I spend a lot of time with missionaries. Based on my conversations with them over the last year, here are some ways your church can help them:
- Actually pray for them. This one’s probably not a surprise, but here’s the point: many churches say they pray for missionaries but seldom actually get there. Missionaries depend on your church’s prayer – so really do it. Regularly. Strategically. Passionately.
- Plan your trips with their input. Too many churches do mission trips, but they make their plans and on-the-ground connections without talking with missionaries. That’s not helpful.
- Make a long-term commitment to work with them. One short-term trip can be helpful, but an ongoing commitment that allows for strategic partnership is better.
- Ask them what you can bring them. Maybe it’s food they can’t get where they live, or a book that costs too much to ship, or something for their kids. Bring gifts . . . .
- Talk with them before you make commitments to national believers. Missionaries are typically leading nationals to become self-dependent, challenging their own believers to give sacrificially. The dollars we give without missionaries’ input can actually hinder their work.
- Pray for the people they’re trying to reach. Missionaries love their people, and they want you to love them, too. Knowing others are interceding for them empowers missionaries to press on in their work.
- Actually read and respond to their newsletter and emails. Even a short “We’re thinking about you” or “Thank you for keeping us informed” can be encouraging to a missionary who sometimes feels tired and alone.
- Talk with them regularly. Missionaries are busy, but they’ll take time to talk with churches who genuinely care. Ask them about their work. Listen and learn, and you’ll strengthen somebody’s heart.
- Provide housing and an automobile while they’re in the States. When these things are already provided for them when they come back, their rest time is that much more peaceful.
- Give sacrificially to missions offerings. The dollars we give really do make a difference around the world. Give until it hurts, and lives will be changed.
What would you add to this list?