Part Two in our series on The Crucible—missionaries’ critical transition period during their first term on their field.
Matthew's record of the Great Commission concludes with Jesus’ words, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Great Commission workers have this promise of the Savior's presence with them. Missionaries in the crucible often keenly sense their need to rest on this promise.
Our Savior sent His Spirit to be His presence within His children: to seal, encourage, comfort, convict, teach, and enable us for service—helping us in our weakness by interceding for us according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit also joins us to Christ and other believers. Christ gave us His Spirit; He gave us each other. He never intended any of His children to go it alone. As one of BMM's eight core values states, “Servant leadership results in vertical and horizontal teamwork.” Interdependence and our seven additional core values motivate BMM's planning to assist the missionaries it serves, especially those in the crucible.
"Christ gave us His Spirit; He gave us each other. He never intended any of His children to go it alone."
Soul Care for the Crucible
To this end, Baptist Mid-Missions is launching another avenue of service to its family of missionaries: Safe Haven for Missionary Soul Care. This ministry, led by Dr. Jeff and Sherry Newman, aims to care purposefully for missionaries—promoting spiritual strength and fruitfulness and enabling them to achieve optimal longevity and effectiveness over a lifetime of ministry.
This care applied to the crucible begins when a missionary candidate starts the journey to the first term of service, continues throughout that term, and extends into the first furlough. Coming alongside the staff of BMM’s Church Relations and Enlistment Department and BMM field administration, Safe Haven provides missionaries with a resource focused on their spiritual strength and resilience, seeking to assist them in preparing for the crucible and beyond.
From Appointment to First Furlogh
From Candidate Seminar forward, Jeff and Sherry commit themselves to building relationships with each missionary appointee, cultivating genuine friendship and mutual trust. From this relationship foundation, the Safe Haven Ministry Home will provide a location where appointees can openly share the burdens of their hearts. They will receive personalized coaching and encouragement in spiritual resilience, helping them prepare for the challenging transition events in culture, language, and relationships.
For new missionaries, when the much-anticipated day arrives for departure to their field of service, Jeff and Sherry will come alongside their sending church, those in the Global Ministry Center in Cleveland, and the missionaries already on the field, to continue to provide care and support throughout the new missionaries’ first term of service. That care will take various forms tailored to each individual, focusing on encouraging first-term missionaries with the reality that the Savior is always present with them.
When the first furlough arrives, Jeff and Sherry intend to provide a place where the missionaries can look back on the Lord's work in the crucible. In the ministry home, missionaries can come apart for a few days, reflect on God's goodness, and grow stronger as they debrief and continue making God's sense out of the events of their first-term experience.
Success in the Crucible
Safe Haven won't be able to remove the heat of the crucible, nor should they. Success in the crucible is, after all, not the absence of hardship. God grows His children in hardship. He uses the crucible of missions to display His strength and grace to the missionary and to those the missionary seeks to reach. Those reached will not only hear the message of the gospel proclaimed, but they will also see the real-time results of the gospel lived out in missionaries who draw on the strength of the Savior. The crucible has fulfilled its purpose when God’s power is made perfect in the weakness of the missionary—making the Savior even more compelling to those who need Him.