Bridge Builders: Fun and meaningful ways to support missionaries besides giving money

Discover ideas to provide spiritual, relational, emotional, physical, and financial support — without writing a single check.

This article was originally published here and is reposted with permission from Crossworld.

When you think about supporting a missionary, you probably think about money. Missionaries do need financial support, but they also need support in a host of other ways. Their whole person needs care — not just their bank account. And you can fill that gap. Here are ways to support missionaries that don’t involve giving money.

Spiritual support

Pray for them and their work

The best and most important way to support a missionary’s ministry is through prayer. Pray for the fruitfulness of their ministry, for protection from the enemy, and for their personal well-being.

Share biblical encouragement

Most missionaries have a strong and vibrant faith, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to loneliness or burnout. Just like you, they need spiritual community, which they may not have on the field. Share with them what you’re reading in your own quiet time, Scripture verses that are encouraging to you, or things God is doing in your life.

Relational support

Advocate for their ministry

Raise awareness about the missionary and their work at your church and in your circle of influence. You could also start a care team at your church to share the load of keeping in touch and coordinating physical support.

Help them transition “home”

When a missionary returns permanently after serving for years on the field, what once felt like home doesn’t feel like home anymore. Be patient with their struggles. Ask questions to help them process. Take time to be a friend to them in this stressful season of their life.

Emotional support

Ask good questions

Missionaries carry the emotional weight of listening to and counseling people in their local context, but they don’t always have someone to do the same for them. Reach out regularly to ask how they’re doing. Ask good questions to show you’re genuinely interested. Create a safe and trustworthy space where they can share their heart without judgment.

Speak intentional words

Most missionaries have high emotional intelligence and desire deep, intentional conversation. Here are some encouraging words for missionaries.

  • Thank the missionary for their service.
  • Tell them something you’ve learned from them or appreciate about them.
  • Share a blessing from Scripture, such as Numbers 6:24-26.
  • Be specific about what you’re praying for them.
  • Remind them of God’s faithful character and his numerous promises.

Physical support

Volunteer your skills and expertise
Being a missionary is kind of like being an entrepreneur — they wear a lot of hats! Your help with anything from coordinating travel plans to researching a new tech purchase could be a huge blessing to an overwhelmed missionary. Tell them what you’re good at and volunteer to help them with those tasks.

Host them in North America

When they’re visiting on furlough, offer to host them or help them find housing for their time in North America. Bonus: Locate a car for them to borrow and they’ll be set up for success!

Visit them overseas

If possible, visit your missionary on the field so you can encourage them in person. Be more than a tourist — serve alongside them and offer hands-on support in their day-to-day ministry.

Financial support

Mobilize your network

Missionaries who serve overseas for years or decades often find it difficult to make new connections in North America. You can help by introducing them to people who may be interested in their work.

Make non-cash gifts

Did you know there are ways you can contribute financially without giving cash? You can donate livestock, gifts in kind, stock and mutual funds, retirement assets, or a portion of your estate.

However you choose to offer support, know that every effort you make will leave a lasting impact on their life and ministry!

Don’t miss our free guide with practical ideas for supporting global workers before, during, and after their service! Download it here.

This article is submitted by Crossworld. Crossworld is a Missio Nexus member.  Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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