If you ask a missionary whether they are pleased with the breadth and depth of connection they have with the leaders and members of their home church, very few will say that they are.
Whether they are or not, the reality is that wise communication is the seed they need to sow in order to reap the beautiful fruit of deeper and more meaningful connectedness with their home church.
If you love and care for the missionaries you know, please consider challenging them to think about the relationship between communication and connection displayed through the Apostle Paul’s life and writing.
Although his letters (epistles), to churches certainly contain doctrinal truth, affirmations, rebukes, exhortations and information about how to walk with Jesus, it’s crucial to understand that at their core, they were letters written by a real missionary to the leaders and members of local churches.
When Paul’s letters to various churches are viewed through a missionary newsletter/update lens, the things that he believed they need to know become obvious:
1—That he thanks God for them AND prays for them
2—What his actual prayers for them were (Eph 1:16-22 3:14-19 Phil 1:9-11 Col. 1:9-12)
3—That he rejoices at the news he hears about them and how they walk with Jesus
4—What his ministry activities are, and how he is doing, (some of which he recognizes can be communicated to them personally by way of people who had spent time with him Col. 4:7-9)
5—How God has brought him comfort in the midst of life, ministry, and trials (Col. 4:10,11)
In fact, based on HOW MUCH and WHAT he communicated to churches, I’m convinced that Paul took the truth contained in this verse very seriously:
Proverbs 25:25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country
I believe he understood that when missionaries communicate with churches, God increases connectedness and bestows blessings on both the one who is reporting in from the far country and those back home who receive the report.
In other words, when missionaries communicate with those back home, they’re not just passing on information, they’re actually providing a cup of cold water to brothers and sisters in Christ that may be experiencing a thirsty soul.
As most of us can relate to, the routines and challenges of day to day life in America can sometimes feel like trudging through a dry wilderness that produces a type of soul-thirst. There are times when the local, familiar sources that normally quench our thirst, like church gatherings, small groups, fellow believers that we see on a regular basis, just don’t seem to fully quench our spiritual thirst.
When this kind of soul-thirst is present, God will many times use a newsletter or an update from a missionary we know and care about to put things in to perspective for us and refresh our souls.
By helping missionaries understand that their communication can have this kind of impact on their brethren back home, it may also provide an explanation to them for what may be behind the distractions or discouragement that many times keep them from sitting down and writing.
Put as simply as possible, the enemy knows the potential of missionary communication being used by God to reinvigorate His saints, and he will try to keep that from happening using as many tools as necessary.
In other words, the difficulties missionaries experience in getting motivated to communicate may actually be the result of spiritual warfare.
Why not help missionaries know that their communication will increase their connection and may also provide a cup of cold water to their weary brethren back home?