101 things to do to support your mission partners

(in no particular order)

  • Assist them in managing the rental of their house
  • Remember their birthdays and send greetings (including the children)
  • Ensure they get appropriate missions training (Bible College?)
  • Make a commitment to contribute finance
  • Pray for them regularly at prayer meeting
  • Encourage people to send gifts and cards at Christmas (you may need to post them months in advance to make sure they get there in time!)
  • Be available to help them find accommodation for them when they come back on home assignment
  • Store belongings they’ve had to leave behind
  • Keep in regular contact and know how they’re doing
  • Encourage small groups to partner with them
  • Hold regular missions events to highlight the importance of overseas mission
  • Phone or skype them once a month
  • When they’re coming back, make a dvd so that they’ll recognise people. Or post a recording on YouTube. Do it from hip height so the children will relate to it
  • Find creative ways to make prayer meetings work!  See for example OMF’s Seven Ways to Pray for your Mission Workers or our own creative suggestion
  • Make sure you get to know their sending agency and keep in good contact with them
  • Take a short-term team to work with them
  • Ensure they get a good debrief when they return home and don’t forget children need debriefing too
  • Do a Skype interview with them during a service
  • Check out Global Connections’ resources for churches
  • Distribute prayer letters for them
  • Make sure they are included on your website and welcome packs (unless this would compromise their security)
  • Regularly ask how they’re feeling
  • Hold special fundraising events for them
  • Tell them how much you appreciate them
  • Consider providing financial support for church members who want to visit them (though you may need to regulate who goes, and when)
  • Encourage all the church to Facebook them
  • Read Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo
  • Invite their UK relatives to your special events
  • Brief new church members on your mission partners
  • When they come back, make sure their home has food and drink so they don’t have to go shopping
  • If you have a missions group, ensure that it is empowered and has a good budget
  • Look out prayer resources about their country (eg the World Prayer Map)
  • Fly inside your building the national flags of the countries where you have mission partners
  • Be available to support their UK family, particularly elderly parents
  • Make sure church leaders give visible support to them, so the rest of the church will follow
  • Find out about culture shock and reverse culture shock
  • Arrange for Oscar to do Serving as Senders training for your church
  • Preach regularly on the Great Commission
  • Tell them about significant changes in your church
  • Keep a financial reserve so that you can pay for flights home for them in an emergency
  • As a church, join Global Connections and engage with their forums
  • Make sure they know about re-konnect camps for kids when they come back
  • Send them off with a commissioning (or re-commissioning) service in church
  • When they come back, invite them to do a presentation on their work
  • Regularly ask what challenges they’re facing
  • Be available to take them to the airport when they leave
  • Have a missions notice board with maps and photos
  • Invite guest speakers from their agency to preach at your church
  • Make sure you are well-informed about the country they serve in
  • Remember they’re still part of your church even when they’re not around
  • Talk in advance to them and their sending agency about evacuation procedures in the event of a crisis
  • Ensure they have an ‘ambassador’ to promote their interests at church
  • Provide a car for them when they come back
  • Send them new Christian books
  • Visit them
  • Make sure they pay National Insurance contributions and facilitate this if necessary
  • Occasionally make a dvd of what’s going on at church and send it to them or post it on YouTube.
  • When they come back, facilitate introductions to new members
  • Link up with other churches which have a reputation for doing overseas mission well and find out how they do it
  • Have regular meetings with them, both formal and informal, while they’re preparing to go
  • Be willing to fly out at short notice to help resolve serious issues
  • Pray for them personally
  • Acknowledge that their effectiveness may not be measured in numbers of converts
  • Make sure they take regular breaks
  • Develop and preach a clear theology of missions
  • Be available to discuss significant decisions with them, at a time convenient to them
  • Invite a group from their overseas church to visit you
  • Take a group from church to their agency’s annual conference
  • Keep some winter/summer clothes for when they return
  • Send them magazines/dvds, particularly of new worship songs so they can keep up to date
  • Set up a prayer support group for them
  • Ensure they get a full medical checkup when they return (e.g. InterHealth)
  • Send them treats occasionally
  • Be prepared to advise them in emergency situations
  • Help them get their children into a local school when they come back
  • Make sure you understand the unique pressures they’re under
  • Appreciate that their first year in particular may be emotionally demanding
  • When they come back, make sure they visit all your small groups to talk about their work and get to know new members
  • Send them CDs of your sermons if they’re not available as podcasts
  • Read The Re-entry Team by Neal Pirolo
  • Arrange for a group to take care of practical issues for them, such as cleaning up the house for them after they leave
  • Ensure your church knows how to pray for them effectively
  • Encourage them to have a mentor, and be willing to be a mentor if they ask you
  • Remind them of the need to plan well in advance for ageing and retirement (e.g. pension, housing, healthcare) and be willing to help where necessary
  • Offer to meet them at the airport when they come back
  • Make a memorandum of understanding with them and their sending organisation so everybody knows what they’ve committed to

 

There is more detailed information about many of these issues in our regular blogs, our Guide pages and our Briefing Papers. For further information for churches supporting mission workers, visit our guide at For Churches

 

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