Missionary care as a team sport
In The Sending Church Defined, Zach Bradley of the Upstream Collective painstakingly describes what a biblical model of a sending church looks like.
In a nutshell, it would be a community.
And missionary care would be a team sport.
Here are some more of my thoughts on Zach’s statements:
Only those who have been developed and affirmed by the church should be commissioned cross-culturally with the church’s blessing and partnership. (p. 85)
But an ideal worth aiming for.
And that developing and affirming?
It should continue once the worker is deployed.
Missionary care starts when missionary development first begins.
God invites us to partner with him in his mission. Partnership is his principle. When we choose to partner, we choose to be dependent on one another. Partnership…is rooted in who God is. (p. 102; 100)
As I wrote earlier, partnership in mission is based on
partnership within the Trinity.
Nurture is also his principle..
part of his character.
Mutual care is the natural outworking of that.
Sending is a commitment to the long haul care of those sent out. And encouragement is the foundation of the sending process. (p. 133)
Injecting courage into one another…
It’s one of those commands we are to take seriously…
But rarely do.
Everyone has the capacity to do this…
so no one is exempt from the mandate.
And missionaries on the field will not survive without it.
Every church has what it takes to do something, but no church alone has what it takes to do everything. (p. 116)
The same can be said about providing missionary care.
The bulk of proactive care?
It can be rendered by the senders.
But at times a greater level of experience or expertise
may be required on the recovery side.
That’s when it’s time to network
with those members of the body of Christ…
who have the training and credentials to do what we cannot.
Sending churches understand that no amount of logistical support can replace their genuine presence. The sending church eagerly seeks to outfit its sent ones with co-laborers through short-terms teams, mid-term teams, and long-term partners. (p. 127;138)
Presence is what God offers us.
Presence is the best gift we can give…
especially if it can be physical.
Paul was able to make it through a particularly challenging period of time…
when he despaired even of life (2CO 1: 8)…
because the church sent Titus to encourage him (2CO 7:6).
Missions and missionary care are a team effort…
a team sport, if you will.
Imagine your church not only sending members out but also commissioning advocate teams to support them. (p. 141)
If you and your church possess
the characteristics we’ve looked at here
over the past two weeks…
then you won’t be able to imagine
sending your members without adequate care.
Because friends don’t let friends go to the mission field alone.