Painting a Bigger Picture
Do you offer your ministry partners a bigger picture of yours (and their) role in Cru? Does your regular communication consist of sending prayer letters about what you do and maybe a Worldwide Challenge subscription? With Cru’s magazine closing shop in December, you might wonder what you’ll do now to paint a larger ministry picture.
Mike and I have always been at Cru headquarters in tech ministry. Forty-plus years ago, that meant providing help for donations, paychecks, etc., like David’s men staying with the baggage behind the front lines of battle (I Samuel 30: 21-25). Now, our ministries have a closer connection to evangelism and discipleship, but still, we’ve cultivated a mindset and a habit to encourage and inform our team of what is happening outside of our little sphere.
This eighth post in the Byte-size series is meant to help you brainstorm about some simple ideas that you could start doing to help your ministry partners have a larger view of Cru ministry.
Why? Isn’t This More Work?
I understand. You may feel hard-pressed to just get out the prayer letters you’re doing now. Hopefully, I’ll provide enough ideas so you could pick one or two that you’d consider trying. You’ll bless your team and help them grow spiritually.
As a Cru staff member, you should desire to connect your team to the ministry as a whole. They should feel a part of Cru as much as you do. If they were challenged by another staff member, would your ministry partners want to also be a part of their ministry? (Statistically, people who invest in multiple ministries actually invest at a higher rate.) If you left staff, would your team be interested in another Cru ministry to invest in?
Gathering the Paints
Of course, you need to know where to find information to share. The quickest thing to do is to follow Cru.org, FamilyLife, AIA, and others, on their ministry’s social media platforms. (Don’t forget Steve Douglass’ new site for Making Your Life Count radio.)
Additionally, go to one of my social media accounts to find a large variety of Cru ministry and staff social media sites to follow:
- 20 Cru leaders to follow
- Over 80 Facebook pages
- Cru on Twitter
- Almost 300 ministries
- Over 40 Cru leaders
- Over 50 YouTube and video links
- Almost 20 on Pinterest
- Join Bob Tiede’s 24,000 followers. He posts regularly on LinkedIn.
- Two dozen ministries on Instagram (In a browser, click on the link to open who I’m following and use “find”. Click on the “find” down arrow to quickly and easily locate these 24 ministries out of a list of 2000+) Temporarily, we can’t repost from Instagram, unfortunately.
Painting the Picture
I’m sure many of you have invited ministry partners to join you on campus or to meet at an event. Here’s my additional ideas. They’re not exhaustive…. add your comments of what you’ve done to inform and equip your donor team.
Prayer Letters and eMail
- Check on FamilyLife conferences (and other Cru events) and alert your team to what’s happening in their area. Make it a quarterly habit to check for upcoming conferences and then mailing or emailing out that information to your team in those cities.
- Encourage them to consider hosting an Art of Marriage video event or small group study.
- Share information about JESUS Film mission trips and other opportunities for them to be involved.
- Share links from Staff Training. After Cru15, I put together an email to pastors of our supporting churches with links to the six messages I thought they would appreciate. (We received thank you emails from several.)
- Mail JESUS Film DVDs and encourage your team to share them. (TIP: Use large envelopes. Padded envelopes require more postage.)
- Right now, share what AIA is doing during the Rio Olympics.
- Write a prayer letter about EveryStudent.com.
- Explain how to share their faith using the site.
- Enclose free ES.com business cards in your letter.
- Write a prayer letter explaining how to share their faith with a Cru app. Include a QR code so they can download the app. (How to create a QR code.)
Thank You Notes
- I’ve created a half sheet with a ministry story, including a closing paragraph of how we are a part of that story as well. This is inserted in every thank you note I write. I change the story in January. Since all our financial partners receive at least one thank you note annually, everyone receives a new changed-life story each year. You could do this more often, perhaps to your top donors.
- I follow over 200 ministry partners on social media. I mainly use Facebook to exchange news and prayer requests. If you don’t like Facebook, but your ministry partners do, prayerfully consider being on Facebook just for them.
- Create a Facebook Group for sharing prayer requests and news “privately”.
- Create a Facebook list to send your Cru news only to specific people.
- Share ministry news and posts from
- Cru ministries (see “Gathering the Paints”)
- Judy Douglass
- Depending on your other social media accounts, tailor what you post and share according to the social site. For instance, Pinterest users are mostly women; LinkedIn has a business feel.
- Share pins from my board of posts from Cru bloggers on Pinterest
- Share leadership posts from Bob Tiede on LinkedIn
A Not-So-Byte-Size Tip
Consider a blog for keeping your team informed. For ideas on what to post, this link shows you all the Cru topics on our ministry blog, MikeandSus.org. About half of these were also prayer letters.
Don’t forget to invite guest Cru bloggers to write for your site.
(I will be focusing on more blogging help for you in the months ahead.)
The Big Picture
I enjoyed this huge painting, Peace of Münster, when we were in Amsterdam in 2014. I’d take in the whole scene or get up close and imagine the conversation between two of the subjects. Looking today, I might even picture a ministry partner in this painting, like the man with poised pen, who is obviously very engaged with the peace agreement, but just one person in the larger scene.
The big picture you paint for your ministry partners may generate more fervent prayers and more enthusiasm for God’s Kingdom as they learn of all the creative ways He’s working in our world today.
The Byte-size Series:
Each byte-size series post is meant to be easy for you to do.
- Priority Inbox for Gmail and using lists in Facebook
- Your web presence and your online MO
- Email subject lines
- Google Apps and search tips
- You could afford a tablet
- 5 Easy Tech Ideas You Didn’t Know You Needed
- Saving Facebook Posts… for Bloggers, Too
- Painting a Bigger Picture for Your Ministry Partners
- Easy Tips for Cropping Photos with Paint.net
- Your eTools for Your Myers-Briggs Type
- Facebook Live Is an Easy Ministry Tool
This work (Peace of Münster, by Bartholomeus van der Helst), identified by Sus Schmitt, is free of known copyright restrictions.
- The Peace of Münster by van der Helst is on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The painting is over 7.5 feet tall and almost 18 feet wide. This image is available on Wikimedia Commons.
- The Byte-size series photo is of a 28-pin integrated circuit, CP2102 (USB to Serial chip).
3 thoughts on “Painting a Bigger Picture for Your Ministry Partners”
So much wonderful information, my friend. Well done. All in one place. So needed. God has gifted you with ideas of how to truly help us be more interactive with our partners. Thanks, Sus.
You’re welcome, Dayle! I was hoping this would not be overwhelming, but more of a potluck where readers could pick what they’d like to try… ‘course I’ve overfilled my plate at a potluck more times than I can count. 🙂