Continued reflections on Missionary/Member Care as the role of the Church . . . if you didn’t read my last newsletter, the opening thoughts are here.
When your church sends missionaries you’re sending them into a spiritual battle and they need you to be in the background cheering them on and praying for them. They need affirmation when things get hard, and they want to quit. They need someone who can remind them of God’s truth and of why they’re in the battle.
You might think that the mission organization can take care of that, and as a church we’ll just send the money. On my field, in PNG, there has been only one couple officially in the Member Care role, taking care of 700+ people. But every one of those families has a church that sent them. How much more effective would it be to have each of those families cared for by a church body who loves them, knows them, and is engaged with and committed to them, partnering with them for their success, than to have one couple trying to meet that need for 350 adults plus their kids?
The people of the sending church also have the advantage of longevity and knowing their missionaries as they have traveled this journey. The church body is better equipped to recognize when their missionary is struggling or what they need to be held accountable for. This relationship is an important part of the partnership between the church and the missionary.
So, on one side of my role as Communications Manager for the field of Papua New Guinea, I’m equipping our missionaries to communicate well with their churches by helping them use communications tools and by providing resources to help them explain what they do. This includes videos about why they’re learning the heart language and how they do that, about the process of translation and why we teach literacy, because these are things the average American churchgoer just doesn’t have familiarity with. I create videos to help churches at home connect visually with what their missionaries are doing. I write articles to help churches connect to the bigger picture of what their missionary is a part of. I provide presentation templates for missionaries who get the opportunity to share with their churches to help them explain God’s work here in PNG. I update the Mission’s social media to provide prayer requests, stories of what God is doing and updates from our missionary teams.
On the other side, I make efforts to connect with the churches who send missionaries to our field through a Missionary Care Discussion Group. I set up 5-week discussion groups that meet over Zoom with churches from all over the US. We discuss various aspects of missionary care. In fact, the setting up and execution of those Zoom discussion groups is always something you can pray for!
to be continued . . .