Asia for 20 years. And in that time, I met many Asian missionaries who have 1 to 3 supporters. Surprisingly these 1 to 3 supporters cover their basic needs. But we should ask the question, "How many supporters should a missionary have?" One of our supporters came to the Philippines, and I asked him to share with our staff. He is a businessman, and he gave us a unique perspective.
He told us that if you are running a business and you reached a point where you need to expand and require a loan. One of the first questions the bank will ask is your customer base. He said that if 25% of your business is from one customer, the bank will not give you a loan because you are "high risk."
We can also apply this to our support base. For example, if 25% of our support base is from one supporter, our ministry is at high risk.
For example, let's say you have four supporters giving 25% equally. Then you lose one supporter for whatever reason; you take a significant hit. So it is better to have ten supporters giving 10% each than two giving 50% each (I understand it never works out that way).
Personally, I have talked to missionaries who only had one supporter and lost their supporter. Then, they started talking about leaving the mission field because of a lack of funds.
So what does this mean?
Even if three or four supporters fully support you, you need to expand your support base. Praise God if you are one of those who are fully supported by only a few. But see that as God's grace and a time where you can expand your support base circle. Keep building your contact list and communicate with potential supporters. I know that after 25 years as a missionary, your support base will change. It always does. Some people will stop supporting, and then others will join in. But if you are not working on your support base, you cannot make it to the long hall.
Most of us, when reading the book of Philippians, don't think about what it was. It is Paul writing a letter to his supporters. He was discipling and thanking them for their support. As missionaries, let us keep lines of communication with those who support us.
If you want to learn how to build your contact list click here to read my article on how to do that.
Do you want some more support raising teaching? If so, CLICK HERE
If you need some help raising your support, please go to https://www.unmuzzledox.com/ , sign up for their blog, and read more tips on increasing your support.
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Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 27 years. He has a heart to help train and raise up missionaries to fulfill their calling. He also likes to help train missionaries to raise their own support.