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Serving as Senders

Introduction and Comments:

 

In this book, the speaker ‘Neal Pirolo’ had been drawing a parallel between secular war and the spiritual warfare that accompanies cross-cultural ministry. He said in his book, I have encouraged, exhorted—even implored—anyone going into cross-cultural outreach ministry to not leave home without a strong, committed support team—a group that accepts the ministry of serving as senders.  A mission does not just focus on those who go. Those who serve as senders are equally significant. In Romans chapter 10, he established the vitality of cross-cultural outreach on these two levels of involvement: Those who go and those who serve as senders. Paul first quoted Joel: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then, in clear linear logic so well understand by the Roman mind, he appealed” “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”

Today’s estimate is that 2.5 billion people have not had a culturally relevant presentation of the Gospel. “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Yes, there must be a “preacher”—the missionary, the cross-cultural worker, the one who goes. By whatever name and by whatever means he gets there, there must be a proclaimer of the Good News. Paul acknowledged that there are others besides those who go must be involved in this worldwide evangelization endeavor: those who are serving as senders. Those who go and those who serve as senders are like two units on the same cross-cultural outreach team. Both are equally important. Both are vitally involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Both are dynamically integrated and moving toward the same goal. And both are assured success, for those in God’s work are on the winning team. Maybe some people in your fellowship want to be involved in world evangelization but don’t feel called to go right now. The good news is there’s more they can do than say, “Goodbye!” There is a tremendous need for senders. A cross-cultural worker needs the support of a team of people while he is preparing to go, while he is on the field and when he returns home.

Today no cross-cultural worker should leave home without a strong, integrated, educated, knowledgeable, excited-as-he-is, active team of people who have committed themselves to the work of serving as senders. You may be a part of that team. Your heart is stirred by people of other cultures, yet you have not heard His call to go or maybe yet you know God has directed you to stay at home. You may be called to the ministry of serving as a sender. Prayerfully consider serving as a sender in yourself, which one or more of six areas of support, that you can commit it:

1)     Moral Support (Recognition) – Just “being there” (Joshua 1:9).

2)     Logistics Support (Administration) – all the bits and pieces (2-Tim. 4:13).

3)     Financial Support – Money, money, money (Phil. 4:10-12).

4)     Prayer Support – Spiritual warfare at its best (Eph. 6:18a).

5)     Communication Support – Letters, tapes, and more (Phil. 3:19).

6)     Re-entry Support – More than applauding the safe landing of his jumbo jet (Acts 14:28).

Each area has its unique responsibilities; each is best served by specific gifts within the Body of Christ. Allow His Spirit to speak to your heart about your possible involvement in one of these phases of support. I think God’s call on your life to serve as a sender must be just as vibrant as the call on the life of the one you send. Likewise, the commitment you must be as sure as that of your cross-cultural worker. The responsible action you take is as important as the ministry your field worker performs. And the reward of souls for His Kingdom will be equal to your missionary’s and your own faithfulnesses.

 

Moral Support (Recognition) – (Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and very courageous; don’t be afraid or dismayed: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”)   Just “being there”  for them, continual words of encouragement (“God bless you, we are excited with you in your missionary calling”), willing to release them rather than lamenting about them leaving and how it will hurt the church; not suggesting that missions is wasting their hard earned college education, not emphasizing sacrifice but rather commending obedience. Some churches send a church member/couple to each presentation by their missionary to commend and introduce them to the audience before the missionary speaks.

 Sometimes we have the good example, like; an English cobbler named ‘William Carey’ struggled in the 1790s with the Church’s responsibilities to the Great Commission. Later he was to become known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” But in his early days at the vision stirred deep in his heart, there was no support. Even his fellow churchmen openly rebuked him by saying “When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or ours.” You know even his wife initially refused to join him on his voyage to India. Only a delay in the departure date gave her the opportunity to reconsider to join her husband on his mission to India. There may be other moral support that His Spirit will bring to our mind. But for this moment we can consider just three of them that vital to this foundation: called, counseled and commissioned. The church in Antioch provides a model from which we can get the idea. They put five men forward; they fasted and prayed. They heard the Holy Spirit say, “We want Barnabas and Saul.” They fasted and prayed some more; they laid their hands on them. They sent them away. Who is “they”? The church, the local Body of believers–those who were sharing their own concern for this ministry that was burning deep in the hearts of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13).

 

Logistics Support (Administration) – (2-Tim. 4:13 “And when you come, please bring the cloak I left with Carpus at Troas and the books, but especially the parchments.” Here, Mr. Pirolo calls this aspect “bits and pieces.” It includes: maintaining accountability in ministry, confirming and encouraging spiritual growth, assisting in business affairs as needed (i.e. oversight of house when they are away or even manage the rental of their house when they are on the field), help with child care if needed, car repair and maintenance, complimentary dental or medical care, storage of personal belongings they choose not to sell or take with them, communication with elderly parents when they leave for the field, help with packing, attending to other personal details.

The local congregation, the Body of Christ in microcosm, in order to function as a Body, must have all the necessary parts. The Body needs a mouth, so He appointed some prophets and pastor/teachers. The Body needs to function “decently and in order,” so He gave some the gift of administration. Outreach is one of the main functions of the Church, and because He said, “The field is the world” (Matt. 13:38), God has placed in every Body parts that are to minister cross-culturally. Church leadership must encourage spiritual growth 1) before missionaries go, 2) while they’re on the filed and 3) when they return home.  Logistics support members must have certain qualifications: Diligence, Concern for details, Punctuality, and Sound business practices.

 

Financial Support – Money, money, money (Phil. 4:10-12 “It has been a great joy to me that after all this time you have shown such interest in my welfare. I don’t mean that you had forgotten me, but up till now you have had no opportunity of expressing your concern. Nor do I mean that I have been in actual need, for I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous.”) Assistance with start-up expenses (stationery, prayer cards, introductory brochure, display, media equipment and presentation, cost of mailings), provide a church phone for calling pastors to schedule meetings or reimburse them for ministry calls made from their home, help the church develop a policy that contributes a significantly larger percent of support to home church missionaries than those from outside the church. Financial support is the most controversial, thus the most talked-about of the six areas of support. In fact, when you mention missionary support, most people think of nothing else but money. We know the Word: God loves a cheerful giver. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Give and it shall be given unto you. The discipline of tithing leads a Christian to a deeper commitment of ‘generous, cheerful, hilarious” giving (2-Corinthians 9:7). Giving is an act of intelligent worship. “Lets every man who will do it willingly from his heart bring Me an offering” (Exodus 25:2).

             If you are in position to formulate policy or financially support missionaries, be a wise and faithful steward. In all of the areas we have considered, the influence of one person is small. But it is one by one that we will stand before Him and give an accounting of our actions: “Wood, hay, stubble” or “gold, silver and precious stones!” (1-Corinthians 3:12-13). We are to become “faithful…..in the unrighteous riches” so that the Lord will “commit to our trust the true riches” (Luke 16:1-12).

 

Prayer Support -- Spiritual warfare at its best (Eph. 6:18a “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”)  A mission is spiritual warfare. How can you pray for those who are on pre-field? For a close walk with the Lord, joyful marriage and family relationships, effective management of time (many are employed while also seeking to fulfill all the responsibilities of contacting pastors and being involved in weekend ministry), for divine appointments in scheduling meetings, effective presentations, children’s positive response to their parents’ missions commitment, dealing with discouragement when support comes slowly, for spiritual fruit, safety in traveling, good health, witnessing opportunities, adequate rest, freedom from anxiety. Also, for singles, include prayer for freedom from undue loneliness, courage in contacting pastors, acceptance of their singleness, and protection from evil, trouble-free car operation.

             Furthermore, All Christians are involved in spiritual warfare. Prayer is the arena of spiritual warfare. Prayer is where the action is—supporting and sustaining those on the fields of the world. One of the prayers of Paul fits perfectly the needs of the cross-cultural worker. He was praying it for the Christians in Colosse, but note how adaptable it is to the needs of any missionary. Even before he prays, Paul twice assures those at Colosse that he is constantly praying for them. “Colossians 1:4,9: praying always for you….; for this cause we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease to pray for you.” Our prayers should be that the Gospel—the mystery of Christ—no longer remains a mystery to them, but enters through the door of their hearts. So pray for opening doors as your field workers research to discover redemptive analogies for the people among whom they labor.

 

Communication Support – Letters, tapes, and more (Phil. 3:19”Lord willing, I plan to send Timothy to you soon so that I may be comforted when I know how you are doing.”) While this accelerates in value when a missionary leaves for the field, it is vital during pre-field as well as the missionary is often away from their home base. Provide opportunities to update the church when they are at home, include their weekly ministry schedule in the church bulletin, send them a bulletin and other church information when they are away, encourage people to send “love notes” of support, make quick phone calls to see if they have a need or to pray with them, schedule regular appointments with them for updates and prayer, demonstrate genuine interest in them, their needs, schedule, burdens and ministry.

             When communicating with missionaries serving in restricted-access countries where their ministry may be considered illegal, be sure to check with your church or mission agency for guidelines when writing about Christian matters and ministries.

 

Re-Entry Support – More than applauding the safe landing of his jumbo jet (Acts 14:28”And they abode a long time with the disciples there.”) The stress of coming home is another issue. There is a mental stretching as new ideas and ideals are incorporated into the old—which isn’t old anymore since it also is new and strangely different. There is a spiritual duress caused by the continual memory of the needs of a world lost in sin and what we are or aren’t doing about those needs.

There is another factor to consider in re-entry support: denial. Some workers may prepare to return home denying that they will face any stress upon re-entry. Some steel themselves with the attitude that “it won’t—it can’t happen to me.” Denial can be suicide—emotional, spiritual, and mental. And even literal, physical suicide has been the result of some missionaries’ shock and stress in re-entry. Awareness of the factors of re-entry can prepare you to become a strongly supportive friend in the “coming back home” process. You must take the initiative. You must be the “intensive care unit” for your missionary’s re-entry.

 

Application:

             In this book, Neal Pirolo, ask the question: Why is it so crucial that you and your fellowship gear up to serve as senders? And he said, because most world-watchers believe God is beginning a surge of global activity in our times in which tens of thousands of new missionaries will be going to every people, tribe, tongue and nation. And every goer wills a sold team of senders.

             I believe God is doing amazing things in our world. He is raising a movement of excited disciples from around the world ready to go anywhere and do anything. We need action. We need commitment. It is time to commit ourselves to fulfill the goal of great commission among His people. We also have to commit ourselves to educate and mobilize the entire membership of local congregations to send or go. Mission statesman Luis Bush, who is calling Christendom’s about 10/40 Window, he said “this region is a stronghold of Satan.” It appears that Satan has established a territorial stronghold with his forces to restrain the advance of the Gospel in this area.

             In my understanding, when we want to do mission, our personal involvement is very important. Likewise serving as a sender we have to think and pray which part is good for me to involve with full commitment and which one is suitable for me to do it:  Moral Support, Logistics Support, Financial Support, Prayer Support, Communication Support, and Re-entry Support. I think each area has its unique responsibilities and God’s call us to serve as a sender or go. Before I read this book I didn’t know these secrets. I just think like most people think to support missionary is nothing else but money. Now I realize that we can support missionaries in many ways.

 

Bibliography:

Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo, 1991—Published by Emmaus Road, International, California, United States of America.

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