By Ed Eby
Do you support a missionary financially? That’s terrific! Would you like to know how to be a more active support for them?
Your missionary is going through a real rough period right now. How do I know? I used to be that guy. I raised my children in a different culture, and I was always on guard for their safety.
I always appreciated the financial backing of my supporters, and I coveted their prayers. But the thing that meant the most to me was when somebody reached out to me with a phone call, letter, or email.
“But my missionary is in a closed country. How can I contact them without compromising their security?”
Rules are different for each missionary. The only way to know what’s appropriate is to ASK your missionary or the missionary’s sending agency. Some missionaries share their whole life and ministry on Facebook and other social media. Others, need to limit their contact with their supporters to a very narrow channel of communication. AGAIN, THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IS TO ASK.
Missionaries also need to ask partner churches:
- Do you do Facebook Live?
- Do you do Youtube Live?
- Do you live stream?
- Do you upload your recorded service to a website? Is it audio? Is it video?
- Do you post in the bulletin (or on social media) snippets of our sermon, our talk, or about us?
Missionaries need to make it a habit to have a good discussion with the church they will be visiting about what the church or ministry can or cannot post about them and their field. You can contact Nikole Hahn, Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator, for ideas through here. We would love to help you promote what God is doing through us in the world.
The following applies to missionaries in closed countries
There are a list of dos and don’ts for supporting your missionary in a closed country.
Don’t ever publish or mention your missionary’s name and/or location in the following areas:
- social media
- your church’s website
- from the pulpit at church
- in the bulletin or any other publication from your church
- in emails, letters, social media, or other correspondence to your friends
- For any publication, emails, bulletin announcements, or church websites, keep the communications generic:
- Example: “Pray for our missionary in East Asia”
- See the Don’ts above
- Ask your missionary or their sending agency about their preferred method of communication.
- You may be able to contact them directly, but more likely, you’ll have to do it through their communication agent.
- Write to them often!
- Ask them how they are doing. Ask them how their family is doing. Get to know them as people, not just missionaries.
- Tell them how their life and ministry gives you hope and joy.
Missionary work is difficult. Family dynamics are challenging, especially if there are children that are having trouble with the local culture. Missionary care is essential. You can play a powerful role in the life of your missionary.
YOU MAY BE THE KEY to helping your missionary thrive on the field! Following these simple Dos and Don’ts is the best way to start.
About The Author:
For nearly twenty years, Ed Eby was the Network Engineer for the USPS Engineering Center. One of his main focuses was to keep the Engineering Center secure from hackers and viruses. Since 2011, Ed has served as the Network Administrator for WorldVenture, bringing those same skills to the Kingdom of God.
In his personal life, Ed Eby has recently become a top-selling novelist and writer. For 15 years, Ed and his wife, Sue, worked in inner-city missions in the ghettos of Washington DC. They did drug and alcohol intervention, prison ministry, and street ministry. They helped to plant a church that is still thriving today. He also is a musician and songwriter and currently in Florida receiving treatment for Lyme’s disease. Connect with him on Facebook.