Raising Support: The Fear of Rejection

Go. Serve. Love is giddy to welcome back Jenn Fortner, blogger at Financial Partner Development. She’s helped over 300 people get fully-funded for the ministries they’re passionate about. We’re lovin’ her expertise and doable tips.

A subject that comes up regularly in the hearts and minds of ministry workers raising their finances is that of rejection. Eeew. I know, I’m going there. We are talking about it…

Facing rejection can be daunting to even think about in the context of raising funds. Will I damage the relationship? Will they say no? Will I be awkward? Will they be awkward? Will they answer the phone? Are they screening my phone calls? Do they not like me now that I’ve asked them for an appointment? Am I annoying? Did I ask for too much? If I call them and ask to get their commitment in what will they think? I’ve absolutely had these thoughts myself and have talked with other workers about on a regular basis.

As far as actual rejection goes, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. It’s a surefire thing while raising your funds (and let me point out, while in ministry in your field), you will deal with some form of rejection. I know: shocker. It just happens.

Whether it’s the fear of rejection or actual rejection hanging you up from accomplishing your goals (or just getting in the way of this being a great season of life in ministry), here are a couple of thoughts on combating the fear of rejection, or the “no” itself. Let’s shed some light on that monster lurking in the corner.

1. People have different giving goals. sometimes it just isn’t about you. it’s about them and God.

Not everyone is meant to join your financial partnership team. And that’s okay. Tithes and offerings are a very personal thing between a person and God. For a lot of people, giving directly links them to the cause they are passionate about, and giving may be their only outlet of involvement with that cause or ministry.

Say “Joe” is very passionate about disaster relief aid, but Joe works a full time job in food service and never gets to volunteer due to a busy and irregular schedule. Thus Joe is very passionate about providing finances to several disaster relief organizations. He doesn’t have much room in his budget to give to something that doesn’t fit within that context. Then you ask Joe to financially partner with you for reaching college campuses. Joe tells you no. He just started supporting a new relief effort.

Now you have two choices:

  • You could walk away from Joe feeling defeated because he didn’t partner with you monthly. You could even feel like somehow the relationship is damaged or awkward because he said no.
  • You could walk away celebrating that Joe is able to directly influence the thing he is passionate about, just like you are by starting your journey with ministry to college campuses.

So which would you choose? Which do you normally choose? What do you automatically think when someone doesn’t give to you?

2. You don’t have to apologize

I think this is one of the most important things to remember in the midst of asking for finances. Asking someone for financial support is okay. It’s even biblical. (If you doubt that to be true, here are some verses to check out).

What you are doing is downright cool and inspiring. Seriously. You don’t have to be ashamed about telling people about Jesus. And you certainly aren’t the only one since the days of Moses who raised finances to do it.  If it means anything, I give you permission: You can be bold. You don’t have to apologize for following God’s path, and you actually get to be an inspiration for those you connect with to follow their own paths with God!

3. Perceiving rejection is typically worse than actual rejection.

What do I mean? If you’re anything like me, most of the time the real battle doesn’t even leave your own brain. Often times we become our own worst enemy when it comes to raising our finances. If you think about it, the real worst thing that can actually happen in raising your funds is asking and hearing a “no”.

However, I don’t think we should let that be the worst thing. I actually think the worst thing that happens to us is in the battle of our own minds. As we focus on perceived thoughts that may or may not be true, we become jaded. Upset. Unfocused. Unsure of our calling, Etc., etc., etc.

Avoid the troubles this creates by being clear in your asks. Let the actual “rejection” be the worst thing that can happen (because really it’s not that bad!). Truly, sometimes the fear of rejection is more real than your actual being rejected is.

4. Just because a pastor or individual doesn’t immediately call you back doesn’t mean they are rejecting you. Or mad at you.

Try to keep in mind that it’s not always about you. People have busy lives and are not as keen on raising your support as you are. Pastors are busy and have a lot of various priorities. Individuals’ lives can get busy and inboxes can get full of emails and to-dos.

Give those you try to contact a little grace and don’t give up too quickly. Don’t tell yourself they’ve said no before they have had the chance to.

If someone doesn’t connect with you after multiple attempts that’s okay. Give it a little time and try again. Maybe their season of life is a busy one.

Here’s where it may get scary: sure, maybe they don’t want to join your ministry team. But you don’t know that until they say no. Whatever the case actually is, in your assessment, try and assume the best before the worst.

And whatever you do, keep moving forward.

5. Don’t give up.

If you are reading this, it’s probably because you’re doing something awesome God has called you to. If that’s true, he’s given you everything you need for it (see 2 Peter 1:3). And he knows your obstacles and fears in the midst.

I think the main thing I have learned in my personal experiences and from coaching is simple: keep your perspective biblical. Know that God has got this. Amen? Amen.

When wrassling the monster of rejection, remember to turn the lights on. It may not be as scary as you think!

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