Are You Taking Advantage of Supporters?

Nobody likes to be taken advantage of. As pastors and church planters, we deal with the fallout when people have been misused. The last thing we want to do is turn the table on others and mistreat them. But this shadow can creep over our communication. The furious pace of church planting can cause us to take advantage of one group in particular—supporters. Here are three ways we take advantage of our supporters.

Often the primary, or only way supporters know what is going on with your church plant is through a regular written update. These most often take the form of an email. Review these three areas to ensure you are not unintentionally taking advantage of your supporters.

Church Planting Without Taking Advantage of Supporters

1. We Write the ‘9th Hour’ Update

Life is crazy. Church planting exponentially increases the mayhem. One of the most common tasks that gets shoved to the side is writing your update to supporters. We fail to plan for the amount of time we need to write our update. Or we push it off. We are left with one option. Throw something together, email it, and check it off the list.

Try the 7/15 Approach: If your update is set to go out on the last day of the month, backtrack seven days. For each one of those seven days, spend 15 minutes writing your update in the early morning. Just 15 minutes, then move on to your other tasks. Apply some of your best time in manageable chunks to this important part of your plant.

2. We Only Share What Benefits Us/Our Plant

Church planting is a ‘need factory.’ It produces all kinds of needs. If we are not careful, our monthly support can sound like a constant cry for a life preserver. The other tendency is to turn our support email into Bragging Brody. Like a chatty Kathy, “We did this and then we did this…oh, and then this happened and it was so fun.” We are not sure what is going on in the lives of our supporters when our update hits them.

Try Asking Your Supporters…about Them: Instead of one-way prayer requests or story upon story of all the amazing stuff they’re not experiencing, invite a conversation. Ask your supporters a question about their lives. And then follow-up.

3. We Write Bad or Boring Content

I’ve talked about this in several posts because I believe it is a real problem. Planters and pastors write poorly…a lot. We receive ample training for spoken communication, and a black hole for written. We will spend upwards of 12–20 hours on sermon prep, and less than one on a support update. Our supporters get the short end of the pulpit.

Try One of My Resources to Improve Your Writing: Steal My Writing Plan, Use A Free Writing App, or grab my Free Writing Mini-Kit for a guided, manageable plan to improve.

Confession

I am a pro at taking advantage of people. It is where my heart naturally begins in every situation. I am so good at it, I have my own saying. (I like to play it off as ‘tongue and cheek’…but it is not.) I say, ‘How can I help you, help me?’ Often, the easiest people for me to take advantage of are those most supportive of me. Like my wife, my family, or in this case, financial supporters.

Good News

Over and over again, I have taken advantage of Jesus. And over and over again, he has served me. He never recoils. He never puts his foot down and says, “Not till you pay me back for the other stuff.” He has provided everything I’m trying to gain when I attempt to take advantage of others for my benefit. Therefore, he frees me from needing to use others for selfish gain. I have gained all I will ever need in Him. I will never need him + something from supporters to ‘pull this off.’

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