Caring for missionaries is a biblical imperative and necessary for missionary effectiveness, even if some missionaries don’t want it. If so, action is imperative. Care for missionaries needs to be more than a good idea. What to do?
Adopt! Adoption is an apt metaphor. Although it is one that should be qualified, especially since “adopt-a-pet” is the number one Google Suggest result for “adopt”. That’s not too helpful! Ron Blue in a 1982 article (nearly 30 years ago!) helpfully wrote:
Simply put, missions means sending and sending means more than giving. Yes, there is relief to the financial indigestion that is bringing heartburn and internal distress to missions. How do you spell relief? ADOPT. It is time to go beyond “supporting” missionaries. Missionaries need to be “adopted.” What is needed is the concern and care afforded a family member.
— Ron Blue, “The Five-way Plan: A Cure for Money-centered Support,” EMQ #216 [emphasis added].
How can we do that?
Care about mission. Caring for missionaries presumes that we care about mission. When we are wholly committed to God’s purposes in the world, care for missionaries (who are presumably engaged in furthering God’s purposes) will follow. Committing to God’s purposes must be driven by prayer and drive us to prayer. We realize that we too often don’t want what God wants and even when we do we can’t do it! So we must pray! Committing to God’s purposes also entails risk and sacrifice. When we use our resources for God’s purposes we can’t use them for our own. That is a frightening thought.
(continued in part 2)