Support: 7 Ways To Send Well

13 02 2020

In most churches, when missions is talked about, 3 things are asked of you: Pray, Give, & Go. It is no surprise, then, that most individuals and churches are not good senders. Praying and giving are very important and a part of sending, but not the only part.

Romans 10:15a says, “And how can they preach unless they are sent?” This is asked rhetorically by Paul to emphasize the importance of sending. It also legitimizes sending. Many people mistakenly think that the ones who go on the mission field are the super saints, while those left behind are second-class Christians. This could not be further from the truth!

Sending is just as important as going. And, if this is the case, our senders need to be given just as much priority in training and resourcing as our missionaries. Too often, though, our missionaries are sent to the field with an inadequately trained and small sending team.

7 Ways To Send Well

  1. Pray: Ephesians 6 talks about how we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our missionaries and church planters happen to be the ones in different geographical locations, but, if this is truly a spiritual event, senders can literally engage in the battle from home. A sender can fight the spiritual battle on behalf of the person on the field. How awesome is this! We can not only fight, but, as a result, share in the harvest celebration knowing that we played a part.
  2. Give: Planting churches and cross-cultural missions are expensive endeavors. Christians are needed to give to help fund these things. However, donating a little extra money is not the only way a sender can resource our missionaries and church planters. You could restructure your life and budget to be able to give sacrificially. You could use your gifts and talents to start a business to fund missions. You could use your resources to invest in opportunities that yield dividends that go to fund missions. The point is that we are pretty good at creatively thinking of ways to get the gospel to an unreached people group, but we tend to stop thinking creatively when it comes to funding the venture.
  3. Communicate: Speaking from experience, there is nothing quite like opening your email or, especially, your post office box in a distant country and finding a note of encouragement. As a sender, we ought to be writing our missionaries and church planters continually. Write them Scripture. Write them what you are praying. Write them about what God is doing in your life. Of course, we need to be sensitive to security issues when sending written communication, but a good sender simply figures that out and gets on with writing. You can also jump on FaceTime or Skype or any of a number of conferencing apps and talk face-to-face with them.
  4. Respond: I know that a response is communication and could have gone in the above category. But I felt like this one deserves its own. Many of our church planters and missionaries spend a lot of time each month preparing an e-newsletter. I believe that most people receive that email, give it a cursory glance, and forget about it. We can do better! Commit now with me that when you open that newsletter you will read every word and immediately hit the reply button to send them a response. When you respond, be sure to use their secure language. For instance, if they write “lift up” in the place of “pray,” use the wording they use. Don’t just respond with a thanks for sending the newsletter. That’s better than nothing, but instead write them back concerning the things they are concerned with in their newsletter. I remember spending hours putting together a newsletter, sending it to hundreds of people, and not hearing a word from anyone. I didn’t even know if people were getting it. It was very discouraging.
  5. Advocate: To advocate for something is to publicly support and recommend a cause. What better cause is there than to support our missionaries and church planters?! A great way to think about your role as a sender is that you are the go-between for missionaries and their sending churches. Take every opportunity that you can to advocate for your sent ones. There are a million different ways to do this. Here are a few ideas to get you started… set up an informational booth in your church to educate people about the partnership, host a dinner and prayer meeting at your home to specifically pray for your sent one, moderate a private Facebook page dedicated to supporting your partners, take your pastor to lunch and inform him about the partnership, pass out your partnership’s prayer cards like they are candy, etc.
  6. Visit: Go visit your missionary or church planter. When we lived in Tanzania, we loved it when people came for a visit. Our boys could not wait until our volunteer teams arrived. Don’t go expecting the missionary or church planter to prepare a ton of ministry opportunities for you. There is a time and place for that kind of trip. On this trip, your job is to go and be an encouragement for your sent ones. Take them stuff they need. Play board games with their kids. Watch the kids so mom and dad can go on a date. Take the ladies to get their nails done. Take them to a favorite restaurant. In short, love on them! That’s it! I promise that a trip like this will give your missionary or church planter a boost that will keep them on the field longer, and, in turn, that will increase the work!
  7. Send: Send other folks to go, both short-term and long-term. Be a travel agent for your missionary or church planter to get other people to go and serve on their team. Take some time and pray about who to ask. Make a list of names. Then invite these individuals to a personal meeting, buy them a cup of coffee, and ask them if they ever considered going. You will be surprised! I have found that God is still in the business of working in people. Sometimes all it takes is the ask.

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