Years ago, my wife met an older gentleman at a coffee shop. She was reading her Bible, and he stopped to encourage her to keep running hard after Jesus. After a brief two to three minute conversation, she handed him our family’s prayer card, and he said that he would pray. For the past ten years, he has been a faithful supporter. Do not think that God won’t use a small conversation to bring about marvelous results for the Great Commission.
Did you know that you too, as a sender, can provide a monumental amount of support for your missionary? And I don’t just mean financial support. One of the most needed areas of missionary support is for the missionary’s home church and ministry partners (senders) to serve as advocates back home.
As you develop a relationship with your missionaries, you will notice that your heart to grows for them. They are no longer just a picture on a prayer card; they are your friends and a part of your family. With such a relationship, you now have the perfect opportunity to reach out to your own network of family, friends, and coworkers to provide credibility for your missionary. When people see how excited you are and how much you care for your missionary, they will take notice and will get excited with you.
No one, including you and your missionary, likes to talk about money.. However, finances are a crucial part of all of our lives. Missionaries are dependent upon financial support, and they need advocates to help them get the word out. They need people that believe in them and their ministries reaching out farther than they can reach. Believe it or not, it is more comfortable and more helpful for you to ask for money for your missionary than it is for your missionary to do it themselves. It is easy for me to say, “you should donate to so-and-so.” I’m not getting the money, nor am I receiving any of the benefits; I’m simply serving as an advocate. It is much harder and more awkward for a missionary to say, “Would you consider supporting me?”
Here are some practical steps that will help you serve as an advocate for your missionary:
- Always have a stack of your missionary’s prayer cards readily available. Prayer cards are to missionaries what business cards are to the corporate world. They are extremely valuable and provide a non-threatening way for you to start a conversation with people. Simply hand them a prayer card and ask them if they would be willing to pray.
- I mentioned in the article titled, “The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do for a Missionary” that prayer is the greatest service you can provide for your missionary. Therefore, another idea is for you to host a monthly prayer meeting at your church or home. Prepare some coffee and a plate of cookies and invite everyone you can think of to come and pray with you. Keep the prayer meetings to one hour and do not get bogged down with conversation and update. Keep prayer as the primary focus. If you can get people praying for a missionary, God will start to move their hearts towards a deeper level of commitment.
- Lastly, be an advocate in the communication and social media arena. Make sure that you are liking, commenting, and sharing all of your missionary’s updates on their blogs and on social media. Print off their newsletters and pass them out and make them available on your church’s missions table. Remember, it is the small things that count.
Train4Missions.com is a ministry Pastor Mike Thiemann runs to help equip and train missionaries and senders on all topics of long-term overseas service. Pastor Mike and his wife Erin serve State-side as full-time missionaries through Saving Grace World Missions and raise their own missionary support. If you would like to partner with Pastor Mike and Erin to help them further the ministry of Missions Training, please click the “ways to give” image below. Also, you can access their website by going to sgwm.com/thiemann.