Thus far, we have looked at six principles of missions – (1) Cover It with Prayer, (2) Make It Personal, (3) Help with Humility, (4) Make It Sustainable, (5) Equip and Empower the Indigenous, and (6) Connect with the Father. Here is principle number seven.
Principle Seven: Support the Missionary
The Apostle Paul was a missionary. He took at least three missionary trips recorded in the Book of Acts. He planted churches. He pastored churches for a season. He evangelized along the way.
Life as a missionary is hard. It has its ups and downs. Every missionary experiences the rigors of the mission’s field.
In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul shared of his struggles. He wrote, “For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.” 1Corinthians 7:5
Yes, the Apostle Paul experienced depression as he served the Lord in his ministry and missionary endeavors. He underwent the very things that challenge God’s servants today.
What helped Paul was the support he received from the church. He continued in his writings, “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.” 1Corinthians 7:6-7
Paul received support and comfort from the Body of Christ. He was uplifted by the coming of Titus and the knowledge that the saints loved and supported him.
Missionaries need the support of the church family that sent them. The church is more than a group of people who send $100 a month to support a missionary. If a missionary does not have the ardent, committed support of a body of believers who love him or her, he or she will have a difficult time prospering as a one called by God to serve in a land far away.
In my opinion, this is one of the two or three reasons why missionaries languish in the field. They don’t have adequate support from their sending church family. Too often, a missionary has a dozen or more churches supporting them without one church undergirding them as their primary sending church family and supporting them with more than just capital.
More to come and something to think about…