Your missionaries regularly send prayer letters to their supporting churches, but did you know that it’s just as important that churches communicate regularly with their missionaries?
By Cletis Titus
I’ve been on both sides of the equation as a supporting/sending church pastor and now as a missionary. It takes a conscious effort to stay in touch with someone you don’t see on a regular basis. It’s even easier to forget them if they weren’t part of your congregation before going to the field. Many of our missionaries have spent less than a month’s total time with their supporting churches over their missions career, and yet we invest our prayer and financial support in them on a regular basis.
If we are going to change this dynamic of “out of sight, out of mind,” we need to view our missionaries as an extension of our church staff.Here are some practical ways we can go from being a church that just sends support to making our missionaries an actively involved part of the team:
- Add them to your monthly newsletter list. This way, they receive what every member receives.
- Send them the weekly bulletin by e-mail.
- Program their birthdays and anniversaries into your calendar at the church or on your phone. It never changes from year to year, and many missionaries have these written on the back of their prayer cards. An e-card or a snail mail card will let them know you are thinking about them.
- Send out a monthly/quarterly short note to all your missionaries informing them of events coming up at your church and how they can pray. Ask them to respond with news of their church’s events and with requests they have for your church family.
- Once a month, hand out preaddressed envelopes in a service, along with postage added for your church members to write a letter to the missionaries.
- Facetime or Skype your missionaries in one of your services. (This will take planning for time zones and schedules.)
- If your missionary can receive them for free, text messages are a great way to send short quick notes of encouragement.
About once a month, my wife and I receive an e-mail from at least one of our churches. We also get birthday and anniversary cards each year and an occasional text message. It not only encourages us, it lets us know we are not in this alone; we are part of a team effort.
"A missionless church is no church, and a churchless mission is not biblical mission."
Craig Ott and Gene Wilson, Global Church Planting (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011), 26.
Cletis Titus is a BMM MK who served as a pastor and BMM Council member before his current ministry as BMM missionary to Jamaica/Special Representative.