A Paradigm Shift: From Donors to Lifelong Ministry Partners

By Gaylyn Williams, , , , , , , , , With 0 comments

A Paradigm Shift: From Donors to Lifelong Ministry Never Do Fundraising AgainPartners

A paradigm is “a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline,” according to thefreedictionary.com.* Most people don’t stop and consider what their paradigms are. However, they determine attitudes, actions, and perspectives on life and situations. They determine everything about how you live. They determine your success or your failure.
You have to choose to be intentional about what paradigms you want to adopt. Many missionaries have always done “fundraising” in certain ways and looked at people who support them as “donors.” In this book, we are offering a new paradigm. You need to decide if you want to adopt it or not. We know it works, because we have seen it work for both us over the last fifty-five years.
Our young family moved to a tiny Guatemalan village of San Sebastian Coatán. Within a couple of years, I learned the language well enough to begin translating the Scriptures into the Chuj dialect spoken by the Mayans who lived there.
One day I sat at my desk in my ten-foot by ten-foot adobe office, beginning to study Paul’s letter to the Philippians in preparation for translating it. I had no idea that God would permanently change my life as I came to grasp the significance of this letter. It hit me that this was truly a Holy Spirit-inspired missionary letter written to a group of believers who were partners in missions! This book wasn’t just inspired as a “book” to study, but it was meant to be “profitable [to us as missionaries] for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16–17) so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, including being missionaries.
I’ll share in more detail later, but the first thing that caught my attention was the Greek noun koinonia in Philippians 1:5 (and the related verb, koinoneo in 4:15). Koinonia means partnership, participation, communion, communication and fellowship. In 1:5, Paul thanked God “because of your partnership [koinonia] in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Philippians 4:15 says, “You Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only” (italics added).
Why did Paul use this term to describe his relationship with the Philippians? He saw his relationship with his partners as giving and receiving. It was not just them giving and him receiving.
I asked myself, Am I in true koinonia with those who support us? The answer was no! I’m getting far more than I’m giving. God convicted me with His Word. That day I determined to be corrected and trained by His Word, and chose to live out this koinonia. I sought to learn how to give back to our partners as they had given to us.
Thus began a journey which eventually brought me into a delightful new view of missionary support—a paradigm shift from traditional thought, especially in that era.
Do you need to change your paradigm on raising your support?
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Blessings on you as you get to know God,
Co-author of Never Do Fundraising Again: A Paradigm Shift from Donors to Lifelong Partners.   This is a great resource for any missionaries, short-term or long-term, who have to raise their support. © 2012 Relationship Resources, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Look what one mission leader said about Never Do Fundraising Again:
 “This book is a wonderful description of biblical partnership for ministry! Gaylyn and Ken share a very practical and God-honoring lifestyle of relating to ministry partners that goes far beyond fundraising. I heartily recommend this resource to all involved in ministry today.”
—Paul Lere, International Training Partners