The Missional Care Giver

August 24, 2012


The missional movement has nothing on God, but it does contribute to our motivation in caring for one another.  A key component to being missional is community.

Community involves loving one another.  But take a moment to ask yourself the question:  who cares for the leaders in your missional communities?  If it is a true community, then the answer would suggest that each member of the community is being discipled by another member of the community.  But does that include the leader(s)?

Can you imagine discipleship without care?  I cannot but I see it all around me.

Jesus, Moses, Paul – all the great ones incorporated a holistic and balanced discipleship.  They balanced their exhortation with encouragement and their care with their accountability.  Jesus said to go and that he would be with them.  Moses shepherded his flock one day by providing water for them and the next day by pointing them to the cloud.  Paul had the gift of spanking and speaking lovingly in the same letter.  We need to balance care and accountability in our ministries.

What’s needed is missional care giving that is provided by missional care givers.

A missional care giver thinks strategically about the way he treats another person:

  • he speaks the truth in love
  • he asks from the heart how another person is doing
  • he asks the hard questions
  • he provides help and timely encouragement

A missional care giver plans her ministry proactively:

  • she plans to be in the right place at the right time
  • she reaches out to the unlovely people on the fringes
  • she touches the lives of her peers
  • she does not consider her leaders above her care and accountability reach

You might think that pastors and missionaries are best suited to be missional care givers.  Unfortunately, that is often not the case.  Pastors and missionaries should be caring and should be able to provide accountability, but their should list is quite long.  And they can only do so much.  They need missional care givers in the community who can shoulder the should’s.

Built into the DNA of every missional community is a sense and an ability to care.  Isn’t that what Christianity is all about, loving each other?  Why is it that so many pastors and missionaries feel uncared for?

It’s time for the Christian community to stop treating pastors and missionaries as superhuman people who don’t have needs.  Pastors and missionaries are real people with real needs.  Missional care givers are needed to take the extra step of coming along side those God has called to special ministry and provide them with real care and genuine accountability.

Can you imagine a church that is uncaring?  And yet, we hear regularly that this is people’s experiences.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity,

let us do good to all people,

especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:10, NIV

Vance and Patty (on the left) = missional care givers

Note:  this post is in honor of my friends, Vance and Patty, who embody being missional care givers.  Vance and Patty have provided this level of care and accountability to me and hundreds of others.  Their loving commitment and kingdom style has rubbed off on me and many others.

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5 Comments on “The Missional Care Giver”

  1. Paul Dyck Says:

    Excellent article. Leaders need care just as those they lead need care. So often ‘we’ feel we’re above needing care…of course that’s the real time we need it.


    • Brian Stankich Says:

      Paul, well said, I have felt that “I’m above care” feeling often – and those times I was hurting, probably pushing the Holy Spirit away. I’ve observed leaders around me do this too.


  2. Seth W. Says:

    Small world! I’ve known Vance & Patty nearly 30 years and didn’t know what they were up to now. Glad to know they using their gifts and experience to continue to serve.

    As for missionary care, we have (and continue to recruit) pastors and their wives within our denomination as “pastoral associate couples” – bland name, but it represents the idea that they are fellows (associates) with the team. Each PAC is paired with a country or team within a country and provide care for those missionaries. They visit at least once a year and are available via email and skype throughout the year. Because their churches have to “give up” these pastoral couples every year, the church typically gets more involved with that team/country and often share in caring as well. Also PACs are not assigned to a field. Rather, they have to “court” the team and the team has to invite them as their caregivers.

    Another good example I’ve heard came from a friend of mine who is a missions pastor. They had a missionary they hadn’t heard from in some time. Over the course of a few meetings, they became more inclined to cut the missionary off from support. After all, there were many lined up and waiting for support. However, this missions pastor decided to go and take one of the elders in the church. They spent a couple of days with this couple. What resulted was the beginning of healing for this missionary couple (they’d been silently battling some issues) and a renewed relationship with the church. Rather than cut off missionaries you stop hearing from, try caring first. You might just save their marriage, ministry, etc…

    Thanks for your blog, Brian.


    • Brian Stankich Says:

      Seth, so cool that you know Vance and Patty! I’ll have to tell them.

      That PAC idea is an interesting one because of that ‘pulling the church in’ component as well as the courting process. I like both of those ideas as it prioritizes the importance of the church in international mission, on the one hand, and focuses on relationship between missionary and pastor on the other.

      How long does a couple serve in that role?


  3. Dave Lewis Says:

    Your “missional care giver” sounds like my m’advocate (missionary advocate). I am convinced that the church must rediscover missional principles in order to be effective in missions and in caring for missionaries. Thanks for putting this out there.


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