Philippians 4:10, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
Missionaries on deputation need our love and support. The deputation trail is a very difficult road to travel down; therefore, as a church, we should do everything within our power to encourage them, love them, cheer them on, and help them. Here are some ideas that will help you to work with missionaries better.
WHEN THEY CALL YOU, RETURN THEIR CALLS
The biggest complaint that I have heard from missionaries when they come to our church is that pastors do not return their calls. It is very discouraging to a missionary when they call a church and no one returns their call. If you don’t have time as a pastor to return their calls, appoint a mission’s director or a secretary to do this for you.
HAVE A PROTOCOL TO FOLLOW WHEN SCHEDULING A MISSIONARY TO COME TO YOUR CHURCH
When a missionary calls requesting to present their work, return their call. Get their contact information for the best way to send them a missionary questionnaire, asking them to fill out the questionnaire and either mail or email it back to you as quickly as possible.
After reading their completed questionnaire, determine whether you want to have them or not; but regardless of whether you want to have them or not, call them back to let them know your intentions.
If you are going to have them, look at your church calendar and decide on the best time to have them. At our church, we schedule missionaries to come on Sunday nights. On Sunday mornings, everyone is busy with bringing people to church, running bus routes, teaching Sunday school, and other ministries and on Wednesday nights, several people are working. Sunday nights are best for us because we start at 6 pm and there is no rush to get out of the service.
WHEN MISSIONARIES JUST STOP IN, TREAT THEM WELL
Oftentimes, we have missionaries that are not scheduled to be with us just stopping in for one of our church services. If a missionary stops in, we do not automatically let them show their slide presentation or give a testimony. We have a deputation fund we use to give them a designated amount of money, but that is all.
WHEN WE SCHEDULE A MISSIONARY TO BE WITH US, WE REQUIRE SEVERAL THINGS
We explain to the missionary our process because we want to help them have the best presentation possible.
They are to send their missionary presentation to us at least seven days in advance, which allows our mission’s director to view and approve it. We do not allow missionary presentations to be shown if it is accompanied by CCM music or other worldly connotations. Once the missionary presentation is approved, it is then sent to the media department to be uploaded and queued for showing.
We ask that the missionary set up their display table 45 minutes before the service begins to be able to greet early arrivals.
ASSIGN A PERSON TO BE THEIR HOST WHILE THEY ARE HERE
Assigning a host to the missionary while they are visiting is very important if the pastor himself cannot host them. You could rotate hosting duties among staff men or other key members in the church. The host will greet them when they arrive, help them set up their missionary display, and take care of their meals.
IF A MISSIONARY IS SCHEDULED TO COME, HERE ARE SOME OTHER IDEAS IN MAKING THEIR VISIT A PLEASANT ONE
- Decorate their hotel room or the place they will be staying.
- Put a nice welcome letter in their room.
- Prepare a nice gift basket.
- Have their honorarium in the letter that you place in their room.
- Brag on them and their work before they give their presentation.
- Do something special for them while they are visiting, especially if they have children.