by Jon Konnerup
It is said that each year five percent of the worldwide missionary force returns home and resigns, yet 70 percent of these cases are preventable. If we take a more proactive approach in assisting them before they return, we can potentially keep many on the frontlines of missionary service. How can we work together to curb this trend?
We want to be more actively involved in assisting and ministering to our missionary kids. This would include preparing missionary parents, their children, and the sending church as the family returns to the U.S. This will be the first step as we try to develop something more for our families as they face these life changes. Our MKs return as third culture kids (TCKs) and often find themselves not able to relate well in either the U.S. or the foreign culture. So, we would like to do all we can to help prepare them to be successful in their transition as they re-enter this culture. Many of our newly approved missionaries are missionary kids and are able to thrive in their ministries on the mission field. Let’s do all we can to help all of them transition and hopefully see more return into the Lord’s service.
Missionaries also face many spiritual and emotional battles on the field. Oftentimes they struggle and need someone to come alongside them. Adequate funding could assist the sending pastor, someone from the Mission Office, or a mission field representative to visit missionaries to counsel and encourage them and perhaps save a marriage, family, or ministry. Perhaps retreats on the field, right where our missionaries live, can be organized at no cost to the missionary where we can spend some quality time together lifting our brothers and sisters up who are constantly being bombarded by the devil.
We would like to provide training for sending churches to help them understand what their missionaries expect and need from them and, in turn, what they should expect from their missionaries. Regional meetings across the United States would be set up where the ideas of what other churches are doing for their missionaries would be shared with sending pastors. Pastors who have successfully backed their missionaries would be included in this part of the education.
Initiatives such as these are just a snapshot of things we would like to do for our missionaries. They are not intended to usurp the authority of the sending church — on the contrary. When called upon, we want to be equipped and available to assist missionaries in the best way possible. We stand by the biblical pattern of the local church as the missionary’s sending agency. We want to come alongside and assist churches as they strive to fulfill the Great Commission.
Would you consider what part you will have in this newly established Missionary Care Offering? You can promise an annual gift or commit to giving a set amount each month. This is a very important way you can make a difference in many missionary lives.