When churches commission and support people to go overseas, they need to be regularly profiled to the congregation so that others can be encouraged to pray for and give to these people. This is often done through the use of a mission noticeboard, through regular events, written material and public announcements.
Like communicating with people overseas, it is important to keep in mind the need for some ‘vagueness’ around statements (written and spoken) on locations and roles. Checking with the associated agency will give a clearer outline of the requirements but be aware that even at home there is a need for security.
It is common for churches to sometimes feel frustrated that mission workers’ newsletters seem light and superficial. While we at home need to be careful about what we say to those overseas, they too also need to be creative with how they communicate back.
Before people leave find out the appropriate ways to profile them. Take careful note of what
can and can’t be stated e.g. can surnames be used with the photo? How should the location
they are going to be named e.g. Central Asia or can the country itself be noted? How should the roles be identified? If they have children, how much information do parents want noted about them?
The word ‘missionary’ can be very problematic due to definition. A general rule of thumb is to not use this in any written material unless expressly stated that this is okay.
Ask for a good photo that can be used.
Ask the people themselves what their prayer needs are.
If easily done, having the people email through a short video clip once a year or so is a great way to show the faces of those that the church is supporting.
Skype the workers during a service if it can be arranged!
Ensure that they have opportunity to share in a service, small groups etc. when they are back in country.
Be intentional about including short term work workers and teams in profiling and report back opportunities -they too are part of the church•