07 April, 2017

Support staff in missions aren't wasted resources

Twice within a couple of days this last week I've seen articles come to the defence of support workers. I can't let this go, as support work in mission is what my husband and I are called to and are passionate about.

Both articles talked about the concept that support workers are not considered real missionaries by some (or many?) churches and that churches and individuals often don't like to be a part of sending those doing support work.

says this:
When Christians stand up and say, "I’m called to missionary care! I’m called to teach MK’s! I’m called to missions administration!" the churches say, "Well, sorry, you don’t fit in our strategy. We’d rather get behind the exciting church planters and the pastoral trainers and the child-trafficking rescuers. Except, we expect them to do it without all the other people they need to be successful."
The following paragraph in that article gives examples of how missionaries on the "front-line" who don't have support workers get bogged down in things like obtaining visas, getting local taxes done, educating their children at home, burnt out because they have no member care assistance available etc.

Support people are vital to the outworking of God’s mission. Let’s continue to work together, each doing whatever He has given us to do, wherever He has called us to do it, so that as we work together He would be glorified!
There are many analogies of how support work is vital in many areas of life: for example, in a company a CEO needs his office managers, an athlete needs his coach, an army need their communication specialists and mechanics. Why are missionaries who are in support ministries are considered a "lower class" and less worthy of support?

The current situation in our mission in Japan, with our field director in the process of being called to heaven and his wife (our Personnel Director) obviously not being able to do her job either, is a case in point. Yes, individual missionaries can continue to do their work in their local area, but the leadership, vision, and services that these leaders provide us bind us together and help us to be a greater service in this country than we could each on our own.

The Bible talks about working together and different gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12). But one that particularly comes to mind is from Ecclesiastes:
Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Support staff are not wasted resources, money given to them is not wasted either (if missions are wise in their planning). Let's help our evangelists and church planters be even more effective by providing all the support staff that they need.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is a fantastic post, Wendy, and so true. We are all members of the body with different roles, yet all are indispensable.