(The following is a modified version of a letter Shepherd’s Staff distributes to the missionaries they serve each year.)
Although you probably don’t need the reminder–Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and a new year is now just two months away!
And whether you’ve thought about it in this way or not, this is also the perfect time of year to communicate in a fresh way with the leaders and members of your home church, your current supporters, and those people that God may yet call to invest in you and the ministry He has called you to.
FIRST, THANK YOUR HOME CHURCH….the Friday before Thanksgiving
Even if you regularly communicate in written or verbal form with one or more of the key leaders of your home church, a short but well-written letter of thanks sent to them the week before Thanksgiving can be a source of great encouragement to them, to the church, and even to you!
Here are a few things you could include in the note or letter of thanks:
1–List the blessings you experienced as a member of your home church prior to being called to the mission field–like some of the things about the church that contributed to making you the person and the missionary that you are.
2–If you are supported from the church missions budget, be sure to thank them for their ongoing financial investment–regardless of the amount.
3–Even if you’re not supported from the church’s missions budget, be sure to thank them for the privilege of having your name and ministry promoted within the church in whatever manner they do so.
4–Thank them for the global vision they impart to the congregation, which is evidenced by the fact that a significant portion of your financial support comes from individuals that are members of the church.
The key is to limit this correspondence to only sharing thankfulness–resist the temptation to inform or share your needs.
SECOND, THANK YOUR CURRENT SUPPORTERS TOO… on that same day
You should also send a special “thank you” to every person who supported you financially this year, including those who only gave one time.
Like the “thank you” note you send to your home church, limit what you write to thanking them for making it possible for you to live in the midst of the beautiful people that He has called you to love and serve for His glory and their good. Don’t express anything but thanks to them.
THIRD, SEND AN UPDATE TO YOUR WHOLE LIST…..by the 5th of December
Put together an end of the year update that includes the following:
1–A brief story of something God did or is doing in the life of one of the nationals that you have developed a relationship with.
2–A short description of an aspect of God’s character that you’ve grown to understand more fully and appreciate more deeply this past year.
3–Two or three ministry-related goals you would love to see the Lord permit you to accomplish in 2017.
4–If you’re married and have children, be sure to inform everyone of the current ages of your children and what grade they are in.
5–If you believe that an increase in the amount of monthly support you receive is essential for you to continue living and serving where you do, be sure to include that in the update. For example, if you need an additional 100 dollars per month, then share that need in your update.
And as difficult as it may be for you to relate to, the reality is that many of the people who receive your updates are already thinking about reducing their tax liability for this current tax year by way of their end of the year charitable giving. Your invitation for them to partner with you financially may be God’s answer to the prayers they’ve already been lifting up to Him.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on unsplash.com