The life of a missionary is sometimes viewed as adventuresome and exotic. Many believers admire Adoniram Judson and his amazing ministry in Burma. Church members may envision missionaries in the same light as Dr. Livingstone as he explored the jungles of Africa. It is easy to get excited about smuggling Bibles across borders, planting new churches, discipling new believers, and evangelism!
While there is adventure and excitement in reaching the nations for Christ, there are also difficult obstacles and trials set in days of mundane living. Missionaries are real people who face real issues. These issues can be unknown to or overlooked by supporting churches. It is through a Missionary Care program that missionaries receive the help and support they need. Missionary care helps prevent missionaries from becoming burned out and returning home prematurely.
What Is Missionary Care: Why Is It Important?
Missionary care is the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical support which missionaries receive from their home churches and mission agencies throughout their ministry. It is critical to their overall success and health. Unfortunately, the missionary may find it difficult to ask for needed help because of an unrealistic image of missionaries by some.
Challenges that missionaries face can include adapting to a new culture and learning a new language. Even climate changes can have an impact. Living in a foreign country can be extremely challenging spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Missionaries may feel disconnected from their sending churches. Whether living in a sprawling metropolis or in a remote location, loneliness and discouragement are very common. Some missionaries face depression and disappointment, sometimes leaving the field overwhelmed and struggling.
An organized Missionary Care program can help reduce attrition and aid churches and mission agencies in supporting missionaries in a God-honoring fashion.
Our Goal: To Support Missionaries In Every Area Of Life
Spiritually: Missionaries need to be shepherded as all Christians do. We want to provide our missionaries with connections such as someone to partner with them who understands what they are facing and can walk with them through a particular challenge. We desire to provide spiritual mentors who truly understand the rigors of cross-cultural ministry.
Emotionally: Missionary care aids missionaries in coping with the emotional strain that comes with facing numerous difficult situations. Common situations are how to handle bribery, sex trafficking, whistleblowing, trauma, cumulative stress, struggles in marriage or in singleness. We want to equip our missionaries so that they can successfully deal with such issues.
Mentally: The stigma surrounding mental health has prevented some missionaries from seeking the help they may need. We want to offer sound biblical counseling to our missionaries that will help guide them through any issues they may face. This confidential counseling will provide a mentor as well as encouragement through trials. We seek to provide a biblical view for dealing with mental health issues and processing difficult experiences. Mentors will work in conjunction with the missionary’s doctor if medical treatment is deemed necessary and will provide continuing support.
Physically: Sometimes it is difficult for missionaries to get proper medical care. The Missionary Care program will help provide referrals to personnel who can assist in case of physical needs.
Missionary Care: Everyone’s Responsibility
The relationship between supporting churches and the missionary is presented in Scripture as an extensive and committed relationship.
In Acts 14:27-28 we see that Paul and Barnabas were eager to return to their home church of Antioch so that they could report “all that God had done through them,” and they “stayed there a long time with the disciples.” The Antioch church seemed very excited to have their missionaries back. This church provided the opportunity to share their ministry and lives together.
In III John 5-8 we see that the privilege of caring for missionaries is the responsibility of all believers. While we at Global Faith strive to serve our missionaries in the best possible way, we realize it is not only our responsibility. It is the responsibility of the church to care for God’s servants who are helping us fulfill the Great Commission.
Meet the Author | Ashley Evans I was raised in a quaint, rural town in North Alabama and my childhood included many adventures exploring the woods and caves and taking care of critters. Now I am married to my best friend and we have two daughters. I am looking forward to years of ministry serving in the local church with my husband serving in a pastoral role, homeschooling my children, counseling others, marriage ministry, missionary support, and pursuing art, engraving and writing.... and maybe a little hunting and fishing when I have the time.