What is the role of the local church in supporting and shepherding workers?

When its missionaries have left for the field, the local church retains its job as their primary shepherding entity for its homegrown workers. While the local church cannot comprehensively shepherd its workers on a daily basis, it can accomplish significant ongoing support and shepherding at a distance by doing the following:

Supporting churches can:

Substantially financially support missionaries (ideally 25% or more of homegrown missionaries’ budgets)

Pray consistently for workers and the unreached peoples they serve

Provide meaningful material care for missionaries (cf. tools for the ministry, care packages, birthday gifts, etc.)

Proactively maximize missionaries’ time back home in the church by providing services such as counseling, financial planning, medical/dental treatment, etc., as needed

Proactively care for missionaries’ children as they return to the US for careers or schooling. (Helping them transition back to the US, providing a place to go home for holidays, etc.)

In addition to providing supporting church level shepherding, sending churches should also:

Monitor missionaries’ spiritual health, marriage and family through consistent communication and good question asking

Hold missionaries accountable for their ministry strategies and goals.

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