Dear Mission Pastor and Outreach Committee Members,** (www.LifeImpactMinistries.net)
How can you have essential conversations with your missionaries and provide care for them?
He followed that up with some great “coaching questions” you can ask to help your workers with these stress areas. I gave those to you in the last “guest” post from him.
In our relationship with sending and supporting churches from 1971 until the present, the concept of church care for the missionary was non-existent. The burden was usually on the backs of missionaries to communicate with the church. That is one of our responsibilities, but when the initiative comes from the other direction as well, it’s a “Wow” for the harvest worker!
We got an occasional letter asking about our support needs, which we always appreciated. And periodically a Sunday School teacher would ask their class of 6th graders to make a card for us, then sign and send it. That always communicated an essential connection with the home church and that we were highly esteemed by children learning about missions — some future missionaries! Great idea.
Outside of that, there was not much communication or practical care coming our way, except the monthly or annual check that encouraged us and kept us in the saddle — no small item of care, by any means. Without that faithful giving we’d be packing up to come back!
But in today’s global climate of crisis and chaos, where church missionaries are living and working in potentially dangerous situations, doing a little more for them is VITALLY HELPFUL. Here are a couple of my ideas bouncing off Dave Lewis’ guest post of the 12 stressors I just sent you . . .
- Assign one member of your committee to build a relationship with one of your supported missionaries. They are the “official church connection” for that missionary. Their task is to communicate with that individual, couple, or family and emotionally support them.
- When that missionary comes home on a furlough, invite them over for a Sunday afternoon of update and debrief. During that time, go through Dave’s list with them. It creates a great “discussion track” with them and will give you an indication how they are doing. The worker will appreciate the intense care and encouragement communicated.
- You can also use this list via periodic e-mails while the missionary is on the field. Send them a greeting and then ask one of the questions.
- This idea can also be accomplished more personably via skype. Is your church using skype to track with those you support out in the field? A monthly or bi-monthly skype call will do wonders in building relationships between harvest worker and the church, and help keep missionaries strong.
Mission organization Care Teams visiting the fields, and Care Organizations like Life Impact providing places of refreshment, cannot meet all the needs alone. Church mission and outreach committees are VITAL in this process. Working together with you as a team, we can do a bucket full of preventive maintenance, and protect the missionary and our investment in them!
(Life Impact exists to strengthen missionaries and pastors in hosted Care Centers, we call Oases. Our Staff are called and equipped to both host and help them process issues of interest to them. Please encourage your missionaries to visit one of our Global locations.)