For the past three months I’ve been a man on a mission – a mission to raise $54,000. It’s been wild! Over the course of three months I’ve been driven to raise my own finances for a two-year worship residency at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. After what has felt like a three-month-long roller coaster ride, I sit here today fully supported. By God’s grace, I am set to leave for Austin in less than a month!
I remember sitting at my support-raising orientation in Austin when my residency director told me that I would need to assemble a team of people who would pledge monthly financial support throughout the time of my residency. “Cool, I can do that,” I thought. “No problem.” Then my director proceeded to give a ballpark number of how much money I would would need to raise in pledged funds. “Over $2,200 a month” – I remember watching the words roll off his lips in slow motion. The color left my face. It felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. Oxygen, please? I began to go through a microcosm of the five stages of grief:
- Denial: It isn’t true. I don’t really need to raise that much money.
- Anger: I’ve never made that much money – ever! How can I be expected to raise it!?
- Bargaining: Surely there must be a loop-hole to this process. I can find a way around this.
- Depression: I totally, completely despise the thought of asking other people to support me financially. This is awful.
- Acceptance: This is real. I don’t have any choice but to raise support.
I believed with all my heart that God was calling me to the residency, and so I came to what felt like a cold, cruel realization – I was going to have to raise support, and a lot of it. Talk about taking a guy out of his comfort zone!
I knew that the support-raising process would be nerve-wracking, exhausting, and challenging, and it was all of those things. But it was also so many things that I had never expected. It has been one of the most formative, humbling, and surprisingly beautiful experiences of my life. Here’s some of the things I’ve gained through the process of support-raising:
- A deep gratefulness for my supporters. I love my supporters. I was blown away by how many people were excited to hear the story of my calling into worship ministry, excited to give generously, and excited to pour out loving words of encouragement and kindness to me. I have grown so much closer to so many people through this process. My supporters have become like family to me, and I couldn’t have done it without them – they are my teammates, my tribe, and my prayer-warriors. I feel a sense of gratefulness and appreciation because of them that I have never felt before.
- A deeper trust in God. When it comes down to it, God provided the money. He owns all things, and every good gift comes from Him. $54,000 is absolutely nothing to the Master, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe. There were lots of points during the support raising process where I felt weak and unable to stand up to the task in front of me. But ultimately I trusted that God had called me to this residency, and that He would provide the means for me to get there. This process made me lean into Him and trust in His provision.
- A deeper sense of confidence. I am naturally a very timid person. But believing in God’s calling on my life gave me confidence to be bold with people. I have seen that confidence grow as I’ve trusted God and walked with Him through the uncomfortable parts of support raising.
- A deeper confirmation of Gods calling. The director of my worship residency explained how support-raising confirms God’s calling well when he said “you’ll know you’re called when you’re willing to endure the uncomfortableness, the awkwardness, the challenge of support raising. If you’re not called, you’ll give up and walk away. The called ones will follow it through until the end.” Words well spoken. When I wanted to give up, the Holy Spirit kept driving me forward in perseverance. The support-raising process has firmly sealed a sense of confirmation of God’s calling for me to this residency.
To be fully supported is an amazing feeling! It’s made me realize that God is the great giver, and that I have been the recipient of His grace. To those of you who have supported me – know that you have been God’s greatest gift to me during this process. I sit here today fully supported because of your generosity, your kindness, and your encouragement. I respect you, honor you, and cherish you. This is as much your victory as it is mine – the celebration belongs to us both! Let’s toast to God’s provision thus far, and all that He will continue to do through this residency! My mission to raise $54,000 is over, but the real journey – moving to Austin, participating in my residency, and beginning my life pastoring people through music – has just begun. I am ready for the road ahead!
*You can read more about the worship residency here.
***At the start of the next calendar year I will need several hundred dollars more per month in support to pay for increasing healthcare costs. You can sign up to give here.