Did you know there are rules for the way churches and missionaries should work together? In this three-part series on the Rules of Partnership, we will explore what it takes to establish and maintain a thriving, strategic partnership between churches and missionaries. Our rules will help us take our partnership and relationship to the next level. These partnerships go beyond the financial support and put churches and missionaries working hand in hand together on reaching all nations.
The first in our three-part series is communication. No relationship can thrive without regular, good, intentional communication. Partnerships must stay up to date, keep team members informed about progress, encouraging the team as they work to keep good momentum on the vision and goals of the partnership.
Missionaries and churches have equal responsibility to maintain the communication, both sides offering both consistency and encouragement to the progress and development. Our avenues of technology have advanced the “how” of communication, leaving very little excuses.
Communication must be:
- Schedule weekly check-ins
- Include both sides in team meetings or staff meetings
- Evaluate vision, progress and goals
Try talking about life outside of ministry. Building the personal side of your partnership and your relationship will strengthen what you do have and ensure the life of the partnership and relationship even beyond ministry.
Sharing beyond the physical needs for ministry is vital. Allowing each side to know how you feel, your struggles, difficulties and true thoughts gets down to the real nitty-gritty of partnerships. Emotional health is a large factor for missionary attrition, and the faster churches can recognize the best way they can help, will ensure longer relationships with greater impacts.
Churches, as you increase the communication and honesty with your missionary partners it is imperative for you to understand their sharing with you is in confidence and if they share they had a bad day that doesn’t mean they have a moral sin in their life. THEY ARE HUMAN JUST LIKE PASTORS… they need to vent, cry and fuss just like the rest of us. Maybe your church needs to add missionary care to the ways you support your missionaries. Giving missionaries additional support through counselors, retreats, coaching, returning missionary support and much more.
Recently at one of our Partnership Development Trainings for missionaries we heard a very real statement from one of our missionaries.
“They (church) don’t understand us and we will be judged if we say that!”
This is a harsh reality, where missionaries have to guard their words and feelings because they are afraid they will be judged, and ultimately loose funding from their supporting churches and individual supporters. Missionaries, like pastors and other leaders, live under a microscope with little to no outlet to find truth and encouragement.
Missionaries, as you increase your communication with your churches, think beyond the newsletter and prayer needs. Get personal. Share what’s going on with your family and community. Share the hard stuff you don’t think anyone wants to hear, or people will judge you about, and then share your fear of sharing. Don’t forget to ask your churches about them too – they have things that they want and need to share that is hard for them too.
Take time right now to evaluate and consider the ways you communicate with your churches and missionaries. Our communication could drastically change the relationship you have, allowing you to go deeper in understanding each other and also the way you can work hand in hand together accomplishing our global command to make disciples of all nations.
If you would like help with your strategic partnerships and your communication, please contact H2T to set up your free DNA consultation today.