Surprising Benefits to Self Funded Campus Missionaries

Eric Reiber, Director of New Life Student Fellowship (BCM), Penn State University

According to Mike Riggins of the North American Mission Board, there are 180 Self-Funded Collegiate Missionaries working with the SBC on college campuses. I serve as one of these missionaries at Penn State. There are great resources with how to do support raising, but here I want to look at the benefits of partners.

Support raising is a part of my job, and not my favorite part either, but here are benefits with having partners.

  • I am forced to create a team of partners, and that is awesome! I have an email list of almost 150 individuals that I can call upon to pray for me and the work of God amongst our students. Any minister can have a prayer team, but ours comes hand in hand with support raising. There have been many times I have received encouraging emails from supporters at just the right time that have meant the world to me as a minister.
  • I have a growing network of people to connect to incoming students. Supporters have a vested interest in the ministry and can play recruiters in their home towns as they know of incoming freshmen coming to our university. I still have connections in the state convention, but this makes personal connections with students from broader backgrounds (necessary for emerging region work) and is further reaching.
  • Not only will partners support you as a missionary, but will support your students with ministry needs. I have seen this at work in two ways. First, I have partners who tell me to let them know when a student needs a scholarship for a conference or mission trip. We can honestly tell our students if money is the reason you can’t go, we can make a way. Secondly, I have partners who want students to work for them after college. This is win-win! It helps students find a job, as well as I connect them in believing professionals in their field to help them as a resource in both career and navigating their new home.


When I came out of seminary, I promised myself that I would not go back to a support raising position, but as I got a call about serving at Penn State, I sense God leading me to go. I support raised for 3 years prior to seminary and over 4 years since. My predecessor did it for 28 years with 4 children. God truly provides!

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