Looking at our congregations, we may wish that we could magically create a mission-shaped congregation with one event, one sermon, or one service-project.
The challenge is that most life change doesn’t happen overnight! Running a marathon, for example, takes months of training. Daily practice slowly shapes muscles and develops endurance until running 26.2 miles is possible. Becoming a mission-shaped congregation takes many small steps, all headed in the right direction.
Missionaries need a strong support team in order to thrive in their ministry. While the sending agency plays an important role, there are elements of missionary care that congregations are uniquely equipped for.
Writing to your missionary and sending them mail is a great way to encourage them, but some missionaries serve in countries where Christians are persecuted or where sharing the gospel is cause for arrest. Governments monitor letters, packages, emails, social media, websites, and blogs; one word could jeopardize your missionary’s safety and ministry.
We live in a culture where every latte, sunset, or family gathering is fair game for a photo-op and social media post. But we have to be aware of how our love for photography and social media can play out when we are serving in mission.
Reflect on the following guidelines to ensure that your photography, social media use, and communications affirm the dignity of all people on your next short-term mission trip.
1. Give yourself boundaries.
Care packages are a great way to encourage missionaries and send them a bit of home—but sending care packages can also be tricky. In some countries, care packages and their contents can present a huge hassle for your missionary. Always coordinate care packages with missionaries before sending them. Here are four questions you should ask: