Getting the Most From A Missionary Visit
By Paul Brannan
Getting the most from the missionary visit begins with attitude. Remember, your church needs missionaries as much as they need you. A missionary can’t go without financial and prayer support provided by the local church, but a congregation cannot fulfill the Great Commission without missionaries who are willing to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
– When a candidate missionary is approved in your district, call immediately to schedule a service. This will be helpful as he or she sets up an itinerary.
– Return the missionary’s phone calls. This will save time, money and stress for the missionary.
– Schedule the missionary for any regular service or even a home group.
– If you can’t schedule the missionary for a service, say so. The missionary would prefer a “no” to being put off.
– Tell missionaries what participation they will have. How many times will they speak? Do you want them also to speak in a Sunday School class or to a youth or children’s group?
– Communicate the type of dress appropriate for the service.
– Tell the missionary the service times and the time when you can meet prior to the service for planning.
– Provide the missionary with information concerning hotel accommodations while he or she is with you.
– Be sure to give clear directions to the church and the service times.
– Give the missionary a telephone number other than the church office. The missionary may need to call at a time when the office is not open.
The Missionary Visit
– Make time available to meet with the missionary prior to the service to get better acquainted, ask questions about specific needs and discuss the parameters for the service.
– Will the missionary be preaching or have a brief window in a service?
– Is the missionary a skilled public speaker or would it be better to conduct an interview? –
What is the time frame for his or her participation?
– Do you want a sermon, experiences from the field or both?
– Tell the missionary what he or she can do to assist you in building a strong missions vision within your congregation.
– Give the congregation the opportunity to respond with a generous offering after the missionary has shared his or her vision and ministry.
– Missionaries should receive an offering rather than a predetermined honorarium. You are not paying them for services rendered; rather, people are giving toward the needs of a dying world.
– Set a minimum cash offering. This means they could receive more if the offering is larger, but they would never receive less than the minimum. Consider that in 2005, the average missionary offering was
a. $446 per service for candidates
b. $565 per service for veterans
After The Service
– Make time to host the missionary for a meal or dessert. This will give more time to get acquainted.
– Make provision to give the missionary a check for the offering while he or she is there. These funds may be needed for travel to the next destination.
– Give missionaries a signed monthly commitment form before they leave. This will hasten their departure to the field and will relieve a great deal of stress. The average monthly commitment is $53 for candidate missionaries and $56 for veteran missionaries.
– If it isn’t possible to give them a signed commitment while they are there, tell them what you hope to do and when you plan to do it.
This article “Getting the Most From A Missionary Visit” by Paul Brannan is excerpted from his book Building Missions Leadership in the Local Church.