How do we relate to church-supported missionaries?

Missionaries supported by the church might fall into several categories. Each category might have a slightly different level or type of relationship with the church body.

Homegrown missionaries are those who, through however your church may define it, developed their missionary calling and status through your church. Your church is essentially there are home church and sending church. Other churches may support them also, but your church has the largest responsibility for shepherding and encouraging them for the long haul. We will encourage you to establish a core sending team for your homegrown missionaries. Homegrown missionaries need and deserve more information and communication than your average supported missionary. If the security in their field of service allows, you’ll want to see that they get regular church news. You might work out a system for the church office to send them a monthly packet of church bulletins, prayer request lists, newsletters, etc. If they have secure Internet available, they might be able to get some communication, even MP3s of sermons, through your church website.

Supported missionaries or ministries that don’t originate from your church still need good communication also. They need to know who is on the missions team, who is their missions advocate, who or what groups are committed to regularly pray for them, etc. It’s good for them to hear at least annually from the senior pastor with a birds eye perspective about what’s happening in the church and what teaching is going on and what major issues the church body is facing. Certainly you’ll want to communicate any changes in policy or direction that may affect them and their support status with the church. You need to communicate the church’s expectations with regard to their communication and responsibilities to the church. This would include specific expectations for visiting and reporting to the church during stateside visits.

Projects or strategic focus ministries may have a higher intensity of communication and relationship for shorter periods of time. For example, short-term missions teams have a tremendous need for communication, coordination, and logistical detail before and during their trip. However, after the trip the level of communication and relationship may drop dramatically. Furthermore projects or strategic focus ministries don’t necessarily need to know as much information about the internal family issues of the church. The engagement parameters are usually narrowly defined with specific boundaries, goals, and achievement milestones.

Click here to see Propempo’s “Annual Information Report for Supported Missionaries” in PDF format

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One thought on “How do we relate to church-supported missionaries?

  1. Thanks for all you do to help local churches stay in focus regarding missions.  Let me share a couple of things we do to foster communication with our missionaries.  I am not saying we are  experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we have learned that these things help!
    • I read missionary mail in our mid-week service (excerpts if the letters are long.)  We have missionary mail almost every week.
    • The Home Fellowships in our church each are assigned to “adopt” one or two missionary families.  The Home fellowships get the mail after I read it to the church so they can share it in their Home Fellowships.  The church office supplies each Home Fellowship nice greeting cards each month so everyone in the Home Fellowship can sign it with a greeting.  These are turned into the church office and we mail them.  We encourage the Home Fellowships to include a group photo of the Home Fellowship at least once each year so the missionaries see that people are actually behind the correspondence and are praying.
    • Pre-addressed post cards are available under each of our missionaries’ photos in the church lobby.  Our folks are encouraged to write a word of encouragement, drop the cards in the offering box.  The office mails them.  We send quite a few personal cards out every month this way.
    • I encourage the missionaries to send a brief note (emails are fine) once each month rather than huge tomes once or twice each year.  Most, but not all or our missionaries,  get the idea that frequent short reminders are better than infrequent long letters (that sadly are not read thoroughly due to length.)  
    • Missionary bulletin boards in the church lobby are completely revamped and relocated every six to eight weeks–so they do not become invisible wallpaper.
    • One deal sister in the church contacts all our missionaries every six weeks to get prayer request updates.  These are put into a single page digest and distributed to the body.
    • We do one “nice” full color bulletin insert each month featuring a different missionary.  That they are full color on nice paper encourages people to hold on to them instead of discarding them too quickly.
    • I write personal emails (not group emails to everyone on a list) to all our church’s missionaries once each month.
    We are a long way from perfect, but we are striving to keep our folks informed and in touch with the ten missionaries we support financially and in prayer.  If any of these might give others ideas, praise God. 

    Errol Hale,

    Grace Bible Church

    Moorpark, CA

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