[As part of my apprenticeship with Grace Capital City, I am raising support. This short post explains a bit about what that means to me.]
To me, support raising is about connection, reciprocity, and accountability.
Connection means that I’m not just asking you for money. I’m asking you to pray for me, to encourage me, to share insights with me. In a polarized world, I’m hoping to continue building connections with friends and family all over the world.
Reciprocity means that the giving is mutual. I hope that anyone who supports me, whether that is financial support, prayer, or encouragement, feels like they have also received from me. Whether that’s the small gifts I send my supporters or encouragement from my stories, support raising is about mutual giving.
Accountability means that I am taking your support seriously. Instead of using it as an excuse to work less, I will use it as motivation to work even harder. I’ve also felt a sense of accountability in the past to honor the generosity of others. To that end, I want to be open and transparent with my finances. If somebody is supporting me and they want to know what I’m using their support for, I will tell them. Honestly, I don’t even have a problem with people seeing my bank statements.
I have a complex relationship to support raising. In many ways, I feel uncomfortable with it because of the privilege I know it carries. Very few people in the world, and in the city I am learning to call home, have networks of friends, family, and acquaintances that can provide financial support. I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in that area. It’s uncomfortable to ask people for money when you have friends who are just barely making ends meet and sometimes aren’t able to do so.
However, I’m also faced with the reality that to work for a small and new church, like Grace Capital City (GCC), means that they aren’t able to pay me. It also means recognizing that for those same reasons, being apart of GCC will take a large time commitment, as much of what we are hoping to accomplish is still in the beginning stages.
Basically, I have come to see support raising as a very specific tactic. I am holding down two jobs, one of which will end in December. Through those I will be able to provide for the majority of my financial needs. In order to have the time to focus on working with GCC, I’ll also need to supplement my income.
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Here is my full support letter:
Dear friends and family,
As many of you know, I moved to Washington D.C. in August of 2015 to pursue an internship with a non-profit, Samaritan Ministry. After my yearlong internship was completed, I was hired full-time and eventually promoted to Lead Caseworker at one of our offices. I am excited to announce that I am stepping down from my position and will be beginning to work at the church that I attend, Grace Capital City.
Grace Capital City (GCC) is a church plant started by Grace Fellowship Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Ironically, the church plant team moved to D.C. around the same time that I did in 2015. In September, 2016, the church officially launched and has continued to grow since then. GCC offers apprenticeships for people who are interested in learning more about urban ministry through hands-on and practical experience. My time serving those in D.C. who are homeless, unemployed, and on the margins has given me a deep love for this city and the many people who call it home. In many ways, this apprenticeship is a beautiful connection between my passions of pursuing faith and justice.
Being an apprentice at GCC will give me the opportunity to assist this new church towards truly becoming a blessing to the city that we call home. It also will allow me to further develop my own sense of call towards ministry in a new context. Although I have volunteered with many different churches, this will be the first time I have had an “official” position within a church.
As you can guess, this is a major transition. I will be going from my full-time position at a well-established non-profit to an apprenticeship with a relatively new church. Although I am extremely excited about this change, it is also a transition that I know I will need support in. Through my work in international ministry, I have found that having a team of people who I can rely on for encouragement and prayer is absolutely vital. To accomplish this, I will be sending out monthly updates. If you want to receive these, please email me. I have a website, bringjustice.co, that will have updates on it as well as reflections on my work and ministry.
I am also looking for people to support this ministry financially. The apprenticeship is unpaid, although I have found two part-time jobs. In order to have the flexibility to focus on my apprenticeship, I will need to supplement my income through financial support. I am hoping to raise $1,000 per month.
Would you consider being part of my support team by committing to pray and pledging monthly support?
I have included a response card in the envelope with this letter. If possible, please fill it out and return to me at your earliest convenience.
I will follow up with you in the next two weeks so that you have time to read this and prayerfully consider. If you have questions regarding this opportunity or would like to hear more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org