The mission of the Member Care Team of the International Mission Board, alongside the IMB Medical Team, is to keep missionaries healthy and on the field. The principal way IMB Member Care Consultants care for missionaries is by providing pastoral care, counseling, and counseling referrals for missionaries as needed. In addition, as I have often said, member care is bigger than Member Care, meaning that many IMB personnel outside of the Member Care Team also care for our missionaries in significant ways. For example, team members, team leaders, other IMB leadership, IMB Medical Consultants, TCK Education Consultants, and other IMB support personnel on the mission field and on our stateside staff care deeply and effectively for our missionaries. You, too, can have a significant part in caring for missionaries. One of the most significant ways you can care for missionaries is to pray for them.
Missionaries need prayer for wisdom, insight, and discernment regarding their personal care, care for their families, and care for their work. For example, personal care includes attending to their own physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Care for their families includes marriage, parenting, and extended family, which can include the need to care for aging parents, concern for their adult children living far from them, and concern for siblings and other family members. Care for mission work includes language learning, cultural adaptation and assimilation, and developing meaningful relationships with the people they serve and seek to reach with the gospel. Our single missionaries are an essential and effective part of the mission family who experiences all the challenges missionaries face, sometimes facing these challenges without another person alongside them. When living in a culture that is not your own, loneliness can be an experience of any missionary, married or single. Missionaries need prayer for assurance that God is with them, helping them in their lives and work. They need to know we remember them and accompany them through our prayers.
One glance at news media reveals the instability of the world. One manifestation of global instability is the dislocation of people due to political uncertainty, warfare, and other crises. When missionaries suffer the disruption of dislocation, it has a significant impact on them and their families. The impact of dislocation is often loss accompanied by deep grief. Missionaries and their families who suffer the disruption of dislocation need prayer as they carry a burden for people they left behind and as they adjust to a new location. Some missionaries serve refugees, and sometimes missionaries become refugees due to instability in the world and the resulting dislocation.
A fundamental way to significantly increase the impact of your prayers for missionaries is to know them. If you and your church are not currently in a relationship and in direct communication with missionaries, please contact our Church Success Team and ask about getting connected with a missionary to begin getting to know them and their needs so that you can intercede specifically for this missionary.
Our missionaries are amazing people characterized by deep faith, spiritual gifts, divine calling, and a strong commitment to serving God and others through their spiritual gifts. They make sacrifices most people are unwilling to make to advance God’s kingdom here on earth. They are also human beings with real needs who face significant challenges and need love, care, encouragement, support, understanding, compassion, and prayer.
On his website, Dr. Chuck Lawless posted an article written by a missionary talking about how to pray for missionaries. I highly recommend this excellent resource as a guide to praying for missionaries.
I also ask that you pray for our member care personnel around the world. Member Care Consultants are missionaries strategically located worldwide with the specific assignment of using their gifts for ministry, along with their counseling training and experience, to serve fellow missionaries through pastoral care, biblical counseling, clinical counseling, and counseling referrals. Member Care Consultants also participate in the missionary task of bringing the gospel to the nations. As I’ve already mentioned, our member care missionaries are amazing people who serve faithfully and experience many challenges. Your prayers will bless them personally, their work, and those whom they serve.
Our Revelation 7:9 Vision – a multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language worshipping before the throne – demands fervent prayer. Your IMB missionaries are taking the gospel to unreached peoples and places every day. Let’s support them with prayer. Learn more and sign up for daily prayer requests.
Chris Martin is the Director of Member Care for the International Mission Board. In partnership with 52 Member Care personnel strategically based around the world, Chris helps to provide counseling and pastoral care for Southern Baptist missionaries wherever they are. Chris has been married to Missy for 42 years, and they are blessed with four children, three children-in-law, and five grandchildren. Prior to pursuing graduate studies in Marriage and Family Counseling (2004), Chris and Missy served as career IMB missionaries in Thailand (1991-1998).
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