Poor Language Could Be Costing Us Laborers

Poor Language Could Be Costing Us Laborers

Have you ever caught yourself on staff saying any of the following?

“I can’t go with y’all; I don’t have any money right now.”

“Does someone want to give me a ticket to this game? Because I’m broke, but I really want to go.”

“I hope a ministry partner will donate a car to me because mine is falling apart, and I  don’t have the money to buy a new one.”

“I’d rather just eat Raman noodles and peanut butter and  jelly than have to work on  support.”

“I’m letting my hair grow long for now because I don’t have money for a haircut.”

One of the biggest hurdles that college students face when thinking about joining staff is the reality that they will need to trust God to raise their own financial support. Sadly, we as staff members make this hurdle taller for college students (or anyone for that matter) by the way we talk about our finances and financial support in  front of them.  I’ve heard many of those statements listed above from the mouths of staff in front of students or via Facebook comments/statuses. How sad.

Money may be tight at times, and you may go through seasons of short paychecks or choose to not go to a movie because of the lack of cash flow. What we need to consider is how we talk about those things in front of students. We need to stop having a “poor  me”  mentality and avoid dropping comments here and there to get free stuff. Sure, it’s great  to have a ministry partner who’s a dentist on your team and treats you for free, or a couple who wants to give you their car. But we don’t need to have the “poor  me”  mentality with the hope/expectation that we will get some free stuff thrown our way. It comes across negatively to partners and students. The message we send is, “I’m  a  loser.”

Instead of talking about the negative aspects of finances in front of students, let’s share great examples of how God IS providing! Don’t hide that you enjoyed a nice dinner out with family, or that you had a great singles vacation for which you saved regularly.

 Here are a few suggestions that can help change a student’s view about staff who live on support:

1. Cover the bill! When with a small group of students, spring for all of their lunches or buy an appetizer for the table. It helps them see that we have money and aren’t pinching pennies all the time. I  bought all of my table’s shakes at Steak & Shake on a summer project one night, and a student shared later that summer with me about how significant that was for her to see that God provided money for staff, even to a point where they could bless others.

2. Don’t  dress like a slob, and stay somewhat current with fashion trends. In some places this really communicates to students.

3. Offer to drive when possible instead of always hopping into a car with a student.  If  you can’t drive, give the student driver some cash! A staff friend of mine, Lori Joiner, got new car from a ministry partner (a total surprise and shock), and she loved packing her car full of students for retreats, etc. She used this as an opportunity to share how God provides for us through ministry partners in amazing ways!

4. Generously support students to go on Summer Projects or scholarship them to Winter Conference. Often they are afraid to ask staff because they think we don’t have money.  Help to change their perspective.

5. Be intentional about mentioning positive support stories around students.

Let’s make a concentrated effort around the nation in how we talk about money and support, knowing that this mindset shift could help more and more students want to consider laboring full time with us in helping to fulfill the Great Commission!


* Photo courtesy of the National Library of Wales (Flickr Creative Commons).

Poor Language Could Be Costing Us Laborers
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6 Responses to Poor Language Could Be Costing Us Laborers

  1. Shawn McGrath says:

    Great stuff Ali. Thanks for putting this out there for us. Good to take inventory on what message we’re sending when talk about (and live out) finances. Shawn

    • Sanjay says:

      2009/08/13This has to be one of the all-time greatest avministratide resources for missionaries. Several years ago we were buried under the management of supporter tracking and information. Like many, we were managing our support tracking, communication, prospective donor management, etc. in several different places (Outlook, Excel, etc.) and frustrated with the multiple steps we had to go through for something as simple as an address change. We looked at corporate contact management solutions including ACT and Goldmine, but they were cost prohibitive and would take a lot of work to customize for our needs. Then someone turned us on to TntMPD. It was a free download, so my expectations we’re that high. Many free software resources in the mission world are good tools, however they normally sacrifice usability, reliability, and support. They are usually written for one person’s specific purposes and not always so easy to adapt to someone else’s needs. But TntMPD breaks all of these stereotypes.TntMPD is a reminder that God DOES provide for our needs as missionaries. This package is simply AMAZING!! It did everything I was looking for plus about 50 things more! It is extremely easy to use, extremely robust, very flexible, and well supported.It will manage all of our contact information, track donations, automatically schedule Thank You tasks, manage your mailings lists (snailmail + email), and on, and on. If you’re in the process of deputation and support raising, it is an incredible tool to track prospective supporters through every phase of the contact process. It also really shines in its ability to group your supporters together by region, church, family, or any other of the 999 ways there are to manage your contacts.It does take some time to set up all of your contacts, especially if you have a large mailing list or supporter base. But take the time to do it. It is well worth the time investment. Once done, it will be easy to manage EVERYTHING in one place AND integrate seemlessly with MS Office (Outlook, Word, Excel) to easily send out communications from one place.Another added bonus is that it is used by several large mission organizations so they can automatically sync monthly support and change information directly with your copy of TnTMPD. Check with your mission this can literally save you hours of work!And to think it is provided free of charge is simply incredible. It is not a crippled, trial version nor are there nag screens or lack of support if you don’t pay anything. TntMPD is a perfect example of of someone using their resources for the Lord with no expectation in return. But once you do use it, I’m sure you will be compelled to send a thank you gift to the author.Thanks for Troy for providing TntMPD to the mission community. You are helping advance the Kingdom in ways you’ll never know. Keep up the good work!!

  2. Ali Enos says:

    Thanks Shawn! Appreciate the feedback!

  3. Ellis Goldstein says:

    Well said, Ali!

  4. Zachary Cattell says:

    Thanks for posting this Ali, it is convicting. As I read, I could easily recall many times that I’ve mentioned something along those lines to students. Wise words!

  5. Ali Enos says:

    Thanks, Ellis and Zachary for your comments! Usually when I write/blog it’s about things The Lord has convicted me about/changed my heart and attitude in. Glad you found it helpful!

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