My book recommendation for March is Betty Barnett’s book – Friend Raising: Building a missionary support team that lasts

Friend Raising was first published in 1991, 1996 and revised in 2003. In 2021, the kindle version was released. The Relational Fundraising website also recommends this book.

I know many people who have thought about becoming a full-time missionary. Sadly one of the reasons they didn’t do it was the fear of switching from a regular pay-cheque to raising their finances. Yes, it is scary to give up a known steady income. But Betty’s Friend Raising book and Terry’s Relational Fundraising website are two places to get the help you need to make the switch successful – far beyond just money.

I know Betty Barnett. She staffed my Author’s Training School a few years go. Betty is dynamic, humble, sharp and served God in YWAM for many decades (since the year I was born!) She lives out what she’s written in this book and continues to encourage many walking this same path or beginning on this faith journey. Betty was also the managing editor of the YWAM Christian Growth Study Bible and has a deep passion and knowledge of God’s word.

What does this book cover?

  • The four main practical pillars are Friend Raising, Generosity, Communication and Prayer with promises.
  • Hidden Hindrances – areas you may or may not have thought about which could hold you back from seeing the full blessing God has for you
  • Fantastic down-to-earth practice advice on how to write a newsletter. (Please do read before you start writing yours).
  • Testimonies from various people and backgrounds in how they have applied God’s principles in friend-raising. 

Betty also addresses the subject of how these principles apply in a non-western context. (As many people struggling to put into practice these biblical principles, they need to think outside western thinking to achieve the same goals. 

At the back of the book, Betty has included study questions for each chapter, as well as examples of prayer/ response cards, budgeting ideas and ways to keep track of your communication with people.

Why should you take the time to read this book?

  • Because it will help you understand finances and building a support network from a biblical perspective.
  • The bible has a lot to say about building relationships, supporting one another in prayer & love, and handling our finances. Betty’s skilful use of appropriate scripture will help you gain insight into what God has to share with us on this whole subject.
  • The book’s title is because we need to think bigger. Prayer, encouragement, friendship and having our practical needs met are all required to be healthy on the missions field. 
  • It will help you make fewer mistakes because Betty shares her’s, hoping we won’t make the same ones.
  • Even if you are not thinking about or currently in full-time missions, perhaps you need to raise money to go on a missions trip or have friends exploring the idea of working for God or want to see what God is saying about this whole subject. Then this book will help you.

What I appreciate from this book

Betty’s honesty in sharing her struggles, mistakes and what God’s taught her through those times is humbling. I love how her writing reveals God’s unfailing love, commitment to us and patience. We are not alone while navigating how to live with a kingdom perspective and not as the world challenges us to do.

It regularly encourages me (and thus us) to allow God to deal with the issues I have regarding trusting God. In all these scary unknown areas, especially when I am in need – to intentionally and regularly connect with friends back home for the fact we’re friends, be generous, and simply be obedient in the things He is asking of me.

“The issue is not whether we get results, but whether we obey the Lord in what He requires of us. We must not limit Him to doing that one way or another but must simply act upon His word. This keeps a dynamic in your relationship with the Lord. This keeps your faith up-to-date, as well.”[p128, Paul Hawkin’s story]

The practical examples of what we can do to develop our understanding of building a support team for the long haul healthily and biblically. And what that looks like practically, with examples and many different situations and testimonies. It helps me think bigger and not have to reinvent the wheel. I have done many of these through the years, but there are several I want to try to put into better practice this year.


Each chapter has a reflective quote, taking up a whole page.

“The Simplicity of friendship is this: that I know you are there that somewhere on this crowded planet you and I stand together, if only in a moment of thought. And for those moments and what they bring to me, the world is less empty.” [p110]

This one is what I do, especially when I’m missing home or certain people – I do dwell on the thought that no matter the distance, we are serving God together in the way’s He’s called us – we are standing together in God’s presence as fellow disciples and friends. 

Thanks Betty, for sharing your heart and experiences with the world in this book – and for your continued service and a living example that we can see God’s generous faithfulness in these areas too.

Betty Barnett doesn’t have a public website or Facebook page. So here is a link to Betty’s Linkedin page.

You can buy this book on several websites. Here’s GoodRead’s page on Friend Raising, with suggestions of on-line stores. Or you can go to your preferred way to buy 🙂