How to Thrive

Tim Stewart has worked with Campus Ambassadors since 2001. However, he is currently stepping back from his own campus ministry to, instead, minister to other campus ministers.

His new official title is ‘Director of Ministry Partner Development’ and his objective is to help new and veteran missionaries find partners to support them in their ministry.

These missionaries will receive coaching and counseling to help them walk through support-raising and most importantly, living by faith as they go through the process.

Support-raising can be a tricky thing. In fact, during our interview, I described Tim’s role as “fundraising”. He quickly, but politely, stopped me in my tracks. “Oh no, we don’t use the F-word.”

He explained “We approach support-raising with a holistic perspective—it’s not about the dollars. This is about capital S, Support-raising.” Tim wants to bolster support for the whole person; for their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and yes, financial health and well-being.

“I want them to live rich lives!” Tim says. He wants to create a support system around missionaries in which every area of their lives will thrive. After all, Tim reminds me, “God is generous and desires for us to live in His joy.”

The circumstances of a missionary show just how much is out of human hands and how truly dependent we are on the Lord to provide. Regarding his own support-raising journey Tim says, “I’ve made every mistake you can make in support-raising, and I’m still here… I am a testament to God’s generosity and graciousness.”

Generosity is central to the gospel and the very character of God. The entire gospel begins with, “For god so loved the world, He gave…” (John 3:16). If it were not for God’s generous character, there would be no salvation story.

As a missionary himself, Tim understands that missionaries need much more than just financial supporters. They need mentors, they need prayer partners, they need volunteers, they may need transportation or meals at times, and the list can go on.

It is through this process of bolstering a supportive team, through the successes and failures, that missionaries are prepared to handle ministry. Tim believes that missionaries are better equipped to do their own ministry because they go through the development of support-raising. And his goal is “to see the whole person thrive because of their support-raising process.”

The course of support-raising also reminds missionaries that their ministry is two-fold. Tim explains, “You have two ministries—ministry to specific people, but also a ministry of stewardship to God’s people and God’s resources [given to you].”

His own ministry was deeply affected by receiving support-raising training and guidance. He shares that at one point, his family was only receiving 69% of their support each month. At that time, he was invited to a “Support-Raising Boot Camp”. In the next five months, their support percentage rose from 69 to 96%. The tools, guidance, and encouragement he received, were critical to his own success.

Now, Tim hopes to pass on the skills he has learned. With this holistic approach, Tim wants to help missionaries feel supported in every realm of their ministry and enabled to “go out and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19a).

There are times, however, when missionaries simply cannot gather the support they need, in order to complete their ministry service. Even after guidance from Tim or others, some missionaries may decide or be encouraged to leave full-time ministry.

This is a difficult conclusion to come to. However, Tim is even optimistic about this transition. He says, “The Holy Spirit can nudge people to give and the Holy Spirit can nudge people to not give. If God wants people somewhere else, He will do what He needs to lead people where He wants them.”

Even in this scenario, Tim believes it is God’s continual guidance in their lives that ushers them out of full-time ministry. At this point, Tim says to missionaries, “We love you, we believe in you, we want to see you thrive. So, what does that look like? If we need to let you go, let’s let you go so you can thrive.”

In his new ministry, Tim defines success as “living radically obedient to Jesus Christ”. It is his job to help campus missionaries consider what that looks like in their own life, and then, to help them thrive.