Developing a Missionary Care Strategy
Values to consider when developing a missionary care strategy at your church
Sample Core Values
- We value dependable care through grace-oriented relationships.
- We want to fill in the gaps of needs not met by the sending church or mission agency.
- We want to promote congregational awareness and involvement.
- We want to encourage openness through assurance of confidentiality and secure communication.
- We want to live congruently to build credibility
Our purpose is to glorify God as we promote the well-being, growth, effectiveness and sustainability of (your church name)'s long-term missionaries. Our team provides a safe place for missionaries to share everything from joys to struggles first-hand through grace-oriented relationships. We encourage and assist them to the extent of our spiritual gifts, our professional and our personal expertise provide by caring for them well—confidentially meeting physical, spiritual, emotional needs thus enhancing the efforts of the sending agencies.
Develop an open working relationship between missionary agencies, missionaries on the field and the church. The goal is to discover how agencies provide missionary care so the church can “fill any gaps” that might exist. Learn from each agency that you partner with and build a relationship with member care personnel. Pay close attention specifically for medical, evacuation and emergency care, what their confidentiality policy states and what mental health care resources are available on the field. This will enable you to prepare a practical care plan for each of our missionaries that will match needs with resources.
Small Groups adoption and care
In an attempt to have the individual missionaries become well known to a larger number in participating congregations, you can encourage an “adopt a missionary” campaign in your small groups or Sunday school classes. Each group adopting will pray for a particular missionary/missionary family every time they meet together, they will contact their missionary once a month, they will learn about their missionary and allow the missionary to know about them, and they will include the missionary in their group when they come to town.
Coaching for intercultural adjustment
The assessment instrument, CSA – CernySmith Assessment, developed by Christian psychologists for missionaries, will show them how they are doing in their adjustment to a different culture. Some of the areas covered are spiritual vitality, emotional health, workload, relationships (with nationals, their team, and their family) and language learning. This can be used at least once or twice a year within a confidential relationship with a coach to encourage them with their strengths and coach them through their challenges in an effort to prevent problems before they become unmanageable.
Critical life experiences can be even more critical when overseas. A medical crisis in a country that has poor health care, or a family crisis when in an isolated part of the world can necessitate immediate intervention. A church’s mission budget should have provision for “boots on the ground” where you can be present with your missionaries in concrete ways to help when life hits them hard.
Link the church body with your missionaries by sharing gifts and abilities that may be needed and helpful for them at home and abroad. Keep a list of willing medical, dental and mental health professionals with their specialty areas, insurance needs and availability for short home visits. Develop a list of professionals who would provide volunteer crisis help through email, skype or video conferencing so that help can be accessed during the times of need.
Home hospitality needs
When missionary families visit your church, help them anticipate their needs for housing, transportation, exposure in the church, and individualized help wherever possible. Some churches maintain a home for missionaries to use when they are on home assignment. Vehicles can be borrowed for their temporary use during the period they will be on home assignment.
Pre and post-field debriefing with each missionary
Before they go, have missionaries share their particular needs that they need your help with while they’re on the field. When they come home, debrief with them about their experience on the field, to learn from them the areas where you served them well, but also how you can improve on caring for them.
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