Many churches are passionately committed to sending, supporting, financing, praying and caring for the mission workers they send abroad. But sadly there are other churches which do not have a tradition of sending people into mission, and although they may want to, they do not really know where to start. Too many mission workers, when asked if their church is supporting them, purse their lips and say ‘Kinda’. These are the sort of people Syzygy spends a lot of time with, helping them deal with the stress of trying to do too much on their own, coping with being inadequately resourced, and feeling isolated.
A church that is not committed to the mission of witnessing to Jesus Christ is no longer the church but becomes a religious club, simply a group of friends, or a social welfare agency. (Rene Padilla)
Below are some of the areas in which mission workers will look to their church for support, and our advice on how to deliver it. Just click on the orange link below to go to a pdf exploring the relevant subject.
Debriefing. Having a good debrief on returning ‘home’ can be crucial to the ongoing wellbeing of a mission worker, yet few churches make arrangements for one. Here’s an outline of what you need to do to carry out an effective debrief.
Finding the funding. Mission workers look to their home church to help fund their ministry – so what do you do about it?
Guidance and encouragement. Going overseas as a mission worker is a major life change requiring a real sense of calling. You mission workers will look to you to be part of this process. Here’s how you can help them.
Pastoral and practical support. How do you continue to be effective as a sending church once your mission workers have gone into ministry?
Praying for your mission partners. Prayer is our mission partners’ single biggest need. How can we make sure we excel at it?
Relating to the sending agency. When your mission partner is serving with a sending agency, things can get complicated. Here’s how to keep them simple.
What do we do if they insist on going independently? This situation could be tricky, so we provide some guidelines on how to protect yourselves and your mission workers.
101 things to do to support your mission partners. This is our handy checklist of some of the things you and your church could do to ensure your mission partners are supported effectively.
Other resources available to you include:
Books. There are two books in particular that we’d like to recommend to you:
Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo details what is normally expected of a church.
The Re-Entry Team, also by Neal Pirolo, helps churches to welcome back their mission partners when they return. Have a look at our list of recommended reading for other suggestions.
Web-based resources. Our friends at Global Connections have gathered everything together under one roof so that it is easier to find. Check out their website. Mike Frith has also produced with Stewardship a very helpful Senders’ Guide.
Training and coaching. Sometimes you need to talk things over with somebody else, or maybe you need your missions team, or even your entire church, needs to get some training in what’s needed. If that’s your church, please contact Syzygy on firstname.lastname@example.org. We love helping churches help their mission partners more effectively!