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Posts Tagged: strategy

Why Not Read Less of the Bible This Year?

Dec. 16, 2016By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

From Garrett Kell on his threefold plan:

First, I plan to read the passage that will be preached on the next Lord’s Day. If I’m preaching this will be a necessity since I’m hoping to live better than I preach, but if I’m not preaching, I plan to study ahead to get the most out of the sermon.

Second, I plan to pick one Bible book a month to study deeply. In January, a friend and I are studying Amos. For the month we will read and re-read it. We plan to outline it, chart it, and memorize portions of it. Then in February, I’ll select another book with a similar approach, though hopefully improved by January’s attempt. By doing this I’m able to meditate deeply on one book, something I felt I was missing in other seasons of my life. Some months I may do two books if they are short (i.e. Haggai, Obadiah, Philemon, 2 and 3 John).

Third, I plan to read other books of the Bible in one sitting throughout the year. To avoid neglecting other portions of the Scriptures, I have a list of the books of the Bible in my journal and plan to regularly step away for an hour or two throughout the year and just read them straight through.

Read the whole thing here.

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Raising Support: Should You Ask People To Pray But Not Financially Support You

Jul. 21, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

There are roughly three different fundraising philosophies Christians follow when they raise support. They are:

  • No information, no solicitation approach
  • Full information, no solicitation approach
  • Full information, full solicitation approach

2967554597George Muller made the first approach famous. He claimed that he never asked anyone for any money, though he did spend four decades telling stories of God's provision to crowds around the world. One may question Muller's style here. If you had a world-wide audience, where at the end of every message you ended with telling them you never asked anyone for money, what do you think would happen? Muller had so much money he had to give it away - much of which was given to Hudson Taylor!

Hudson Taylor and CT Studd made the second approach well known, and it dominated the majority how missionaries viewed the solicitation of funds in the modern missions movement. It was later called the "faith principle." Missionaries would go out, share prayer requests, but never say how much they actually needed. They just prayed and asked God to meet their needs. Lillias Trotter, founder of Algers Missions Board also took this approach. Read this letter for example to see how this played out.

The third way is seen most clearly in DL Moody, who would write and personally ask people to invest money into the work of Christ's Church. Today most missionaries and those who operate on support take this approach, though I believe many wish approach two worked better!

I would say that most missionaries today fall between approaches two and three. Many do not enjoy asking people for money directly, so they send out support letters with reply cards, but will not ask someone face to face to support them financially.

Here is the crux of the issue - why is it ok for pastors to preach on giving and churches to challenge their people to be generous, but not ok for a missionary to ask directly for people to be generous? Muller's approach was passive aggressive. I am asking but not asking. Hudson Taylor and CT Studd were the same - here are our needs, pray about them, but we are not going to ask you to meet them. We are asking God.

The Bible never says that asking people to pray is good, but asking to give is not. It feels manipulative asking people to just pray when everyone knows full well I need financial support. Joining your support team (for whatever you are doing) is a chance for someone to invest in something with eternal consequence. Do you believe in the mission enough to have someone else invest?  What better return on investment would you need in order to ask people to invest?

 

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Let the Buyer Beware

Jun. 10, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

sponsor-a-missionary

Craig Ott offers some advice on what is becoming the popular practice of supporting national pastors and missionaries:  

  1. Western support of native workers is a model that national churches cannot reproduce.
  2. Such a strategy is based on the assumption that the spread of the gospel depends on money.
  3. It can create dependency and stunt giving in national churches.
  4. Heavy dependence on Western funds can reinforce feelings of inferiority.
  5. Western support can create a mercenary spirit among nationals.
  6. Foreign paid workers are not always more effective, and sometimes are even less effective and credible than lay workers.
  7. It can rob the national church of the joy of being a truly missionary church.
  8. Employing national missionaries may not be the bargain it appears.
  9. Sending money instead of missionaries comes dangerously close to compromising the very essence of the Great Commission.

Read the whole article here.

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Fun Friday: It's Better To Do Things in Groups

Apr. 25, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio
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Strategy Mistakes

Apr. 26, 2012By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Here is another interesting article by Justin Long.  In it he takes five common strategy mistakes that Joan Magretta listed in an article in Harvard Business Review and applies them to missions.  The mistakes are:

  1. Confusing marketing with strategy.
  2. Confusing competitive advantage with "what your're good at."
  3. Pursuing size above all else, because biggest=more profitable.
  4. Thinking that "growth" or "reaching $1B in revenue" is a strategy.
  5. Focusing on high-growth markets, because that's where the money is.
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