How can we help the church build ownership of a field ministry?

Every field ministry has multifaceted interest for your congregation. Every field ministry has unique challenges in logistics, housing, transportation, technology, children’s education, visa requirements, ministry goals of environment, etc. If you simply ask your missionary what challenges they face on the field in these areas, you’ll get answers which help frame possibilities for your congregation to be involved.

It may be as simple as a housewife in your church collecting magazines of common interest to send or give at some regular interval. Current prayer requests provided in a format that families can easily access and use are very helpful. Small groups “adopting” a missionary family and remembering every member of that family on their birthday is a simple way for even children to make handmade cards and get involved.

If your church is the sending church you will probably want to develop a “sending team” or “Barnabas team” or support team. This smaller subset of the church has larger ownership of the missionary and their field ministry. They get involved with support at every level: encouragement, prayer, logistical, financial, communication, and reentry.

Of course, there’s nothing like visiting the field for people in your congregation to get a feel and taste for life and ministry there. They will get it in their blood. It will become wired into their DNA. Coordinating with your missionary to host a short term ministry team from your church to do specific things that would be difficult or impossible to do without that manpower are incredible opportunities for building ownership.

Opportunities abound whenever your missionary visits the church. People love to get to know missionaries as real people sitting around the table eating meals, sharing their house, playing games together, going on outings together, etc. Many young people point to personal contact with missionaries in their family home as an integral complement of their eventual call into missions.

Help your missionary find ways in which your church family can identify with special concerns or environment on the field: tradesmen, hobbies, professionals, architecture, crafts, unique geography or geology or marine life or agriculture, all of these things are commonplace to the missionary on the field; but there are also touch points of curiosity and interest for your church family to relate to that field ministry and develop a sense of ownership.

Establishing a “Barnabas Team” – policy from Bethlehem Baptist

Barnabas Team Roles

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