A Caring Church
When workers are sent to the Muslim world, they count on their church for financial, logistical and even emotional support. Whether it is culture shock, health setbacks, team building needs or travel, the church should be prepared to support and walk with them.
Overseas workers will be more fruitful and last longer on the field if their sending church provides mentoring, field visits, counseling, prayer, spiritual formation coaching, and hospitality. Churches need to identify and address the unique needs of singles, couples, families, women, and children living in Muslim countries.
How do you create a culture of care in your church?
- Training and networking opportunities for senders are offered through events like our Member Care Symposium, a U.S.-based training event that equips pastors and counselors to make more effective field visits on behalf of their teams in the Muslim world. This event welcomes church leaders and lay people from Canada who want to learn more about caring for those they send internationally.
- Discuss with the Frontiers Member Care Team how you can work together to provide the best possible support for your international members.
- Help those you send to take full advantage of the training and retreat resources offered by your church, your denomination, Frontiers, and other Christian organizations.
Member Care Team
“For this is the Gospel message that you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
Drawing from years of experience in the Muslim world, Frontiers’ Member Care Team of pastoral coaches and professional counselors assists field workers as they fulfill their calling. It encourages members and their families in their faith, restores those wounded in their role as laborers and assists in unplanned transitions of service. Here are just a few of the ways we provide care in conjunction with the sending church.
- Counseling and Coaching – Regional conferences and field visits; training in interpersonal skills, peacemaking and team building; general counseling; crisis and critical incident debriefing, and re-assimilation support.
- Field Personnel Services – Liaison to sending supporters; sabbatical coaching as well as hospitality and logistical services.
- Third-Culture Kids Care – Specialized programs, regional conferences, and field visits to address the unique needs of children of field workers living abroad.
- Women’s Ministries – Serving the special needs of female members in Muslim countries.
- Special Retreats – Providing field members opportunities for refreshment and renewal.
Looking for practical ways to encourage a Frontiers worker today? Try these.
- Initiate personal contact – Many Frontiers members have Skype accounts because, when both users have Skype, communicating internationally (even using web cameras) is free. Find out their Skype address, set up your own account, and then schedule a call or see when they’re logged in.
- Send a personal email – Let them know you are thinking about them. Share with them a Scripture passage that has blessed you or a verse you have prayed on their behalf. i.e. Colossians 1:9-12
- Pray – Then let them know you prayed for them. Respond directly to any emails/newsletters they send. Be specific in what your prayers included, and respond to something in their letters that resonated with you and motivated your prayers.
- Create something – Take your video camera to church and record people sending their greetings overseas, give them a glimpse of the pastor’s new haircut or something new in the city they haven’t seen.
- Organize a prayer meeting on their behalf – invite their participation via phone, Skype, or just by sending some current prayer needs for the group. Record what was prayed and send them an email sharing anything that your group sensed the Lord leading you to pray.
- Get your kids involved – Encourage them to pray by decorating their rooms with photos of Muslim kids in the region where your Frontiers team is working. Connect them directly with children of Frontiers members. Have them draw pictures, take photos/videos, and send small gifts to bless kids overseas.
- Bless their extended family – Parents and other family members of Frontiers workers feel their absence, especially around holidays. Write them a card of encouragement or invite them to celebrate with you. Help them see how much you appreciate their own sacrifice. If they want to make a visit overseas, take care of their house/pets while they are gone. Pray for them.
- If your Frontiers member uses iTunes, send them a gift card online, and they’ll be blessed with some music. Or share a specific song that has encouraged you.
- Donate frequent flyer miles to someone you know is involved – especially if the airline or one of its international partners operates in the country where they work. (Note: Frequent flyer miles cannot be given to Frontiers at this time – just to specified members directly.)
- Begin supporting them financially – even if you can give only $25/month. Your ongoing commitment will remind them that you care and remind you to pray.
- Fast and pray for one day/meal each month for the work they have been called by God to do. Let them know when that day will be.
- If the workers are willing, visit them on the field and use the time to bring them gifts, pray for them and their work, and experience the people and culture receiving the good news of Jesus through your support.
Thanks for choosing to serve and bless overseas workers through creative means. If you have other ideas, email them to us please. We would love to hear from you.
“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Frontiers is blessed with the task of taking the love of Jesus to people in the Muslim world who have little or no human witness of the Savior living among them – the unengaged and unreached. Unfortunately, there are some that see this work as a threat. As a result, there are numerous efforts to scour all forms of communication and media to identify the Lord’s laborers and block His work.
Among the materials that are searched in attempts to block the Gospel message from going forth are many of today’s social media outlets. Methods such as Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many more, are subject to intense scrutiny. Church websites may also be closely watched.
Information gathering on current and future laborers for Frontiers represents a threat to the safety of those workers, their teammates, and the nationals they befriend. Privacy policies are of little value in most cases, as the sponsors of these media have acquiesced to pressure in the past and may expand on those concessions in the future.
Remember that anything that is published on the web or electronically transmitted has a permanent record. An innocent attempt to raise support for a member, using the laborer’s name and city or country on a Facebook page could some day be used to stop that worker’s ministry overseas. Even email lauding the coming to faith by people in specified countries may be enough to bring unnecessary persecution to believers in those countries.
So, whether you are a member, praying about or preparing to become an international member, financial partner or sending church, always communicate with the understanding that attempts to spread Light will meet with resistance. Frontiers advocates not fear, but wisdom.