25 June, 2015

No second class missionaries

We are, in three days, returning to Japan and ministries that are classed as "support ministries". We aren't "front-line" missionaries. It is a division that doesn't actually officially exist in our mission. But is often referred to informally by churches or individuals. 
My husband, doing his job as a teacher of kids,
40% of who are missionary kids.

Put simply:

  • "Front-line" missionaries are those doing church planting or evangelism.
  • "Support" missionaries are those supporting other missionaries. Like accountants, IT experts, medical advisers, teachers of missionary children, admin staff, publishers, guest home mangers, pastoral care etc.
  • Others doing work like medical, relief, community development fit somewhere in-between the two above.

The other day I read a superb blog post about support ministries and how they are not second-class: http://gilandamy.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/in-defense-of-second-class-missionaries.html

Even if you don't think that support ministries are second class, I recommend reading this article. It gives a very good argument as to why supporting those who aren't "front-line" is actually strategic. And shows up how many churches have a different standard for missions than they do for their own staff. (Though as an Aussie I do have to tell you that this is American-centric article, in that most of the church examples aren't replicated in Australia, most of our churches simply aren't big enough or wealthy enough).


Georgia said...

Thanks Wendy, I'm typing through tears remembering our new (to me) pastor at our chruch missions conference. He told me he preferred talking to people who were doing exciting things for the Lord on the mission field. Sadly I finally decided to leave my sending church for another with a more balanced view of mission. Wish I were going back with you physically. Happy that I will be able to continue being connected to life in Japan through you.

Wendy said...

Thanks for your comment Georgia (I did read it back in June, but didn't comment, sorry). I understand, though we've never had anyone say it that directly to us. We have had our former home church ask for a "conversion story" when they clearly knew that we were in support ministries. I do know the pain of a home church that doesn't really get it in one way or another. It was such a relief to enjoy our new home church this home assignment. Many were a bit ignorant of mission, but the leadership was very much tracking with us.