What a Church Desires from Missionaries

In nineteen years of involvement in mission, I have observed three desires that churches place upon missionaries they support:  faithfulness, communication, and relationship.

Not every church asks for all three, only the truly committed churches do.  Most churches want some level of two of these aspects, generally, communication and faithfulness.  The church that only requests or requires one aspect, generally, communication, is mainly only concerned with one side of the mission equation.

Let’s break down these three key components to the church – missionary relationship.

Faithfulness

A church expects a missionary to faithfully carry out the sense of call that the Lord has given.  Churches trust missionaries that they are following after God and doing the right kinds of activities to implement a successful ministry.

When a missionary displays unfaithfulness through selfishness, pride, inability to resolve conflict, serious family difficulties, lack of competence, and the like, trust is broken.  Here is the difficulty for the missionary.

Missionaries struggle with many life issues and yet are afraid to vulnerably reveal such challenges publicly.  Church:  recognize that missionaries are not perfect.  They need God’s grace just like you do.

Being faithful to God is perhaps the most challenging of the three aspects, not just for missionaries, but for every Christian.  We all desire to please the Lord and carry out his will.  Faithfulness is the fault line determining whether or not we hear “well done” in the end.

Communication

Every church wants some form of regular communication from the missionary.  These desires and expectations should be expressed to the missionary so that the missionary can follow through.

Meaningful communication with hundreds of people is challenging for a missionary living and working in another culture but communicating with friends, family, prayers, and financial partners is vital to the missionary being effective in life and ministry.  Missionary:  make good and frequent communication a cornerstone of your life and ministry.

Relationship

Some churches want to form a relationship with the missionary and some do not.  The committed churches tell missionaries that they want to build a relationship.  The lackadaisical churches do not share their desire for relationship but they still expect it.  Then there are the churches who give the money but never communicate, never pray for, never host the missionary.

Relationship is a two way street.  Churches can foster relationship through proactive outreach to the missionary.  Missionaries can foster relationship through proactive activities with the church such as communicating frequently with multiple individuals, visiting during home assignment, and expressing special needs when they arise.

It takes two to maintain a successful relationship.  God has ordained the church – missionary relationship for his glory.  The more we can do to encourage faithfulness in missionaries and communication between both parties that fosters relationships, the more we will glorify God and fulfill the Great Commission.

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3 Comments on “What a Church Desires from Missionaries”

  1. Lori Says:

    Interesting read Brian! I’d like to read another blog post . . . “What the missionary desires from the church.”

    Reply

  2. Brian Stankich Says:

    Hey, Lori, we are like minded. I’m already all over that but I blogged the easier option first 🙂 I would love your perspective on that. Can you leave some comments here or email them to me? I want your thoughts.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What a Missionary Desires from Churches « FULFILL - September 1, 2011

    […] this year I posted What a Church Desires from Missionaries in which I said that churches desire faithfulness, communication and relationship from […]

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