There are a number of reasons why the church might choose to no longer support a missionary. Here are some of them:
- the church has split or disintegrated or closed
- the missionary has left the ministry for which the church was supporting them
- the missionary (or their agency) has diverged or departed from the churches doctrinal, strategic, or methodological values
- the church has diverged or departed from the missionary’s doctrinal, strategic, or methodological values
- economic hardship has hit the church family
- the missionary has fallen into sin and must be disciplined or released from ministry
- the missionary has personal issues which eclipse their capacity for fulfilling the ministry for which the church was supporting them
Good communication and a caring shepherding relationship make release from support easier. It is a good thing to inform the missionary as soon as the church missions leadership knows that release from support is possible. It is helpful to have a face-to-face debrief interview. It’s even better, though rare, for the missionary to initiate closure or communication when they sense such a cut coming. Gracious churches often specify a period of tapering down support over the course of 3 months, 6 months, or a year. If the cause of support cuts is a dramatic economic hardship, then you should not be embarrassed to explain that the cuts must be taken ASAP.
If your church is the home or sending church of a missionary being released from support, you may go the extra mile to help the missionary raise funds to replace what is being lost.