Why Greet Missionaries

Wallace-Shawn-Heather-770x770Between services on July 24th, we are hosting a Missionary Meet & Greet with The Wallace Family who are serving in Nairobi, Kenya. Don’t miss the opportunity to be an encouragement to Shawn and Heather and to their children.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  Matt 9: 36-38

Missionaries typically sacrifice personally, professionally and financially to take their families to far flung places where they do without conveniences while missing their family and friends in order to work terribly long hours in adverse situations for little thanks and no compensation.

Here are 10 reasons we should be eager to meet and greet missionaries:

  1. Gratitude for the Gospel: Meeting and greeting missionaries reminds us how the gospel came down to us through the ages from the Apostles by way of many pastors and missionaries through their journeys taken in faith. This should move our hearts with gratitude for God’s work to bring his people to faith through century after century despite, hardship, persecution and turmoil.
  2. A Great Commission Reminder: Meeting and greeting missionaries reminds us that Christ sends all of us out of our comfort zones into the wider world to share the story of his love and grace. These verses from the Gospels aren’t just meant for missionaries and full-time ministry workers, they are meant for all of us:

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matt 28: 18-20

  3. A Reality Check: Meeting and greeting missionaries gives us an opportunity to realize they are not superhuman, nor are they granted special gospel-hero powers. Believing missionaries to be overly saintly is one way we let ourselves off the hook. We feel like it’s ok for us to not share the gospel because were aren’t gospel-heroes like they are. As we talk with missionaries and their children, we realize they are very much like us: often stressed, plenty sinful and much in need of God’s grace. This should remind us the only Hero of any story is Jesus. Only he can work in and through any of our lives to bring the good news of salvation to those around us.To Learn About
  4. God’s World: Meeting and greeting missionaries gives us an opportunity to find out about other parts of the world and the cultures God has woven in those locations. Their landscapes and climate, plants and animals may be similar or different from our own but they are full of beauty and difficulties just like the rest of creation. Their cultures may seem very different but they are made up of a mix of good and bad just like our culture is. Their peoples and nations have inspiring and challenging parts to their history and their current economic and political environment just like we do. These things should cause us to praise God for the way he has crafted both the natural world and human culture and for the way he sustains his creation and people. We should also be reminded that he promises things will not always be such a struggle but that in Christ, who is our hope, he is making all things new.
  5. To Hear God’s Story: Meeting and greeting missionaries gives us a chance to hear specifically what God is doing in their lives and the lives of the people they serve. We can find out what strategies are used to get the love of Christ across to people in their location. We can also hear about the challenges people face that make it difficult to believe in Jesus. And we can begin to understand what a struggle it may be to share the gospel because of these barriers to faith. Hearing about how God is working among his people despite adversity should move our hearts to praise him for how he makes the love and grace of Jesus known among every tribe and nation.
  6. To Grow Our Faith: Meeting and greeting missionaries is an opportunity for God to grow our faith and encourage our hearts as we see and hear how he is working through flawed believers and imperfect churches to bring the good news of salvation in Jesus to people hungry for hope and in need of Christ’s love.
  7. To Grow Their Faith: Meeting and greeting missionaries provides an opportunity for God to grow their faith and encourage their hearts as we show interest in what God is doing through their lives and work by our warm welcome, presence and thoughtful questions. God can use even these simple gestures to urge them onward in the gospel work he has placed before them.
  8. To Speak Blessings: Meeting and greeting missionaries gives us a special opportunity to speak words of kindness, blessing and thankfulness to missionaries for their willingness to follow God by serving his people. We can also praise God together for the way he is at work in and through their lives. God can use our words to energize missionaries and their kids when we express how their work and witness encourages us and our families.
  9. Prayer Support: Meeting and greeting missionaries allows us to hear why they need our prayers. We can find out what things are especially difficult or dangerous about their location and work. We can find out where they may feel prone to get discouraged and feel defeated. We can hear about special family needs. We can join in their labors by consistently praying for all these things, for God to meet their needs, for God to keep them and their children safe, for God to work in and through their lives to bring people to Jesus.
  10. Financial Support: Meeting and greeting missionaries gives us an opportunity to hear about their financial needs and to respond with generosity. We can find out how much it costs to live and minister where they serve. We can learn that our giving not only supports their gospel work, but it also educates and provides healthcare for their children. And we can find out how economic changes, national headlines and world events often impact the giving of families and churches. When we give to support missionaries, we are expressing our trust in God by sharing the resources he has given us.

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