A couple of posts ago I talked about how the church can minister to the missionary. What about the other way. How can the missionary minister to the church?
Here’s my short list. I will say in advance I may have left something off so feel free to post comments to help this list be complete.
1. Offer to pray for them as you send out your monthly updates. My friend Paul Cox does every time he sends out a newsletter and he prays for them. He does a great job of this and taught me the importance of it. Check out his blog .
2. Make sure you try to connect with them on a regular basis. Just as I mentioned that it is good for the church to contact us on the field we need to do likewise. I should also add that we need to talk to them even when we do not need to ask them fro something. I can be guilty of talking / writing only when I need something. Oops.
3. Offer to speak at their church services when you are in the states BUT also I have found the small stuff is great. I love speaking to the small groups or gatherings. If you do get the opportunity to speak in the larger gathering then ask how long you have to communicate and stick to that time or even less. Do not be surprised in this day of multi media and a minute by minute program schedule that you may just get 2 – 3 minutes in the Sunday service gathering. How do you communicate your message in that amount of time ?
You can also do this while you are on the field from time to time. With the ability to do skype video / audio calls you can actually talk from you where you are at anytime.
4. When you are back home at the church serve along side them in their efforts of ministry. This goes back to the idea of instead of normally asking for stuff how about asking where you can serve them while on stateside? Maybe in an area totally unrelated to missions or maybe serving in a local mission effort. My wife and daughter taught Spanish classes for adults and this served as a great way to help Short Term teams be better prepared for their trips. I volunteered to be a substitute bible teacher for their small groups since my Spanish is not so good. smile.
5. Help them learn about your people group stateside. How can they minister to that people group stateside? I have found that inside my sending church there are simply some that have a passion for the people group I feel called to and others do not as much. I simply try to develop those who do have that desire to connect more and then I start developing that tribe of people. They are the ones that could have a desire to see how they can minister in their own community with a people group. They also may decide to host what we call reverse mission trips.
6. Make available some opportunities to have people from the church to come and see your area of ministry. Offer to have friends and / or groups in your church to come over and serve alongside of you. As you put together your strategy to reach people in your overseas setting and starting churches among them also consider ways that your sending church can be strategically involved with you. I find that the people from our sending church who have come over to serve for a week or so not only help us out in some tremendous ways but they also return to the states with an expanded worldview, heart for our people group and processing how this can look in their own community. win, win, win
7. Provide training and preparation for the groups the church may send to your area. If you do have a church that sends teams or groups over to work then make sure you do all you can to make the trip go smoothly in terms of logistics and meaningful in terms of ministry but this takes a lot of prayer, preparation and follow through.
There has to be more of these!