In my experience, and from what I have learned and picked up from others along the way, it doesn't matter what culture or country you find yourself in--talking about money is never the "right" thing to do. Nobody really talks about their money. Money is discussed in many ways in different cultures, but we rarely go around talking about how much we make or how much we give.

This is why the setting for your financial ask is so important. You are preparing to have a very unique, potentially challenging conversation. If you follow the guidelines above and choose to specify your environment, you will save yourself from a great deal of awkward experiences and stories like some of mine....

A few years ago, my wife and I were asking a dear family friend to partner with us in our ministry. They lived several hours from us, but we loved spending time together--so we took a weekend trip to stay a few days with them. I made sure to hard qualify them by letting them know exactly why we were coming: specifically to ask about financial partnership. However, because the setting was never defined, the ask did happen, but it did not go over well. We were only there a few days, and didn't really set a specific time to meet about our discussion. Consequently, we were never truly focused on the topic at hand. The husband and wife never actually sat down with us at the same time, so there was no real "meeting" the entire weekend. In hindsight, I would have been more clear in the time and setting of the meeting by saying, "Hey, we're just passing through the area this weekend. Can we catch dinner with you guys?".

Another horrible experience I had with settings was when we had scheduled lunch with a couple from our church at their home after the service on Sunday afternoon. The setting would have been fine, but the couple had invited someone else to the meal without letting us know. That person happened to be their grown daughter and her family, and I didn't think they would appreciate me asking their parents for a substantial financial contribution for our ministry over lunch. I actually did end up making the ask, but it was extraordinarily awkward.

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