In past two posts we looked at the need to get focused and be strategic. Today we want to consider choosing missionaries. Of course your church probably already has missionaries, but as opportunities arise to choose new missionaries, here are some considerations.
First, research the missionary and missions group carefully before you invite them. If they aren’t a missionary your church should support or a missions group you can work with, don’t invite them. Consider doctrinal compatibility – do they agree with your statement of faith, and can you agree with theirs. Consider your ability to work together. We once had a missionary who wanted some of our young people to do a short term missions trip with them, but when we called the missions group they essentially wrote us off because we were an independent Bible church. So be sure to do your research before you invite a missionary to visit, and even more before you take on a missionary.
Second, consider supporting a national missionary in countries where there already is a growing church. They already know the language and culture. Plus their support is often considerably less. Whereas $100/month support is often only around 1% of the traditional missionary’s need, it is often around 25% of a national missionary’s need. One word of caution though – look for national missionaries that are accountable to some church or missions group. There are some phonies out there. A couple of good options I’d highly recommend include:
Finally, don’t forget traditional missionaries – especially those going to unreached people groups. The mission field is still vast, and we still need traditional missionaries. And of course one benefit for the church of having a traditional missionary over national missionaries is seeing them on furlough. And you can write to them without translation issues. But be sure to set a minimum monthly amount that makes it worthwhile for the missionary, maybe $50-100.
In the last post, I suggested the power of one or two, that is, focus on one or two missionaries. So perhaps your church might support one national missionary and one traditional missionary, and enjoy the best from both options. As before, I’d love your thoughts and suggestions – just leave a comment.