Partners in Missions
Jenn Fortner is a fundraising coach for individuals serving the Eurasia region through Assemblies of God World Missions
What was your first exposure to global missions?
It happened on a short-term ministry trip to South Africa in 2011. A team of us went on a prayer walk with police escorts in Johannesburg that turned into the rescue of a woman from human trafficking. It was a defining experience I will never forget.
Can you explain the importance of support raising — also called partnership development — for missionaries?
The benefits to a missionary raising support include having a team of individuals and churches that are likely to carry the missionary in prayer, provide emotional and spiritual support and invest in the task at hand. Missionaries also have the opportunity to encourage local congregations. Around 80 percent of the missionaries I work with say they were inspired to go to their mission field because of an encounter they had with another missionary.
Hence, God’s good idea: calling us all to be a part of the Great Commission. Yes, all of us. Throughout the Bible, you find examples of ministers being supported to do the work the Lord has given them. It doesn’t just start with modern missions; raising finances has been God’s design all along. I venture to say it is His idea, not only because it works, but because we are all called to take part as goers and senders (Mark 16:15,16).
We are all called to take part as goers and senders (Mark 16:15,16)
How can financial partners and supporting churches better minister to their missionaries on the field — and when they return?
First and foremost, pray for the missionaries you support on a regular basis, and let them know you are praying. Take their newsletters into your small groups and congregations to pray specifically for the people they are working with and the various tasks ahead of them.
If and when they come back for itineration, spend time hearing how their assignment went. Find ways to help them itinerate. Maybe you have a small group that could sponsor your missionary friend.
Stay connected to them via social media, email or Skype, especially if you are close friends or family. Don’t let the phrase become true: “out of sight, out of mind.” However, give them grace if you don’t hear from them for a while. It may be that they need a little time to integrate and focus on where they are. It is often challenging for a missionary to assimilate into a different culture.
This article was originally published by VitalMagazine.com and has been used with permission.