Homeside Ministry Teams

HMT 101

A Homeside Ministry Team is a key group of supporters who serve with a missionary by providing pastoral care, prayer, practical and emotional support to assist them in spreading the hope of Jesus among a people group.  The team is formed before the missionary leaves for the field and developed according to the missionary’s opportunities and needs, and the gifts of the members of the team.

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1.  Why have an HMT?

Benefits for your missionary

  • Provides committed sustained prayer for your missionary and their people group/ministry
  • Provides spiritual and practical support for your missionary
  • Provides a stable community of longer term friends for your missionary to support them through more transient relationships on the field and when back on Home Assignment
  • Provides your missionary with skills, gifts, wisdom, ideas and resources as the team supports your missionary together
  • Coordinates the sending of care packages that your missionary needs to enable them to serve more effectively

Benefits for the HMT members

  • It is an opportunity for the members to take part in God’s global mission as a sender and have the joy of seeing God’s kingdom grow
  • Provides your HMT with complementary skills, gifts, wisdom, ideas and resources so that support ministry is shared
  • Provides support, encouragement and accountability to keep actively partnering with your missionary
  • Provides opportunities to see God at work and impact people’s lives for eternity through missionary
  • Provides an opportunity to deepen your understanding of God’s mission and His heart to reach the lost

2. How is an HMT formed?

The HMT is formed by the missionary inviting people whom they trust to care for them and their ministry.  Before leaving for the field, the missionary gathers the group together and gives an introduction of the vision, roles and expectations of an HMT.  Once people confirm their commitment to the team, specific roles are assigned.  Following this, the HMT team meet together every 1-3 months. Depending on the missionary and their needs, it is suggested that a team of 6-8 individuals or couples is a good size as it consists of sufficient people to share the load, but not so many that it makes it hard to coordinate meeting times. Couples are considered one member because if they have children, it may not be possible for both husband and wife to attend meetings.

3.  What makes an effective HMT?

An effective HMT is made up of people who:

  • Know and care for their missionary as a team
  • Can be trusted to keep confidence and provide a safe avenue for their missionary to share openly
  • Are committed to partner with their missionary through regular communication and prayer
  • Are willing to grow in their understanding of God’s mission and the people group whom their missionary is reaching
  • An effective HMT consists of at least a few representatives from the missionary’s sending church – this helps to maintain the church’s involvement in praying and caring for their missionary
  • Consists 6-8 individuals or couples according to the needs of the missionary to share the work and manage meeting times
  • Are available to give practical support to their missionary
  • Are sensitive to the emotional highs and lows of the missionary and are able to communicate their care to the missionary even from the home country
  • Commit to be part of the HMT for a set timeframe agreed with their missionary, and review and renew their commitment periodically

Missionaries are the beautiful feet that go out, but they need beautiful hands to serve with them and support them in the work of the Gospel.

The aim of the HMT is to be involved in and complement the missionary’s ministry in various ways so that the Gospel can impact lives.

The HMT aims to partner with missionaries in seven areas:

  1. Prayer
  2. Spiritual and emotional support
  3. Practical support
  4. Family support
  5. Adopt your missionary’s people group
  6. Involvement of the church and other Christians
  7. Communicate financial needs

Different members in your HMT will have different gifts and interests. Some teams find it helpful to delegate particular roles so members can serve in certain ways where their gifts can be best used.  Other teams are less structured, with members serving in different ways at different times.

In whichever way your team chooses to operate, it is not expected that everyone will do everything. Not all of the roles featured here will need to be fulfilled, and other roles may come up.  It would be a helpful start for your team to discuss which ones you are interested in or think of new ones.

It is vital for HMTs to have a coordinator to facilitate the team and maintain good communication between your missionary, sending church and OMF.  The HMT Coordinator ensures your team is gathering regularly by organizing meetings and events, creating agendas and keeping track of your missionary’s latest news and prayer points.  To cover for illness or unavailability it is helpful to have an assistant coordinator.  This is also beneficial for sharing the responsibility and accountability.

HMT roles may include:

  • HMT Coordinator – notifies members of team meetings, records meeting minutes and is the main driver of the team’s goals and direction
  • Assistant HMT Coordinator – assists the HMT Coordinator and provide relief on sickness / holiday
  • Prayer Letter Supporter – collates the missionary’s prayer letters and keeps members updated on prayer points
  • Spiritual and Emotional Supporter – organises Skype sessions with the missionary, downloading sermons and devotion materials from the HMT members for the missionary
  • Practical Supporter – organises a care package to be sent to the missionary by understanding what the missionary needs and how the team is able to fulfil this need
  • Family Supporter – to provide practical support for the family in the home country where required
  • Financial Supporter – keeping up to date with actual levels of support and communicating prayer needs to church and supporters where necessary
  • Sending Church Liaison – giving updates and involving the church

Specific ideas relating to the above roles will be discussed in later sections.