Five Ways To Encourage Your Missionaries:
- Pray for us specifically and let us know about it! This morning I received emails from two churches asking for specific requests for prayer this week! Knowing that you are praying is a huge encouragement.
- Send a care package or an Amazon gift card for no reason. It is not so much about the package as it is your personal interest and effort to be part of our life and ministry. Most of us love to read, and Kindle downloads are great! Give me a gift certificate and a suggested book and you’ve made my day. The key is demonstrate the care and love you have for us!
- Minister to our kids! It is a special blessing to us parents when a church ministers to our kids. One church provided a get away as a family, another took our family to the Creation Museum when we were on furlough. Another church organized a day to celebrate the birthday of one of our children - a blessing he will never forget. It does not have to be big - but it does need to be intentional!
- Pastor, get in touch with us personally! It is a blessing to talk with a pastor in a supporting church and it is abundantly clear that he actually knows who you are and can interact with you about what is going on in the ministry - he reads our prayer letters and is informed. Don’t forget communication is a two-way street!
- Increase the amount of our monthly financial support! Inflation hits the value of the US$ everywhere. An unexpected raise in support is great news for most missionaries!
Five Ways To Discourage Your Missionaries:
- Dump them in prophets chamber and never give them time with the pastor or anyone from the leadership of the church.
- Schedule them for a meeting but don’t tell them they are actually a cheap replacement for pulpit supply while the pastor is on vacation. I’m happy to do pulpit supply, but ask me to do that, don’t let me find out when I arrive.
- Pre-determine the amount of offering and make it so small that there is no way it can cover their travel expenses let alone help with the extra costs of traveling with a family.
- Make your missionary feel like a second-class minister at your pastor’s fellowships. Perhaps its just me but when I attend conferences and interact with other pastors there is a temptation not to tell them I am a missionary. It seems that identification changes the relationship between other pastors and myself, body language, level of interaction. I guess I would say to those who have such a response - I’m not attending because I am trying to get something from you, I would like to enjoy fellowship with brothers in Christ.
- Send your missionary a questionnaire with a form letter after you hire your new pastor. We wonder if your new pastor is trying to purge the missions program by looking for some minor theological disagreement as justification for dropping our support. We wonder this because it has happened on more than one occasion over the years. Purging the missions programs is necessary in many churches, but it would be best done after personal interaction with the missionary, and after they return to the States on the next furlough!