Over the last couple weeks I have written about how people “from home” and people “from the field” can help new missionaries and as I continue this series I will be taking a look back home again, but not to individuals, instead the churches themselves. While a lot of what I suggested people “from home” do in order to help new missionaries can be applied to churches as well, this list will be a bit more centered on mission’s committees. So, without further ado, here are some things missions committees can do to help out new (and old) missionaries:
- Give time – for requests – Mission’s committees are going to have requests of the missionary, and quite frankly, that’s ok and expected. My suggestion is to give them time and grace to complete said request. It’s ok to send them requests and reminders for those things to be completed, but keep in mind that they have their own job to do and won’t always have a lot of extra time. This is especially the case for new missionaries as it is a full-time job adjusting to the new culture.
- Give time – for speaking – When your new missionaries are preparing to leave or returning for a visit, consider giving them time to speak. This doesn’t have to be a sermon, or even be in front of the whole church, but you should give them dedicated time to speak with people and tell them about what is going on with their mission. If you really want to help them out, be proactive and set things up for them (more on that in the next one) as they may not know all that would be available to them otherwise.
- Plan events – with consultation – As I stated in the previous point, help your new missionary by planning events for them. This could be as simple as getting a few small groups to host them to as elaborate as you want. Maybe a nice reception after church so the missionary can mingle and strike up casual conversations with people who may not have otherwise stayed after church if there wasn’t some delicious cookies and snacks. I do need to say this though, please, please, please talk with the missionary before you set anything up. Their schedule could be extremely packed and they may not have time to do anything beyond what they have already set up on their own. Offering to help is huge though!
- Give a good send off – Whether your church is the new missionary’s only supporting church or you are one of many, send them off well. Make it a party! After all, they are going to do the Lord’s work and you are helping them do that, so celebrate with them! (Again, talk to them first, not everyone wants a party).
- Communicate changes – Things change all the time in churches and that is normal. What is super awkward, though, is when the new missionary attempts to contact a specific person at the church and they are no longer there or Sunday school isn’t happening anymore, or… There are a huge number of things that could change and letting the new missionary know is a good idea. Of course, this especially goes with your financial support of them. If you have to decrease your giving, let them know. That happens, it isn’t fun to hear, but it happens, so let them know.
- Ask questions – A lot of times people in the church don’t know what the plans of the missionary are, what their job is, how long they will be “home” or any number of other things. I have a simple solution to that…ask them. Get to know your missionary by asking the questions you want to know.
- Learn what they do – Again, this goes with the previous point, but understanding what your missionary does will not only help you, it will make them feel loved because of how much you care. An easy way to do this, beyond asking questions, is to follow them on their social media of choice. Let them share their life with you in the way they choose and participate with them.
- Send trips – If your church and the missionary are both able, why not send a group to serve with them periodically. This won’t always work, for a multitude of different reasons, but it’s worth a shot to ask.