I think there is a vast methological differences between that of what is termed "Missionary Support" in our churches nowadays.
So often churches send money to the missionary or to the missionary's parachurch organization and thus the missionary has to depend on the parachurch or different churches for financial support. These churches think that just sending a cheque in the mail - they have done their job and "supported" the Great Commission.
The problem is this tends to have a disconnection of the church to the ministry and even though a partnership with the Mission Agency - there still tends to be holes. The Mission Agency maybe good at the training and even some of the Spiritual battles but where is the REAL support?
By real support - I mean where are the Missionary's friends, loved ones, home church(es) in this process? Where is the encouragement? Where is the Church being the Church? Where is the Sending happening? Seems to me the Mission Organization is doing the sending rather than the Church.
So we (as the Church) need to rethink our Missionary approach. So often what happens is missionaries get on the field - only to feel alone, abandoned, deserted. Not to mention the spiritual battles and attacks on their marriage, social, mental, physical states. Long term success isn't there. Only after a few years, the missionaries return on furlough only to repeat the process of trying to raise "support" (As in Funds) rather than relaxing and resting and recovering from the culture of which they came.
The Church itself needs to becoming a Sending Church. Fully responsible and able to support both financially, spiritually, mentally, socially, academically the team they are sending. They can partner with an organization but recognize they are the Ones doing the Sending - not the organization. The agency is there in a partnership role to help the church achieve its vision. There has to be Church people committed to prayer, financial oversight, spiritual battles, communication, re-entry phase etc. in this whole process. A "Sending team" would be a team of people there for the missionary. They would encourage, pray, go to bat for them. In some ways all of our Staff at Church needs a "Sending team" for this.
I think the more the church rethinks the way they handle missions and try to have ownership themselves - the better. I think some of the parachurch organizations have done a good job, but ultimately the responsibility IS and Should be the Church's. Too long now has the church depended on parachurch organizations to do the work of the church both in Missions' efforts and even in Ministry (especially Youth Ministry) efforts. It is time for the church to take back the responsibilities that were Her's in the first place. Let's get to work!
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