There is no Fun in Fundraising
I love my job as a children's director! I get to dress up, act silly, play games, and share the gospel. But I hate asking people to volunteer. I mean, I am totally fine getting up in front of the church and make an announcement that I need volunteers, but if you've ever worked in ministry, you know that does not work. Very VERY few people will sign up after hearing a general announcement. So every event I have at the church, I hunt down people that I think would do a good job with the certain task I have in mind, and corner them. I would honestly rather just do everything myself than have to corner people and beg for their time. A lot of times I do just end up doing it myself. Well, fundraising is exactly that but instead of asking people to volunteer their time, I am asking people to volunteer their money; naturally they are more hesitant. But this is a job I cannot default to doing myself. Fundraising is not Fun!
The evil one tends to try and find your weak spots and attack full force, especially if you are doing something for the Lord. That is exactly what he is doing to Layne and me. My weak spot is my confidence, I will worry and fear that I cannot do the task at hand. But every time I start to feel discouraged God shows how I am not the one doing it, He is.
In addition to all these, hold up your shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
I am in the middle of teaching the Armour of God to my students on Wednesday nights. For the shield of faith, I told the story of Job. As I shared the story I gave them toy shields and threw water balloons at them to represent the fiery arrows of the evil one. The kids help up their shields and barely got a sprinkle of water on them. This was a perfect picture of how faith works. Recently, I started to worry that we aren't going to get enough supporters. I'm literally terrified that the supporters we do get will stop giving shortly after we get up there. And I think there is no way that we will get $6700 in up front gifts. But then God comes in a still small voice. Some examples; 1) We gained two more supporters this week, one of them we don't even know who they are. 2) We made over $1000 at a yard sale and trust me I did not own $1000 worth of stuff to sell. 3) I made over $900 worth of sales online when I usually never make more than $500 a month and the month isn't even over yet!
Man don't we serve an awesome God?! Satan was hurling those fiery arrows at me. Arrows of doubt, stress, and a lack of confidence. But if you put your faith in God and not in yourself then those fiery arrows won't phase you.
So why do we need support? Well I am glad you asked!
So we currently live in Cape Girardeau County; in small town, Jackson. We are moving to Calgary, Alberta Canada to become full time missionaries; acting as church planting team members. Calgary is a large thriving city with ample opportunity for thriving careers. It is considered one of Canada's wealthiest cities too, with a prime oil industry. The cost of living in Calgary is about 67% higher than Cape Girardeau. Now, we will have the advantage of an exchange rate of $1USD:$1.35CAD, but will lose that advantage to a crazy tax rate of 35% (thank you social insurance).
Layne is big into Dave Ramsey. If you're familiar with Dave Ramsey, you'll know what I mean when I say I married the biggest nerd ever!! I was the freest spirit ever but Layne has brought me down to earth a bit. I guess I'm still working on him. Anyway, Layne has put the numbers together, talked to people currently living in Calgary and figured out that a budget of $5400 a month is a very frugal number for a family of three. I understand that this seems like a huge number. For me, it is extremely daunting. But as we look at the numbers we realize they were not taken lightly and we are trying to be very intentional with every purchase.
For example, we plan to live right in the midst of the people we want to be witnessing to, so right in the city. Unlike Cape Girardeau, the people of Calgary are not willing to travel more than 10 minutes for anything. This city is very community oriented, they have everything they need within walking distance of their houses; schools, parks, dining, shopping, etc. So in order to effectively witness you must come to them because they will definitely not come to you. We want to build relationships with our neighbors that are close to the church so that we can invite them to church. We also want to host Bible studies in our home, another reason to be close by. So we plan to live in the Southwest Quadrant of the city, near the Theater that Multiply Church meets in. For that area, a two bedroom apartment averages at $1500 a month. :O
Another example of taking full advantage of witness opportunity is in transportation. Layne and I have decided to go down to one car. Partly to save on insurance and gas etc. but mainly because Calgary has a great public transportation system. In terms of convenience, we would much rather just have two cars, but more importantly, we want to be on that train with our neighbors. For Layne that could be up to an hour to and from work every day that he could be using for sharing the Gospel. The monthly cost for a train pass is $100 per person. ($300/mo for the family)
One more example; We hope to obtain a YMCA membership. It is not like we can go to the park all year round, its flipping cold! So our pastor advised that a YMCA membership is our opportunity to connect with families. It is $85 a month.
These are just a few examples of how we are planning to be right in the middle of opportunity. Just by getting to know someone on the train or our kids playing together at the YMCA are the exact moments to develop a relationship with someone so that we can share the love of Jesus.
So how are we going to get $5400 a month?
Layne is praying to find a full time job, he is already filling out applications. But just in case, we accounted for him starting at minimum wage, which in Calgary is roughly $15. Leaving $3700 of that $5400 budget still needing to be covered, somehow. I am employed by Multiply Church working as the children's ministry director. That means teaching on Sunday mornings, planning kids outreach events etc. While working on things from home, I will be raising babies, (Thaddeus and maybe another one down the road) Now if we desperately need to, I will find another part time job but we figured that even if I find a job I would pretty much be working to pay for daycare. Therefore it's best to just stick with Multiply so I can focus on our purpose for living there in the first place.
So, Multiply Church is a brand new church plant whose funds are provided by fellow Christian supporters in the U.S. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) requires that we raise our own funds through them. Now you might be thinking that you already support the North American Mission Board through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. If you are, thats awesome and we thank you for that, but the fact is that if NAMB designated those funds towards all the missionaries they have in the field there wouldn't be enough to go around. So instead they use the money they gain through Annie Armstrong to fund the Missionary Service Core (MSC). The MSC is the program used to train future missionaries on how to raise their own funds. Plus they provide the service through which we get access to those funds (so my online give button.) They also do some online classes, which I've already finished, and one live training session, which is why Layne and I are going to Portland in June.
How does the giving work?
So as a supporter, you choose an amount to give (monthly or one time) to the MSC through NAMB's website (or mail a check to NAMB with my Fund ID "ZW47NG-Wilson,Emily" written on the check) . They will then give those funds to Multiply Church, then Multiply would write me a paycheck every month. This is the best way to keep it legal for both U.S. and Canada.
How Much should a Supporter Give?
As mentioned before our monthly goal is to raise $3700 per month. We translated that to 150 individuals giving $25/mo. We thought this was a decent amount to ask without asking too much. $25 is easy for most families, its like one less trip to McDonalds. Of course we do not want to limit anyone to $25. You could choose to be the one who provides the bus pass for one of us, or maybe the YMCA membership. Really it is however much you feel led to give. We want you to pray about it and make the decision very carefully.
Why Should I give?
I cannot tell you enough how grateful we are for this opportunity, we are so humbled that God has chosen us to be part of the Light in Calgary. I definitely do not feel qualified but I am willing and that is all God is asking of me. But I cannot stress the fact enough that the support is not for me, or Layne, or even Thaddeus. If we wanted a comfortable life, we would do anything else. So this funding is for the Lord. It is an investment in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not everyone is called to move to a different country, nor should they because there is plenty of work to be done wherever you are. The truth is that there is not enough people to do the work in Calgary. There are 1.6 million people living in Calgary, and only 5% of them claim to be Born Again. The North American Mission Board currently has 8 churches there, which is not enough for such a large city. We are the goers but we need the senders. You may not be there physically but when you join us in prayer or as a financial partner then you are just as much a part of this ministry as we are.
When and How long Should I give?
We do ask that you take time, pray and ask God how you can help in this but we do want to ask that as soon as you decide to give, then please start now. NAMB will not let us go unless we have the proof of the income. So even though we aren't planning on making the move until August you can start giving now and the extra funds will be a cushion for if/when someone stops giving or a need within the ministry comes up.
As for how long, the Lord only knows. We hope to be there long term because that is what is really needed in Calgary but w
e are going to be obedient to Gods calling; so if God calls home within a year or so, we will come home. If God calls us to stay 5-10 years, we will stay. If God calls us to permanently stay, then guess what, Calgary is where we will stay. NAMB gives an option to choose a time frame, so if you'd like to choose two years then reevaluate you totally can. But rest assured that NAMB will cease your payments if God does call us back sooner than we thought.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
The success of our call is dependent on your generosity. We are so grateful for each and every one of you that prayerfully decides to support the work in Calgary. We could not do it without you!