Too much missionary mail?
It can be frustrating to get too much missionary mail, especially if half of it is asking for money. I know, because I get mail from various Christian ministries that I support. But though I receive more missionary mail than I can respond to, my perspective as a mission leader keeps me from becoming frustrated or less interested in their ministries because of it. It never occurred to me to explain my perspective to you, but a recent letter has motivated me to do just that.
Dear David Brickner,
My wife and I faithfully support one of your missionaries every month as we do for several other missionaries and ministries. It seems that at least once a month you send us a mailing asking for more support for a different project. In my opinion you are going to the well too often. I find it irritating and am tempted to send my monthly support elsewhere. I doubt I am the only person who feels this way.
Please remove us from your mailing list.
My policy is to answer all complaints addressed to Jews for Jesus and I want to share my answer to this one with you. If you’ve ever felt as these donors do, I hope reading this will help.
Shalom and thank you for your recent letter.
First, thank you for your faithful support since September 2014. You have been so generous, and even if you never give another gift we will be forever grateful.
I also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to know how you feel so I can respond. For that I am also grateful. We have followed through on your request to be removed from our mailing list, but I hope what I’m about to tell you might change your mind.
We do send out letters from our headquarters requesting donations approximately once a month, (though never more than that). We call these appeal letters. We send them in addition to our monthly newsletters which, I think you know, do not include requests for funds but are designed to inspire, inform and educate our friends in the Jews for Jesus family. Plus, if someone gives a donation they also receive a receipt in that month, with a letter of thanks from me.
So it is possible to receive up to three pieces of mail from us in any given month, though only one appeal. For some, that is too much, but we truly don’t want to send you any unwanted mail—in fact, we want to do our best to prevent sending unwanted mail whenever we can. You actually have many options in managing the amount of mail we send you.
You can request to have no appeal letters sent to you at all, and we are happy to arrange that. You can also choose to receive appeal letters four times a year—or even just once a year. Some of our friends have even asked to receive our newsletter quarterly or annually instead of monthly, and we can accommodate that as well. Other donors request no receipt for their donations. In each case we are happy to oblige.
Perhaps you might be willing to consider adjusting the amount of times you hear from Jews for Jesus rather than choosing not to hear from us at all. I really hope you will.
So why do we send out appeal letters for different projects once a month to all except those who request fewer (or zero) appeals? First, because we have at least that many special projects that need prayer and funding. Second, many of our donors only give when we ask, and they appreciate the reminder that appeals provide. And third, most people will get excited about one project and not another—and since we don’t know which they will want to support, we tell them about each one.
We don’t expect anyone to respond to every letter and we certainly don’t want anyone to feel pressured. In fact, we have always told our donors to support their local church first before ever giving to Jews for Jesus. Actually, giving to a local church serves as a good model for this subject.
People who are active in their local church usually attend several services a month. Many churches pass an offering plate at each service or special event, but that doesn’t mean people feel personally pressured to give each time the plate goes by. Some choose to give once or twice a month depending on when they are paid. Some prefer to give online, so they let the plate pass them by each and every time. Probably most churchgoers don’t feel irritated when the offering plate is passed. If they have already given what they intend to for the month, they just let the plate pass by, realizing it is also meant for others.
It would be great if people could feel that way about our appeal letters. If you have already given what you intend to, please just let that “plate” pass by without feeling any pressure. Because the person next to you might be ready to give, even if you already have. Does that make sense?
I hope you still see Jews for Jesus as worthy of your support based on the ministry we are doing, and will let us know if you’d like to resume hearing from us. Again, we’ll be happy to make changes in how often you hear from us if you tell us your preferences.
Shalom in Jesus,
If you feel you’ve been receiving too much missionary mail from us, I hope the above letter helps, and that you’ll email us a note to help us adjust the amount of mail we send you.
I’ll confess, I would prefer not to have to ask for donations at all. In my dream world, people would give spontaneously and all of our needs would be met without ever needing to ask. Like many dreams, it wouldn’t be a realistic expectation.
Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive.” Scripture tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Now I know it is speaking about asking God and believe me, we do ask God continually around here. I believe God chooses to supply those needs most often through His people, the church. So I believe He expects us to ask, but when we do ask people to give, we ought to trust that God will move them to be His means to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
When I give to my church, or to Jews for Jesus, or to other worthy causes, it’s with the understanding that all I have belongs to God to begin with. He speaks to each heart that’s in tune with His about when and where to give. If too much mail is making it hard for you to hear His voice, please do let us know. We’ll do our best to send only as much as will be a mutual blessing in what we hope will be a long lasting partnership with you.
Executive Director, Missionary
David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter, Ilana is a recent graduate of Biola. His son, Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife, Shaina, have one daughter, Nora, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.