My reading and understanding of the New Testament has convinced me that every local church that Jesus has built already contains a sufficient number of people, the necessary gift-mix, and the perfect amount of financial resources required to be exactly what God has called them to be at any specific moment in time.
In other words, God has stocked every local church with an inventory that is adequate to be and do what He wants them to be and do right now.
Nothing is lacking.
MISSIONARY-CARE CAPACITY IS ALREADY WITHIN EACH LOCAL CHURCH
Which means that when God calls a member of a local church to say goodbye to everything familiar and comfortable and move to another country to participate in expanding His Kingdom, He has already supplied their home church with the right amount of people that have the right life experience and giftedness necessary to care for them.
I believe this not only because the New Testament teaches it, but also because I pastored a local church for a number of years that sent and cared for our members that God called to the mission field.
And because I’ve also spent more than 15 years helping local churches to discover which of their members have the life experience, giftedness, and spiritual maturity to listen and speak in to the lives of their missionaries.
U.S. MILITARY CONNECTED MEMBERS–AN UNTAPPED FOUNTAIN FOR MISSIONARY CARE
As a result of these and other experiences within the realm of church-based missionary care, including the training of church members to be expressions of that care, I’ve also learned that current or former U.S. military members and their spouses generally make very effective missionary care providers.
Although He hasn’t chosen to bless every local church with these uniquely experienced people, for those that He has, when church leaders take the time to discover who they are and challenge them to serve in this important ministry, it can be like uncapping a fountain of God’s love that can refresh those He has called to far away places.
SIMILAR EXPERIENCES PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR REAL CONNECTION
People that have served or lived within the sphere of life in the military, when challenged and trained to do so, are incredibly effective missionary care providers. Here are just a few of the reasons why this true:
1–They know what it’s like to say good-bye to everything familiar and comfortable for a cause larger than their own interests. This includes a willingness to accept separation from family members, sometimes even their own wives or husbands and their children.
2–They know what’s like to do something that is out of the ordinary and that is acknowledged as noble or honorable by those that haven’t and probably never will choose to do what they have done.
3–They know the importance and value of those from back home communicating on a regular basis.
4–They know the value and importance of being able to tell your story to someone who seems genuinely interested and has good listening and question-asking skills.
5–They know what it’s like to try to explain what your current life is like to those who have no frame of reference through which they can understand what you’ve experienced.
6–They know what’s like to try to communicate the values and cultural habits of people that are radically different from you and your own people, but that you yourself have adopted too in order to minister to people within that different culture.
Taking church-based missionary care seriously will move a local church’s leaders to mine for the resources God has already placed within their fellowship to fulfill that goal–and members that have lived and navigated within the context of the military might be the gold nuggets God has provided.
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