It’s no secret that a lot has changed in the last few years. Everyone is navigating the new waters of a post-pandemic world, and global missions is no exception. A few years ago, we shared some important reasons to partner with a missions agency, all of which are still valid considerations.
Now, maybe more than ever, there are new, additional factors to consider. Here are three things to think about:
Believe it or not, retirement is in your future!
Wait, I won’t be a missionary forever? Believe it or not, most missionaries return to their host country at the end of their service or to retire. In a recent webinar answering the question, “How Do I Choose a Missions Agency?”, Rachel Pauwels (Regional Missions Coach with our missions agency partner, SEND), addresses this issue.
“Our sole job as a missions agency is to be global missions experts,” says Rachel. “[We alleviate] the burden of an individual or sending church, providing training, resources, placement, and ongoing support systems like insurance, retirement planning, crisis management, and member care.”
These are not the most glamorous aspects of cross-cultural living, but one day you’ll be thankful you had them in place. Especially when you or your sending church and community are likely not insurance and retirement experts, you’ll want to entrust these details to the people dedicated to serving you, so that you are freed up to serve others.
Furthermore, when you come home (for a brief period of time or indefinitely), an agency like TEAM is available to help you adjust to what no longer may feel like “home,” as well as equip you to share your stories that will inspire others to go.
Back to the present: Assessment & Placement
What if you’re not ready to go yet? Would your family, friends, and church be equipped to tell you? You may be called, but the time may not be now, and taking care of what needs to be handled before making the huge adjustment to live cross-culturally could be the make-or-break for your long-term sustainability. Don’t be the one returning after 6 months on the field saying, “If only I had___ before I left…”
This is where an agency comes in, to walk alongside you as you discern together a sustainable and long-term fit, which may mean sorting through various ministry options and locations, as well as putting some business in order before you depart (like addressing areas of personal growth or paying off consumer debt).
While you’re going through this journey, “An agency is able…to encourage you and walk alongside you, to pray for you, and then also to evaluate you,” says Kyler Keith, Director of Recruitment and Mobilization with another TEAM partner organization, Crossworld. It’s an agency’s role to ask questions like “How are you really doing?” and “Is this sustainable?” (And you can ask them questions, too!)
Kyler shares that “Missions agencies can also help you connect with likeminded individuals, here in the States and overseas.” Specifically, this can be your sending church, who you may not be able to connect with as regularly or frequently as you like, but TEAM can step in as liaison between you and your sending church to enfold them into the TEAM community.
In good times and bad…
With everything there is to think about and prepare for to live overseas, most people don’t have a degree in counseling to help manage the stress and provide the support they need. And even if they do, counselors still need support, too!
This is where Member Care comes in. Having a caring, competent, and connected person available to walk with you through the ups and downs of living overseas will mean you can navigate challenging seasons with the support you need to thrive. Robust organizations like TEAM have an entire team of people dedicated to providing this care, and not only are they involved in the assessment process to get to know you before you depart, but they are committed to walking alongside you when the rubber meets the road.
Sometimes the rubber meets the road a little too hard and Member Care is just a piece of the equation. Navigating natural disasters, border lockdowns, political strife, and personal crises are not just legal jargon in liability clauses. Can I get an “amen” from any global worker who served during the pandemic? Having a team of people dedicated to managing crisis is key so that you can make informed decisions in alignment with leadership about what is best for you, your family, and your ministry.
And all the in-betweens…
In the changing global landscape, missionaries are going in various ways to reach the nations. For non-traditional pathways to the mission field, an organization is even more critical, as overseas companies or international churches may not be equipped to provide you the support and resources you need to thrive.
As Anna Price, former Mobilization Director with TEAM, says, “We provide community, member care services, the family services, and also that training piece. That’s where an organization can help in these non-traditional [pathways].” Much prayer and discernment is needed as we seek to open new avenues for global workers to go. If this sounds exciting to you, we invite you to join us in prayer over these efforts.
In the end, you can minimize the challenges you’ll inevitably face by seeking the support of an agency.
At TEAM, we are continually evaluating the way we equip and prepare our global workers, as well as how we care for them throughout their time in the field and beyond. In a constantly changing world, there are even more robust ways we’ve learned to support our workers in the past few years, and we aim to keep growing in our knowledge and practice.
TEAM’s heart is to cultivate and maintain a community of grace throughout our organization and respond as comprehensively as possible to the ongoing needs of our TEAM family as they partner with the global Church worldwide. If you are interested in coming alongside the work that God is doing in the world through TEAM, we look forward to hearing from you!