Once again, I’m reading the first five books of the Bible.  Again, I’m struck by God’s continual attention to detail in regard to how to live our lives.  God doesn’t mind if we endeavor to uncover the secret to success in his kingdom.  In fact, Proverbs tells us that it is God glory to have secrets; it is man’s glory to uncover the answer to those secrets. 

At The Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, we have taken years to develop a financial base for our programs.  Most of this support comes from local congregations.  Developing trust from the pastor of a church is vital.  However, once you have an audience with the congregation or the missions committee, you will need to understand the rules that govern this interplay.

If you are meeting with a missions committee, they will give you a five to fifteen minute time slot.  DO NOT–under any circumstances–overreach that time period.  Speak in less time than you are given.  Then stop talking but do not move.  There will be questions.  Wait patiently for them. 

During the question and answer session, watch the clock.  As soon as your time runs over, apologize.  You can say, “I’m sorry.  I know my time is up.  I’d be thrilled to stay here all night answering questions and I’d love every minute of it.  But you have families at home.  You’ve worked all day.  I want to answer all your questions but please let me know when I’ve talked enough.”  Again, don’t leave your seat but wait for other cues.  If there are no more questions, get up immediate.  Thank the committee for their time and for considering your ministry.

Understand some things.  Begin and end your presentation by thanking them for allowing you to speak to them.  These people have worked all day.  They aren’t being paid for their time.  They do have families waiting for them.  Some of them didn’t have time for supper because they had to get a meal for their husbands and children.  They are volunteers. 

In addition, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that there are thousands of ministries who would beg for the opportunity you have to speak to this committee.  They have a limited amount of money and that money needs to go to places that are sound doctrinally and fiscally.  They are cheering for you.  They want to support you but you must prove that you are worthy of their attention and their committee’s financial support.

Remind them that you need their prayers.  Whether you get financial support from them or not, someone will remember to pray for you and that is much more vital than a few coins.  The finances will come, if you have prayer support. 

What have been some of your good experiences with mission committees?  What are some of your bad experiences with missions committees?