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De-clutter The Church

Cleaning out the Ministry Closets

I am not an OCD person, but I do not like clutter. I don’t mind piles and stacks, as long as they are neat and not in my way. BUT, eventually they get on my nerves and I need them gone. NOW! Then, I have to stop what I NEED to be doing to deal with them. As I am rifling through the stack, the majority of it gets thrown away, and I ask myself, ‘why did I save that in the first place?’.

When we allow the piles around us to grow, they get on our nerves, but they also block our vision, they dull our senses and we often just adjust or accept them.

Have you de-cluttered your church lately?

What ministry, ongoing project, system, tradition, leader… is cluttering your ability to accomplish your purpose? If you let these things continue to pile up they will (if they haven’t already) become the focal point of your church. They might not be wrong, but they also might not be right. They can be a
distraction, a frustration, a trap.

Each church has it’s special calling and vision, but The Church has an underlying focus:

  • Location – Acts 1:8
  • Vocation – Ephesians 4:11-12
  • Maturation – Hebrews 5:11-4
  • Devotion – Acts 2:42

In my effort to stay de-cluttered I try and implement some rules to prevent clutter or too much unneeded stuff.

  • When I get a new piece of clothing, I get rid of one that I do not use or need anymore.
  • When we pack for a trip, I deep clean and de-clutter the closet.
  • When my husband is gone I throw away his stuff (haha)

Is it time to de-clutter?

Take some time to ask God what, if anything, needs de-cluttering around your church. Are you staying in tune with God’s leading and God’s purpose for your church, or have you fallen pray to the clutter of programs, good ideas and we need to do something’s? Do your current ministries line up with the vision of The Church or do they need to be dusted off, and realigned, or even thrown out?

Having clear, direct lines to our mandate and vision help prevent clutter, keep us in line and give an easy answer to the people who bring those amazing ‘great ideas’ to the table. Don’t worry about if it ‘includes’ everyone, will be attractive, or able to do in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When those piles are gone, I am unstoppable!!! Well, maybe not, but I feel like it. I can get back to what I need to be doing, I don’t have to worry about dealing with them, and they don’t prevent me from utilizing all the extra space on the things that really matter.

Stefanie Nicholson
Founder & Team Lead

P.S. If your church would like to talk about the DNA and mission structure of your church, reach out to our team for a call or visit today. Our DNA Matrix Tool is an easy to use guide to help you de-clutter and get inline! information@here2there.org

The World is Still Closed

Doing Missions in uncertain Times

No one is using ink anymore. We are all using pencils again and very quickly wearing down the erasers. It’s not just change, it’s rapid change and it’s constant. It’s causing us to be a bit more vulnerable, flexible, adding less busy-ness to our days and re-evaluating our routines and systems.

There is one thing that is constant: our need to personally connect with people and take the Gospel to all nations and make disciples.

Yes, this looks different than it did just 3 months ago, but it’s still our biggest
command of action as The Church. Our system of missions is shifting. Our plans are needing alterations. But, our goal is still the same. So, now what do we do?

Our church’s participation in missions has never been more vital. As the shift in ‘physically present’ ministry seems to be on hold we need to be creative. We need more hands on deck to bring innovative ways to connect, care, serve and share.

As many of us turn to online platforms the world has vastly opened to us and those seeking for community and connection are at our fingertips, literally.

The isolation has been strange and difficult, but it also brought some shape-
shifting with it. Forcing us to fight for connectivity, forcing us to try new ways, and opening our eyes to new possibilities of community.

By now your church has a new view of the world. Your church has never had a greater connection to the world. Your church has a new opportunity to connect, impact, share through the individual’s innovation lying in waiting.

Your doors might be reopening, but the world is still closed. As you stay
committed to your Great Commission vision, look inward to the innovation sitting right beside you. Look for ways to deploy those waiting to reconnect with the world. Now is the opportunity to recreate the structure of your systems and services to include mobilization and equipping elements of equipping and preparations.

The process might not be as grandiose as before. And every activity or event
might not include the whole church. But, that’s ok. It utilizes more people, in a more intentional way and it’s the thing your missionaries need and it’s what your church body has been empowered to do.

Don’t let uncertainty keep you from making plans and seeking out new options.

Our mission hasn’t changed, just the way we get to do it.

Stefanie Nicholson
Founder & Team Lead

P.S. If your church would like to have a conversation about church-wide
mobilization, please contact me. Stefanie.nicholson@here2there.org

Second Fiddle

I am currently preparing a video series on Boundaries as found in the Bible. I am using the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life, by Larry Crab and John Townsend, as supporting material. As I was browsing through to refresh my memory, I was reminded of the condition of: “playing second fiddle”. This is not a term that is used very often these days, and when it is, it is sometimes misused.

Many people use it to indicate that they, the second fiddler, have been left out of the performance because of the first fiddler. Of course, I am not writing about orchestra participation today, but about relationships. If we use this term in the way I described, it might suggest that a person is being left out of a relationship because another person, the first fiddler, has replaced them. This would not be a proper use of this term. The second fiddler is indeed active in the performance, but it is the first fiddler who has
the most valuable role.

In an orchestra, there are often two sections of violins. These sections are led by the first violin and the second violin. The section led by the first violin is the primary one and it is led by the violinist who is considered the most valuable player. This violinist often fills the role of concertmaster, a position just under the conductor. The rest of the orchestra is subordinate to the concertmaster and looks to him or her to know when it is their time to come in (as they say).

So it follows that the second violin, or second fiddle, is also subordinate to, and takes its cues from the first violinist. The second fiddle does not have a primary role and is not considered to be valuable like the first fiddler. He or she is not one who functions in a position of importance in the eyes of the conductor. In fact, the role of the second section of fiddles is simply to be a backup to the primary – when more sound is needed.

What might this second fiddle concept look like in a ministry or missionary family?

  • Spouse One
    Conductor
    -Pastor
    -Missionary
    -Director
  • The Ministry
    primary
    -first violin
    -concertmaster
    -most valuable
  • Spouse Two
    second fiddle

In this model, Spouse Two is indeed active in the orchestra, but is also subordinate to the ministry. He or she is present, but has little or nothing to do with the ministry, minimal access to the conductor, and nearly no authority. Spouse Two, our second fiddle, must watch for signs that the ministry can allow him or her an opportunity to join in. If joining in does happen, Spouse Two must be ready to give way to the needs of the ministry at a moments notice. In this model, the ministry has authority and priority over Spouse Two – as granted by the conductor (Spouse One). This is problematic as it can cause Spouse Two to feel ineffective in the relationship and the ministry, cause resentment toward Spouse One, and even worse, kill Spouse Two’s appreciation of ministry in general. Ultimately, an established place of independence can lead Spouse Two away from the ministry and the marriage. If there are children involved in this model, they will likely follow Spouse Two, but the damage may be worse. They may never learn to trust the ministry or Who it represents – effecting or even inhibiting their faith.

This situation represents a common lack of boundaries in marriages in the world today, and those involved in ministry are not immune to the effects of these weak marital/ministry boundaries. Genesis 2:24 makes it clear that husband and wife are to become one flesh, and if this is to be true, neither
spouse can be independently focused on something outside of their marriage and family. This includes ministry.

I am sure some of the folks reading this can provide many good reasons why ministry must trump everything else, and I am sure I would not disagree with any supporting information you might provide. After all, our primary responsibility is to stand firm in the faith and fully give ourselves for the works of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). As missionaries, we are strongly connected to Acts 1:8 which identifies that the power of the Holy Spirit is given to us in such a way that we become driven to witness in Jerusalem,
Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts. This seems to put ministry and missionary work out front, because – let’s face it – this is what the Lord expects us to do with the power He provides.

But let me offer that a part of every pastor, missionary, or other servant’s Jerusalem is their family. As we get back to our orchestra analogy, we need to figure out where our spouse and family fit. Someone told me just yesterday that in many cases Spouse Two (and the family) is not even considered to be in the orchestra by some ministry leaders. I suppose that in such a case, they are simply spectators. At any rate, they are not in the place where the Lord expects them to be. At best they are second fiddle.

In many of these scenarios, the spouse and family are indeed in the orchestra, but they are only engaged when absolutely necessary. Most ministries want pastors, missionaries, and other leaders to have a family, and I have spoken to a few who married only to satisfy that requirement. Most of the time, those families are just sitting in the background for effect and waiting to be activated by the conductor as needed. Ultimately, a family structured this way will fail – and therefore, so will the associated ministry.

To avoid this second fiddle condition, couples should work together to set boundaries that identify the family as the most important aspect of their life in Christ. Next, there must be a clear definition of where the family starts and ends, that the whole family is the most valuable player in the orchestra, and that the ministry of priority is that of the family. Next, the extended ministry should be understood as the families ministry; each member having a strong and intentional purpose in it. Remember, the family that
serves together stays together.

Here 2 There Ministries teaches that the church and all of its member ministries (missionaries) function best when they are fully engaged together as supportive partners. It is also true that those who serve in ministry will function best when fully engaged with and supported by their family. Eliminate the second fiddle position, move your family to a partnership level, and let the ministry flourish in the wake of a family strongly connected to the word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

By: Mark Painter, MA

Together on Mission with God: A Biblical Basis for Partnership

“Two are better than one” is a statement most people would affirm, at least until the two are left fighting over a single cinnamon roll. Who would disagree that sharing, working together, or getting along with others is virtuous? When considering God’s mission to redeem a lost world, we must have a more substantial foundation for partnership than generic moral platitudes.

Certainly, there are practical considerations that encourage Christians to work with others.

  • Two people can accomplish a bigger job more efficiently than someone working alone.
  • Globalization forces interaction across cultures whether it is pursued or not.
  • Working with local people more adept at culture and language has obvious benefits.
  • Specialization and cheaper labor can lead to “more bang for the buck.” 

While these pragmatic advantages are not inconsequential, missionaries need biblical support and guidance for entering cross-cultural partnerships. I would like to address four foundational Biblical truths that lead to partnership in mission. In subsequent posts, I will propose a definition of partnership and offer principles and practices for healthy partnership.

To read the rest of this blog at The Upstream Collective’s website click here.

Room In My Heart

Phil 1:3-11
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure
of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, [d] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the
gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


Reading social media today I saw where a friend and business associate of H2T posted, and I paraphrase, “a room in my heart for you”. This sent me on a Word search, only to find where Paul told his Partners “I hold you in my heart”. He later in the passage writes, “I yearn for
you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” What a great picture of holding someone in your heart by creating a room for them.

When we fill our hearts with the Love of God, He makes room for our love to grow so we can add others. As Paul wrote, while in prison, “It is right for me to feel this way.” As a team we hold a place in our hearts, for our partners, our missionaries, and our churches. There is also
room individually for our families, our neighbors, and yes those that may not agree with us.

We at Here2There come together at a minimum 2 times weekly to pray. We make room in our hearts for you. We make room in our hearts for our neighbors. We make room in our hearts for others. Today I encourage you to not harden your heart to others, but make room in
your heart for Jesus, so He can make room for us and others, as we make room for you.

Prayerfully,
Wayne Pierce
Operations Lead

My Observations of The Church During COVID-19

Here we are 2-3 months into the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic and depending on where you are living could determine the stage of lockdown you’re experiencing as some states is the USA have started to ease restrictions. Now is maybe a good time to start looking back and evaluating some things. One of those things for is to see how The Church has handled and weathered the crises. Obviously the church is in no danger of disappearing as we’re promised, “…the gates of Hades will not overcome it.(Matt 16:18)” But if we look through the last few months what has your church been doing? Or maybe more specifically what have the people of your church been doing?

Not that it will be a revolutionary thought to many but it has been my observation for quite some time now that the North American church is almost completely a consumer-driven entity. The vast majority of people who show up on Sunday morning come to be fed and not for much more. My purpose here isn’t to lay the blame at anyone’s feet as I would just say we’ve all likely played a part in getting us here.

All that being said, here’s what I’m seeing right now. I see people that have no idea what to do without a building to meet in and church staff in which to be given direction. A verse I’ve read a number of times recently in Hebrews chapter 5,

“11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

This just seemed so timely to me. So many of us have been in church long enough that we should be able to teach biblical principles and the story of Jesus’ love and salvation but we are so accustomed to having someone teach us, “the elementary truths of God’s word,” over and over again with no expectation that we should know it and go teach it to others. Of course this is nothing new for God’s people. We see time and again in the Old Testament where the Nation of Israel was continually in need for God to send someone to lead them

Most of what I see right now is geared towards the anticipation of when we will be able to meet together again. Don’t get me wrong it is important that we emphasize meeting together and I too am hopeful we will be able to soon but in the mean time we should be seeking God and looking for ways to show God’s love to our neighbors. This is a great time to be able to say, “Yes, I am scared too and unsure about wha the future will look like but I have a hope that rises above that fear of the unknown. God is still sovereign.

I believe one of the best ways to get people get more comfortable serving others and sharing the gospel is to have them go on a short term journey and spend time with missionaries in other places. It is a great opportunity to have people spend time learning and practice living out their faith and sharing it with others. If you would like help mobilizing people to GO Here2There can help. Email us at information@here2there.org for more information.

Bryan Nicholson – Media & Marketing Lead

Cultural Hope

“But what on earth can I write?”

This was what I wrestled with last week as I thought about writing for A Life Overseas. Half of you are displaced, wrestling with when you can get back to your host countries and homes. Half of you are sheltered in place in various places around the world, struggling with what that means. All of you are wondering “Did we make the right decision?”

All of these realities are compounded by the unknown world beyond Covid-19. Some of you are farther ahead. I have friends in Shanghai that encourage me there is life beyond shelter in place and quarantine orders. My son in Greece will be able to attend church next week for the first time in eight weeks. Others are still cautiously waiting. Still others are grieving things beyond Covid-19, worried for things that cannot easily be shared.

All of us are in need of the deep healing that only comes from God.

Click here to read the rest of this blog about finding hope amidst chaos from our new friends at A Life Overseas.

Ministry After COVID-19

                                                By Wayne Dinsbeer, Church Partnership Lead               

                                                                    

This blog is being written on a day our nation is celebrating a group of people who have put their lives on the line day in and day out to save hundreds of thousands of lives during this pandemic and always. It is National Nurses Day. Morning News interviews show nurses in the New York hospitals expressing their feelings about their jobs as of late. One nurse called it working in a “War Zone in which you feel like you have to be serving”. Another stated,  “… we aren’t just giving Medical Care, but we are providing Compassion.” We should all be very thankful for these who serve others with such commitment and compassion.

The news anchors talk much about the way things have become as being our “New Normal”. Such things as continued social distancing and the wearing of masks in public places. Businesses are having to make drastic changes and adjustments just to remain open. In just a matter of weeks our world has been turned upside down. The question is “Where Do We Go From Here?”

In Matthew 9 Jesus is eating with Matthew, the tax collector, and being ridiculed for socializing with  persons of such ill reputation. His response we all know, “… those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” In this statement Jesus was sending a message to all those present and future regarding the work of those calling themselves “Christ Followers”. 

Fast forward a couple thousand years to post pandemic times. We certainly have a lot of people who are both physically and spiritually “sick” today. We also for certain have the mandate to take healing to these. Just like the testimonies of these nurses, we must attack our work with unwavering commitment, focus, and purpose.

Another given in this medical comparison is the realization and acceptance that, “Things aren’t the way they used to be”; “Old ways do not work for this situation”; “We Have to Attack Hardest Where the Outbreak is Greatest”; “Everyone Must Pull Together to Get the Job Done & Survive” ; “This Is No Time To Let Up”.

All of these we have heard in one fashion or another as we  have watched history unfold before us. Now, take the “Medical” aspect out of the above statements and equations and return to Jesus’ response in Matthew 9 and make the application refer to the work of the Church. You can just as rightly apply each of these to the work we are called to do in our ministries.

By the way, for those allergic to the word “Change”. That ship has sailed!

My work with Here2There engages me with churches seeking to accomplish the Vision God has given them. We work with Pastors and Leaders to create their MAP (Ministry Action Plan) which is their strategy for mobilizing to meet the Goals and Objectives set forth in the Vision. The events of the past several months have not altered the Vision, but have certainly changed the Mission and Strategies which form their MAP.

Here are a few things you can consider as you seek to move ministry forward in this post pandemic era.

   Conduct an Evaluation of Ministry Adjustments  consider the following:

  • Are we a strong body able to withstand extreme ministry circumstances?
  • Are we able to have viable ministry to those young and old?
  • Is our church  able to adapt to change?
  • Are we blessed with tech savvy members willing to move ministry forward?
  • Is our ministry family web  able to keep membership connected and engaged in the most difficult of circumstances?
  • Does our ministry include an online option for giving to sustain us financially?
  • Have new ministry methods enabled us to reach new people?
  • While some were able to adapt amidst trying times,  were any left out of the ministry loop of change?
  • Were ministry changes communicated effectively allowing all members to make adjustments?
  • How was our Connectivity with Members during this time?
  • How was our Connectivity with our Community during this time?

Conduct a S W O T Analysis considering current ministry status:

  • What are our STRENGTHS?
  • What are our WEAKNESSES?
  • What are our OPPORTUNITIES?
  • What are our THREATS?

Moving Forward consider the following ministry steps:

  • Continue online zoom classes for greater connectivity with all members and new people reached
  • Could we live stream from each Bible Study class?
  • Offer a Drive In service option each week as an Outreach Tool to reach new people in the community / A simple Radio Transmitter makes this possible
  • Engage a regular opportunity for Drive In Prayer Ministry through the  work of a Prayer Team Ministry
  • Many in your community will have needs – food, jobs, care. Hold a Vision Strategy Planning meeting with leaders and members to brainstorm how you can engage in new ministry or step up your game with existing ministry to meet needs
  • Have a designated Time of Prayer in each service specific for those impacted by virus – health, economic, mental, etc.
  • Ask MST (Missionary Support Team) members to contact each Missionary with whom you partner to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet as possible
  • Ask church Leaders to contact each  Member to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet needs as possible
  • Ask BIble Study Teachers of children and youth classes to contact each  parent to assess Care and Needs – organize means to meet as possible 
  • Start a new Care Ministry Fund to assist with Care and Needs of others
  • Meet with your Tech Team to discuss plans and ways for Moving Forward and how they will assist 

These are just a few things to consider as you strive to do ministry in this time of life change and doing things in different ways than before. Here2There Ministries is purposed in working with Churches and Missionaries to advance their work, especially in this period. Many ministry items are on our website for your assistance and consideration at www.here2there.org. Our team would love the opportunity to speak with you about the specifics of your Vision, Mission, and Needs. If you have any questions or comments please email us at information@here2there.org.

How COVID-19 Changed the Church


As a child, when my parents traveled for work or for fun, they always came back with a gift. Their absence created excitement for me to see what they would bring back. I might have been a bit too eager when they returned to ask for my gift, instead of just saying how glad I was they were home. As I got older and started traveling I too started picking up gifts for family and friends. Even now, when my parents travel they bring their grown adult children gifts back from their trips, and I still look forward to what they will bring me.

As we recently celebrated Easter we spent time reflecting on the power of the Resurrection and the pivot of Christianity. Have you recognized the gift given to us from the Resurrection?

In the tomb, even though no one seemed to be waiting for it, the world changed. The Church changed.

Prior to the cross, there was Jesus and his disciples and apostles ‘doing ministry’ as they traveled. But, in the descending and ascension of Christ, He prepared gifts for us, His Church.

Ephesians 4:7-13
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

The Resurrection initiated a decentralized church:

  • where ALL were expected to GO
  • where ALL were to be equipped to GO
  • where the leader commissioned the followers

The Resurrection looks similar to our current circumstances where the church building or leadership are no longer central to our worship or our actions. Due to Covid-19 the way we’ve done church can no longer stay the same. The Resurrection took the work of the few and distributed it to the many. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His empowerment, everyone was now able and responsible to share the love and message of Christ.

Now, going on 5 weeks, our churches have taken a similar turn. The work of the few has been distributed to the many.

Prayerfully going forward, our churches will continue to celebrate the tragedy that moved us out… The push that helped our church body stand stronger… The crises that forced us to serve, share, give, care like we should.

As a church, examine your strategy for Ephesians 4:7-13 and how you are equipping your body to be the church.

As an individual, examine your role in Ephesians 4:7-13 and how you are to be using your gifts and talents to help others serve and share.

Take a few minutes to see some of our recent updates on Caring thru Crisis. We’ve had conversations about displacement, communication, family and other ways to care.
Check out our YouTube channel here.

We love The Church, both near and far, and pray that we would continue to see Christ be glorified through His Body!


Stefanie Nicholson
Founder and Team Lead

P.S. Our team is currently in a 4 part series on the equipping gifts from Ephesians 4. I will provide the links to the posts that have currently been sent. If you would like to be added to our mailing list for the remainder of the series please send your email to: information@here2there.org with a request for the “Equipping Series”.

Reboot

By now, Missionary Care professionals have analyzed, debated, and initiated plans to care for their missionaries while they are displaced from their mission sites. We all understand that being taken away from one’s livelihood is difficult and potentially depressing. Displaced missionaries are being engaged in church activities such as teaching, preaching, and serving right here at home. Some may be using the talents they exploit on their sites right here at home to keep them serving. Some are certainly pressing on with the homeschooling of their children, and likely taking a few moments to get reacquainted with their passport country at a deeper level than they did the last time they visited – with the obvious exception of the restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Churches, families, and friends are likely working intentionally to help these missionaries take their mind off of the people on their sites, and supporting them by joining them in earnest prayer. Many missionaries are doing what they can remotely, utilizing technology to communicate, teach, advise, and direct as much as is possible. Some are simply out of touch with the people they serve and lead, even fearing that the work that has been done may be unraveling. And, being amazing supporters, their church families are assuring them that God is on the program and that because of Him their work will not return void.

As appropriate as are all of these activities; moving a missionary forward may be the best thing churches can do to help their missionaries emotionally and spiritually. It is either time to get back to the work or that time is just days away. Some of the sites your church supports will need to be reestablished, replenished, rebooted, and/or be reacquainted with your missionaries. This will require focused prayer, resources, planning, and teamwork. For some of your missionaries, the “re” work will be simple and they will slide smoothly back into their site. For others, the work is going to resemble that of when they began their missional journey. They may find that they need to reach out to all of their supporters to rekindle their relationships, to get the support flowing again. For others, they may need to develop new strategies for accomplishing the work they do at their site. Still, others may be either apprehensive or anxious to return to their site. They may need coaching to be sure they are moving at the right time, and at the right pace.

With all of this said, there is plenty of work that must be done now, to be sure no unnecessary delays will keep the sites from getting back up and serving. So below is a random list of some things church supporters can do to help your missionaries be ready to return to their mission sites.

  • If you have not yet debriefed your missionaries, do so as soon as possible. They must release their anxieties (minor or major) now, so they can have the clarity of mind to begin identifying their next steps. (1 Peter 5:7, Proverbs 12:25, Philippians 4:6-8)
  • Work with your missionary(s) to help them develop a strategy to re-establish their funding. (Philippians 2:4)
  • Move your missionary from reporting mode to vision-sharing mode. By now your congregation is very appreciative of the work your missionary teams have done–now give your missionary time to get your congregation excited about the what’s next. This may help your missionary begin to vision-cast, which will help encourage them emotionally and help them connect spiritually to their impending return to the field. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Acts 18:9 & 16:9, Amos 3:3, Galatians 6:9)
  • If you are part of your church’s MST (missionary support team) Help your missionary contact the MSTs from other supporting churches to be sure they are in a forward-looking mode on behalf of your missionary(s). Express your willingness to work in cooperation with your missionary’s other MSTs. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
  • Start collecting the supplies and materials your missionary will need to take with them now. Spread the cost of these goods over time. (Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 20:13)
  • Begin planning for travel, housing (if not already established), and the delivery of materials and supplies. Your missionary doesn’t need to do all of this work as long as you are coordinating with them. (Galatians 6:2)
  • Even as you are planning for your local efforts, be also hands-on in helping your missionaries assemble curriculum, develop lesson series, and build ministry strategy to get them well prepared. They will have plenty to do once they are back on-site to get things back up and running. (Proverbs 11:25)
  • Work on your relationship with your missionaries. Many pastors and other church leaders have developed great friendships with their missionaries, but are weak as collaborators. The opposite is also true. Take this time to develop a well-rounded relationship with your teams. (1 Peter 3:8, Psalm 133:1)
  • Once you have gotten your missionary(s) moving forward, continue to evaluate their emotional and spiritual preparedness, just as you did before their original deployment. (Philippians 4:6-7, Ephesians 6:13)
  • For some missionaries, it may have already been determined that they will not return to their site. They will need your help in preparing for their next mission or ministry. (Isaiah 43:19, Isaiah 42:9, Proverbs 12:15)

Many of your missionaries are locked down with family members in your proximity and others are out of state. At some point, you may have to take the initiative to call them back to service. This does not mean calling them to your location, but getting them back in the groove of planning, preparing, and participating as the leaders or workers of your sites. Remember that much of the work of getting your missionary ready to return to their site is going to fall on you. The more you put off the preparation, the more frustration and anxiety will be associated with the return.

Most importantly, keeping your missionaries focused on their work boosts their confidence, assures them that the church continues to see the value of what they do, and helps them exchange their feelings of loss and grief for excitement and forward-thinking. So don’t delay – Reboot.

If you have any questions about how to get started or just want to talk about missionary care email us at information@here2there.org.

Mark Painter – MAPC, MCM