- COMMON MYTH: Missionaries are more important than those who send them
- TRUTH: God is looking for an army made up of FRONT-LINE SOLDIERS and BEHIND-THE-LINES SUPPORT, both equally important to the outcome of the “war!”
In a worldly war, there are 50 support troops for every frontline soldier. Spiritual warfare requires as many or more. There is no way a missionary can survive for very long in the field if they don’t have a full complement of troops somewhere else who are helping orchestrate some of the most critical elements. Here are ways you can help:
FIELD SUPPORT: If you have strong expositional teaching and/or administrative gifts and believe the Lord may be calling you into full-time ministry, please contact us to discuss interning here for 6-12 months and then being dispatched to another country we are responsible to develop. There are urgent needs within Africa, South and Central America, and India.
MORAL SUPPORT: From the very beginning, we need encouragement because we already realize we are woefully inadequate and imperfect, and we need to know someone cares about us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Stress during preparation, grappling with the unknown, and emotional/physical isolation once in the field can take its toll. Can you provide the time to listen, provide objective feedback, and empathy as needed? Help keep us focused on the goal and motivated for the Lord’s ministry. It is also vital for others in the body to confirm that God has called us, as happened with Barnabas and Saul. All in all, supporters need to know what we will be facing in the field, what the ministry is about, and whether it is something the Lord wants you to support.
PRAYER SUPPORT: Spiritually mature individuals are needed to intercede on a regular (daily) basis, as well as come together once a month to pray corporately. Prayer is the arena of spiritual warfare. Those who enter regularly know the scars, but also the victory of battle. Prayer is where the action is—supporting and sustaining those on the fields of the world. It is one of the most important support roles, and the most dangerous. Satan will do what he can to keep you from your task, and you WILL be attacked, so this is not a role to be taken lightly.
While we are talking about prayer, we want to clarify a very important aspect of being part of a support team. The missionary has to know they are “called” to the field, and that it is for the long term—until the Lord releases them from it or sends them elsewhere—because when things get really bleak, it would be easy to just walk away and throw in the towel. It’s obedience to the call that will keep us going.
By the same token, supporters also need to be “called.” Times will get tough for you in various ways—financially, emotionally, hectic lives, etc.—and it would be easy for you to just say “I don’t have the time or energy or finances for this anymore.” It’s important that the people who are going to come alongside a missionary have really prayed about this and know the Lord has spoken to them so they can fulfill their commitment until the Lord releases them as well.
LOGISTICS SUPPORT: People with the gift of administration and communication are needed to manage business affairs in the areas of legal advice or needs, ministry needs (printing, mailing, marketing), handling fundraising, representing us at missions conferences, and many other areas. Contact us if you would like to put your talents to use but aren't sure how.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Financial support is always needed and welcomed by missionaries, especially in these hard economic times. Even though they are sent by a local church and part of a mission agency, they are still responsible for raising both their living and ministry expenses. However, your first priority is to your home church—that you are tithing there. Then, if the Lord moves you to give additionally to a missionary, both you and they will be blessed. You may also consider donating your professional services in areas where there is a need, or other items such as frequent flier miles, use of a vehicle when in town, etc., which ultimately allows us to conserve precious funds and be good stewards.
If you feel moved to help support the enormous work through financial giving, please click here for instructions.
Summarized and based on "Serving as Senders, How to Care for Your Missionary," by Neal Pirolo