Church-based Missionary Nurture Teams-the Basics
When God calls one or more of the members of a healthy local church to serve as missionaries in another country, He will also move the pastors, leaders, and other members of that church to discover and develop a variety of channels for Missionary Care to flow through.
As part of a local church’s multi-faceted expression of Missionary Care, Shepherd’s Staff recommends that the leaders of a local church construct a Missionary Nurture Team in order to provide specific, pastoral-level care for their missionaries
OVERVIEW OF THE TEAM
The members of the Missionary Nurture Team should be:
–Selected by the pastoral staff or missions leadership team of the church
–Taught to understand the unique challenges and stresses that missionaries experience
–Trained to provide a portion of the nurture that is necessary for the missionary’s well-being
–Recognized, and recommended to the missionary by the church leadership as an expression of their love and care
WHAT THE TEAM MEMBERS SHOULD KNOW
They should be equipped with an understanding of these things:
–What motivates a person to become a missionary
–Why they embrace a higher level of risk and possibility of suffering than most people do
–What someone born and raised in America experiences when they live in a different culture
–How to be a source of encouragement to any missionary
–How to debrief a missionary for God’s glory, the good of the missionary, and their own joy
SIZE AND COMPOSITION OF THE TEAM
Ideally, the Missionary Nurture Team should have at least 10 members, including three or four married couples that would be willing to minister together to a missionary couple.
Due to the abundance of single missionaries, especially single women missionaries, if it’s at all possible, there should be at least two women and two men on the team that have never been married.
Shepherd’s Staff recommends that a designated pastoral-staff representative:
–Actively participate in the team member selection process
–Ensure that training is scheduled and attended by all the team members**
–Guide the process of connecting team members to a specific missionary
–Provide ongoing oversight of the ministry of the team to ensure that the church’s missionaries and the team members remain spiritually and emotionally healthy.
Regardless of the numerical size of a local church, if it’s healthy, God WILL call one or more of the members to move outside the borders of America for His glory–and creating a Missionary Nurture Team will be an added demonstration of just how healthy that local church is.
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*Shepherd’s Staff offers a three-session, five-hour training workshop for Missionary Nurture Teams. For more information, contact Pastor Jeff Jackson at: JEFFJ@ssmfi.org