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How Churches and Individuals Can Care for Their Global Workers

Many times, sending churches and individual supporters want to help their global workers, but don’t know where to start. After serving internationally with us for years, Jo came up with a few pointers to help senders take initiative in advocating for their international workers. These suggestions are based on her own experiences, her conversations with others in her line of work, and articles / podcasts she’s consumed.

1. Help Your Global Worker Raise Support

Jo points out that Great Commission workers don’t just have to raise their salary, but they also have to raise their benefits like health insurance along with all their work-related expenses, which can sometimes surpass $100,000 a year! This is a difficult task, especially when they might not be the greatest public speakers and are often working a full-time job while support-raising. Jo really appreciated it when people referred her to their friends or when churches organized a Q&A session with her for their congregation. Jo says, “One of the biggest blessings has been when people of a ‘higher status’ were an advocate for me.” 

2. Offer Your Global Worker Housing & Transportation when They’re Home

Jo encourages sending churches and individual supporters to take more initiative in accommodating their global workers whenever they’re back home. Whenever an international worker comes back home to visit, the sending church should proactively offer housing and transportation instead of assuming the missionary will just figure something out. Jo pointed out that if someone from her sending church were to visit her on the mission field, she would help organize their transportation, lodging, and ministry involvement so the visitor could succeed—and she says sending churches need to have that same mindset when their missionary comes back home to visit. She says, “Even though it’s the country we grew up in, it’s still somewhat foreign [after having been on the field] and we’d love help with the logicics.” She suggests that sending churches should keep a list of people who are ready to help global workers in these ways.

3. Respect Your Global Worker’s Public Communication Preferences

Jo says, “When I first went out, churches were posting about me and sharing about my ministry, but I had to ask them to not post my full name and to use the term ‘global worker’ instead of ‘missionary.’” In a world where everything ends up on the internet, many global workers will have their relationships jeopardized if people realize they’re there to share the gospel. It can also be a safety issue, as the governments of least-reached countries are often closed off to “missionaries.” The biggest network at Encompass right now is the Transformation Works Network and it continues to grow as people find creative ways to get into least-reached countries. From business, to social work to ESL (English as a Second Language), Jo believes the next stage of the great commission will be sending more and more “marketplace professionals” out into the world and discipling professionals to take more steps in sharing their life/faith in their everyday work.

Overall, Jo reminds us that a sender’s relationship with their global worker is a partnership. Since both parties are working together in furthering the gospel together, supporters should do everything they can to set up their global staff for success before being sent, during their time abroad, and when they return.

If your church sends global workers, contact leadership to make sure you have a missions pastor, missions committee, or point person who can proactively help care for them.