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Missionary Nurture Teams: Why are they necessary?

The glory of God is reflected in a special way when local churches embrace and engage in both sending AND caring for their own members that He calls to serve as missionaries.

In a healthy local church, a Spirit-generated passion moves the pastors and leaders to nurture the growth and development of every member.

When God calls some of those church members to serve as missionaries in other countries, His Spirit will move the leaders to think through the unique challenges and stresses they will experience in preparation for departure, while they’re on the field, and when they return back to America on a visit or to start life again in this country.

PRACTICAL REASONS: UNIQUE CHALLENGES AND STRESSES

Here’s a small sampling of what their church members will face in getting to, and then living on the field:

–Receiving and then sharing with others that God has called them to be a missionary.

–Trusting that God will provide the money necessary to fulfil the vision He’s given them through churches and fellow believers, some of whom they have never actually met.

–Selling or storing pretty much every one of their belongings.

–Disconnecting themselves, their wives, and their children from anything or anyone that is familiar and then resettling them in a different country

–Beginning a whole new life in another country and needing to discover how to get around, where to buy food, what is available to buy, and how to use the currency.

–Finding out what medical or dental care is available, how to obtain it, and then facing the reality that it might not be of the same quality that they have had access to in the U.S.

–Learning to live in the midst of a completely new culture and environment, and acquiring language and cultural skills at the same time they’re trying to help their family adjust AND attempting to engage in the “ministry” they’re convinced God called them there to do.

When church leaders comprehend that these are just a few of the realities missionaries face, and that the unique challenges and stresses involved with returning back to life in America are added to the pile, that same Spirit-generated passion to nurture their members will move them to see the need for creating and equipping a group of people to provide the special nurture that their missionaries need.

NECESSITY OF SPECIFIC TRAINING ALREADY ACKNOWLEDGED

In the same way that God is moving an increasing number of churches to train some of their key members for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing in order to meet the special needs of those who have been through traumatic events, He is also moving more and more church pastors and leaders to create and train what Shepherd’s Staff refers to as Missionary Nurture Teams.

MISSIONARY NURTURE IS UNITY IN HIM ON DISPLAY

In John 17, Jesus said more than once that when His people are unified in Him, the reality of His coming in to this world is declared to those who don’t yet believe.

The unity and love that is necessary and on display when local churches take missionary nurture so seriously that they establish and train some of their members to provide it, reflects God’s glory in a very special way and validates that the Son of God really did enter in to this world.

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Pastor Jeff Jackson has served as both an international and domestic church planter. He is the Director of Church Relations and Missionary Care at Shepherd's Staff and lives in the San Diego with Helen, the beautiful wife of his youth.

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