In light of the dilemma that exists, how should a pastor respond when missionaries call? Consider incorporating the following practices the next time you receive a phone request from a missionary.
1. Encourage the missionary. Commend him or her for answering the call of God. He or she is taking a huge step of faith. Encouragement is in order.
2. Ask good questions, not for the purpose of critiquing, but for gaining information. Missionaries should be able to answer your questions or be willing to find out the answers.
3. Even though the church may not have money available to provide the missionary with financial support, invite the missionary to come for other reasons—to gain prayer support, to be used of God to speak to others, and to allow God to work in unforeseen ways. I know from personal experience that churches have supported new missionaries when it seemed financially impossible.
4. Before ending the phone conversation, pray with the missionary, asking God’s blessing on his or her ministry and His help in raising the individual’s prayer and financial support. This step alone will tremendously encourage the missionary’s heart, as well as your own.
When the phone conversation is over, will the missionary be encouraged or discouraged? That is up to you.
David C. Little, President
Baptist Church Planters