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The Same but Different

Why Pastors and Missionaries were made for Each Other

When talking to churches about their missionaries and their need for more emotional, mental, spiritual support, we often see a lack of disconnect. Typically the only time these areas of support are ever considered is where there is a huge crisis that can not be ignored. We rarely take the time to back up and think about the day to day needs that help prevent some of these huge blow ups from happening. There is also a natural struggle because of the personal lack of understanding of the position and situation their missionaries are in. The normal church member doesn’t consider themselves to be a missionary, hasn’t had much personal experiences in a foreign context for an extended period of time and has access to every resource they could ever think of.

When we begin taking a more indepth look at the true life, struggles, needs of our missionaries we realize they are typically, no different than you or I. They have the same needs, wants, desires and struggles we have. In fact, when we can help pastors see their situation is very similar to that of their missionaries, the measure of care for their missionaries changes.

THE SIMILARITIES of a Pastor and Missionary

  • Responsibilities to lead/shepherd both ministry and family
  • Struggles of leadership, working with people, marriage and family
  • Pressures to do a good job, not mess up, have a successful work
  • Need wise people around them to help with the work and lean on
  • Lack of trust – without judgement or consequences- in others
  • False reality that they are superheros and the only one who can teach and share the Gospel

Many of these expectations put on Pastors and Missionaries are lies of deceit that have been established by the enemy long ago. Yet, they still hold many of us captive and paralyzed to not change our behavior or habits.

I will bet that many of our non-pastors and non-missionaries reading this will be able to relate to those areas of similarity too. You have the same pressures, the same struggles and needs. You need care, connection and encouragement for your day to day tasks.

To be in these positions can be dangerous. Not because of the power they can exploit from their position, but because they are people who can carry such heavy burdens without anyone to help them carry the weight. Their responsibilities to the Lord to speak truth in the face of lies, the weight of knowing every word spoken as a leader is measured, knowing they share a message often never wanted. They are the same, they are in heavy need, and yet often the least cared after.

THE DIFFERENCES of a Pastor and Missionary

  • Location
  • Lack of resources to draw from

Although the differences are far fewer than our similarities, they are still important to note because they will help us identify how we can better care for the ones who are far away. And note, location can also just mean isolation for our pastors.

THE NEED for BOTH

  • Safe haven to share, vent, cry and grieve
  • Empathy through struggles without judgement
  • Spiritual encouragement
  • Connections without conditions
  • True reality to just be human

Consider what unknown pressures you are putting on your leadership and what needs they might have that are not being met. Identifying these simple areas are what will lead you to provide the needed connection and care your missionaries and pastors need.

H2T is passionate about keeping our missionaries healthy and thriving, and we believe YOU are the best person to see that through. Please contact us @ here2there.org@gmail.com for more ways to provide the needed care for your partners!

Stefanie Nicholson

Founder and Team Lead

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