Once the flight has been caught and your candidate is now a worker on the field, what are the responsibilities of your the sending church and its leaders? How can you effectively SUPPORT your mission workers?
As one of their church leaders, you have the even more specific role of providing them with spiritual care and direction as well as accountability for their work. You have the uncommon opportunity to encourage them with news of what is happening back here – sharing stories of God’s grace and goodness at work in his people to encourage them as they see God working where they have been sent.
Mission workers go out in faith that God will provide their needs through his people. As a worker’s sending church, you share in the responsibility of being the means through which God provides for this worker. Whether the needs are financial or practical, this sent-out-one is a part of your church body and you have the privilege and joy of sharing in their work in many helpful ways.
Here are a few practical ideas for ways to support your mission worker(s):
- Give them a phone call. Make sure that you take into account the time difference where they are as well as customary bedtimes at their location.
- Have a video conversation with them during one of your leadership meetings to catch up and pray – all you need is a computer with an internet connection and a webcam. You can use free options such as Skype and Google Hangouts to do this at no cost.
- Have a video conversation with them during a Sunday morning or special event.
- Draw up a schedule assigning a family to pray for them for a week or month depending on the length of their stay, and to communicate back and forth with prayer requests.
- Arrange beforehand for a support person outside the church with missions experience to be available for the worker to refer to when sensitive or personal difficulties arise.
- Send a “Care Package” including items not available on the field. This should involve some research. In some countries, the recipient may be charged exorbitant customs and other fees to get the package. Make yourselves aware of what items are cheaply available there and avoid those – stick to things that are unavailable there or are expensive there and inexpensive here.
- On a longer Extended Term Mission, you could provide funds for a few days holiday where possible.
- Email pictures of events that take place in the local church… Sunday School events, wedding showers, baptisms, etc.
- For an Extended Term more than a year, consider sending a representative from the local church to the field to see the worker and the work.