An effective sending team does many if not all of these types of tasks:
- Prays consistently both for the missionary as well as the unreached people he/she works among.
- Communicates regularly with encouragement, news from home, and requests for information that will fuel specific, effective prayer.
- Financially supports the missionary.
- Cares for the missionary on the field by sending gifts and visiting on the field, if possible, to provide counseling, childcare, or encouragement.
- Cares for the missionary when he/she is back home. Examples would include loaning a car, securing housing, or giving access to resources for rest and recuperation, such as frequent flyer miles, timeshares, or counseling. Care might also include providing services for free such as financial planning or dental work.
- As requested by the missionary, assists in the ministry on the field, both from a distance and on the field. As an example of assistance from home, the team may attend networking conferences in the US organized to advance the Gospel in the nation of the missionary’s work. As an actual example of assistance on the field, a church might send a team to teach a course on auto mechanics or carpentry in a technical school led by a missionary in a closed country.
Neil Pirolo’s defining book on senders’ roles, Serving As Senders, poses six areas in which senders help missionaries:
- moral support (encouragement)
- ogistics support (shipping, transportation, housing)
- financial support (fund-raising, partnership developing/maintaining)
- prayer support
- communication support (basic communication, prayer letters/emails)
- re-entry support (“furlough,” and ultimate re-settling back home)
We would add three other possible areas of concern:
- children’s education
- security & contingency