Church Plants and Missions: Putting a Congregational Vision Together, Part 2

5. Have the entire congregation support the missionary.

* Make sure his newsletter goes to everyone (electronically, of course).

* Be sure the entire church gets to spend time with him before he’s sent and each time he visits.

* Regularly include his work in congregational prayer.

* Use his experiences as sermon illustrations — he’s part of the family.

* Use an internet feed to celebrate a joint communion service with his church annually.

* If he’s in a third-world country, send donated clothes or other appropriate gifts that will help his ministry.

* Send short-term missions to help his work.

* Send missions team members to visit on site and participate in the work. Don’t just go to audit him. Roll your sleeves up and help.

* Pray for his work without ceasing.

* Involve the children’s ministry so that your children grow up thinking about his mission work and seeing missionaries as heroes of the faith. They are.

* Be sure to have a bulletin board or two in a prominent location, keeping people aware of his work.

* Involve the women. They’ll have better ideas than these.

* Don’t forget to support his family. Start a scholarship fund for his children. Or send them Christmas presents from home. Do something so the family feels loved and supported.

6. If you’re the sponsoring church, you are counting on other congregations to support his work. Help them to do what you’ve done — without being condescending. Meet with them in person. Ask them how you can help them get the most benefit from their support.

Stay in touch. Share with them what you’re doing to support him, and maybe they’ll emulate your efforts.

7. Use the telephone — or Skype where the phone is too expensive. Stay in touch with phone calls. Maybe have a scheduled monthly call. Be a mentor, confessor, friend, and pastor.

You might also do the same for his wife. She may be desperately lonely for an American voice. If a woman at church has bonded with her, encourage her to do the same.

8. Remember special dates — anniversary of founding his new church, anniversary of first baptism, birthday, local holidays not celebrated here — that sort of thing.

9. Help him find a network of similarly situated missionaries to talk to on a routine basis.

10. Help him find a coach — a retired missionary who keeps up with methods and other missionaries and can help him work through hard times. In fact, don’t send him until you have this handled.

Do all that, and you’ll have one motivated, hard-working missionary — and a dramatically changed church.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink.
My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.

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4 Responses to Church Plants and Missions: Putting a Congregational Vision Together, Part 2

  1. Katherine says:

    This is really awesome advice, Jay-I appreciate it.

    I will admit I do have one problem, though-you keep saying "him" when there are many like me-who are single women (as part of a larger mission team) who are serving on the mission field. We need the same support, and sometimes in a much different fashion as men and/or families. There are different challenges faced. I don't think a single man or woman should go out on the field alone-I am very blessed by an awesome team, some who have been on the mission field for a long time and others who are just starting or have been here for a few years.

    I just think that is important to remember-this definitely includes both men and women…and from what I have witnessed-it is very much a joint effort for married couples-both husband and wife are very involved and invested in the ministry. It is THEIR work, not just his.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts-not a jab, just something to chew on 🙂

    I really love your idea about the joint communion service. I love my Chinese brothers and sisters & love worshiping with them, but definitely miss my church family back home and worshiping in my native tongue. This can sometimes be a lonely endeavor, and I am so stinking thankful for the internet and the way it keeps me connected with so many of my friends and family!! IIt is VITAL to stay connected. I do think some people forget about that. Every single e-mail, facebook post, call, prayer offered, and encouraging word is like gold to me!!

    It is amazing to see the way God provides and sustains when times are challenging. There are definitely rewards and it is such a blessing to be a part of what God is doing!

    Anyway, thanks again for the advice-I hope churches will heed it, and keep everyone in mind.

    Blessings~

  2. nick gill says:

    "Start a scholarship fund for their children" — that's one of the most obvious and brilliant ideas i've ever heard. Wow. i hate it when my brain needs to download upgraded software.

  3. Jay Guin says:

    Katherine,

    My church has supported a number of female missionaries over the years — both single women and wives of missionary couples. No slight was intended.

  4. Katherine says:

    Oh, Jay-I did not mean to say that you were intentionally slighting, did not believe or support it! This just did not sound inclusive, and I guess I notice that stuff more now. I guess sometimes I feel forgotten or not as valued because of being single-but I know God uses each of us in different ways.

    Anyway, thanks for your insight!

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