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Six Practical Ways to Support a Missionary

There are many practical ways you can support missionaries. People feel comfortable with different ways of doing it. Here’s six ways you might like to consider.

1) Let them know they are remembered

Missionaries love to know that they’re remembered. And because they aren’t with you, it is hard for them to know unless they’re told or shown.

  • Emails and Facebook messages are great but what about real letters and postcards*?

  • Phone calls or Skype calls might be more difficult with busy lives, but they can be especially encouraging.

  • Tell them what you prayed for them. Paul models this in 1 Thessalonians, telling the church, not only that he was praying for them, but what he was praying for them.

* If your friend is working in a creative-access country, check with them about safe communication.

2) Keep them informed and included

  • Keep missionaries informed of significant changes within the church, like changes in leadership, or direction.

  • Don’t assume they know about changes in contact details. When sending out prayer letters each month, it can be a pain to find many emails returned.

  • Include the missionaries in the church directory and ensure they get a copy.

  • Let them know what is happening in church: events like church camps, baptisms, births, deaths, and marriages. These things may also make it less of a shock to transitioning into the church when they’re home.

  • Ask your missionaries for photos or a PowerPoint presentation to show at church during a missionary spot or prayer time.

  • Ask them for advice and ideas for Bible studies or home-group study ideas via email.

3) Visit them

Would they enjoy a visit? Send one or more members of your church or leadership team to visit them. Here are some tips:

  • Do consult with them first! People have different coping thresholds when it comes to houseguests. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with visitors.

  • Be aware that they have busy ministries to attend to, as well as potential limitations in providing you with accommodation.

  • Ask them when a good time would be for you to visit.

  • Be sensitive about the length of your visit.

  • Be considerate about their finances too. (Don’t be a burden by cleaning out their pantry without helping out with the expense.)

  • Travel light so you can take goodies from home to them. Maybe take things back from Asia for them, for supporters at home.

  • Babysit the kids so a couple can have a night out.

4) Care for them with gifts

Love can come in care packages too, especially ones that have been thoughtfully put together. A surprise is good, but a care package is even better if it contains items that your missionary especially wants, so it is good to ask them what they’d like.

5) Show loving concern for their wider family

Caring for missionaries’ families at home can be a way that churches can show their love and support. We have a colleague whose father became a Christian after their home church showed care for him and drew him into their church fellowship.

6) When they are back in your country

Missionaries appreciate practical care when they’re transitioning in and out of the country. A full pantry speaks volumes when you’ve just landed back in your home country and cannot face grocery shopping yet!

It’s over to you

There are many ways to go about supporting missionaries and it’s okay to feel comfortable with supporting them in different ways. However, it can really help to coming from the top. If the leadership of a church is mission-minded, it is easier for the church to be mission-minded.

You may never know until heaven the difference your care might make to someone having a tough time.

It is easy for missionaries to feel that they’re out of sight, out of mind. But missionaries are still a part of the body of Christ — they’re the hands that are overseas. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:25 “There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other”.

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