Phase 3: Preparation and Sending
HarvestCall is committed to the purposeful preparation and sending of brethren in to missions to which they have been called. The goals of this phase are to 1) provide each missionary/goer with a level of readiness and 2) engage the church to “send” the brother/sister and help him/her thrive in their mission. While it is the Lord that sends laborers into the harvest, both HarvestCall and the sending church play major roles in this effort.
The preparation and sending phase begins after confirmation of the calling has been received by HarvestCall and the mission/church. The role of HarvestCall is to provide effective and relevant training for the brother/sister through developing and implementing a training plan as well as outlining other preparatory goals. The completion of the goals and training will enable the brother/sister to be sent to his/her mission field. The sending church is responsible for providing the primary spiritual, fellowship and physical support.
The preparation phase will be guided by a preparation plan. This plan outlines the training components and other preparatory goals for 1) the brother/sister, 2) representatives from the mission field and 3) others involved in preparing the brother/sister for the assignment. The plan will outline the roles and specific plans related to the following areas:
- Mission and Culture
- Church and Support
- Personal and Family
The plan will be agreed upon by the brother/sister, the mission and the sending church. The primary accountability for the completion of the preparation plan will be on the brother/sister with support provided by a mentor. Some of the key areas of the plan, such as participating in an orientation and preparing spiritually, culturally, medically and financially, are discussed in more detail below.
As part of the pre-field preparation, missionaries/goers will be asked to participate in an orientation. This orientation is conducted by HarvestCall and provides some basic training on a broad range of topics related to service in the field and serving on behalf of the Apostolic Christian Church. In general, this will be completed with other missionaries/goers who are going through the pre-field process at the same time.
The most critical component of readiness and preparation is being prepared spiritually. Spiritual preparation is not about a checklist or a specific list of training classes. Instead, it is about the brother/sister developing a fully-dependent, obedient and intimate relationship with God. This involves utilizing and incorporating the Word of God in every aspect of life. Spiritual readiness will manifest itself through evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit, participation in the body of Christ and leading an overcoming life. Recommendations for spiritual preparation will be included in the preparation plan.
In accordance with the HarvestCall “Ministry Practices” Guiding Principle #8, “we will strive to minister in ways that are respectful and relevant to indigenous cultures, being careful not to create dependency.” In an effort to apply this principle, a commitment to learning about and how to appropriately live in the culture being served is critical. Cultural acquisition is not necessarily the full adoption of and adherence to the local culture, but is a commitment to learn and respect the culture. The goal is to minister the Gospel in such a way that the message is not hindered by cultural roadblocks. Learning a culture will likely involve living among those being served, building relationships, asking many questions and being willing to make mistakes. Books and other formal resources can also assist with cultural learning.
HarvestCall believes in the full adoption of the local language of the people being served by the brother/sister. Since each brother/sister’s language proficiency is different, a language acquisition plan should be created with the mission. Often, initial portions of language learning can begin prior to transition to the field. In spite of the unique challenge of learning a language, every brother/sister should make a commitment to do this. Resources are available to assist through HarvestCall.
Often, medical precautions such as vaccinations are needed to serve in the mission area. The brother/sister is encouraged to ask those currently serving within the mission for recommendations and advice. Review the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for the host country and abide by the recommendations for medical preparation. If the brother/sister does not wish to follow the CDC recommendations, he/she should discuss this with personnel in his/her respective mission.
The financial support of missionaries is viewed as a shared responsibility between HarvestCall and the sending church. HarvestCall utilizes the Servant Fund as the primary financial support mechanism for Apostolic Christian missionaries (see the Servant Fund Policy by clicking on the link below). The sending church will be asked to collect a substantial portion of its missionary’s support for the Servant Fund and should also be prepared to assist with incidental expenses.
For the missionary, there are several requirements involved in financial preparation and documentation. Please see the New Missionary Financial Guide in the resource folder for a list of required information. Also, there are unique tax and planning considerations with the Servant Fund, please see the Servant Fund Tax Guidelines.
Resource: Servant Fund Policy and Servant Fund Tax Guidelines
Sending for a church is the act of setting apart brethren to be commissioned for a task on behalf of the church.This is most clearly exhibited Biblically in Acts 13:1-3, but is demonstrated throughout the scriptures. In Matthew 9:38, we are instructed to “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” As such, it is the Lord who sends forth workers to the fields, but the local church, as the body of Christ, gives exhibition to that sending by both commissioning and supporting the work. In commissioning, the church is expressing its confidence in the work for which the worker is being sent. And, in support, they are expressing their engagement with the worker that is being sent.
For the church to engage in its role of sending and supporting the brother/sister, the brethren need to be informed of the brother/sister's calling and his/her work and the church's role in support. The responsibility for this communication is shared between the sending church Elder and the brother/sister.
Update/Sharing of God's Work
Prior to leaving for a first term, a forum should be created for the brother/sister to share his/her calling and upcoming work with the church. As a part of this forum, the Elder or the Outreach Manager should share with the church their responsibility in supporting the brother/sister spiritually, relationally, and physically. Similarly, during annual furlough, follow-up communication should be given to the home church. Consider choosing a different method for this communication each year. Examples of communication include having the brother/sister share his/her testimony at a hymn sing, presenting during a Wednesday evening service or after a Sunday service, having a special evening at the Fellowship Hall and presenting to the Sunday School or at a retirement home. (Note: When sharing a testimony with the sending church, the brother/sister should express appreciation for spiritual and financial support and fellowship.)
Prior to the brother/sister’s transition, the church should conduct a sending service. This service typically involves the entire church and is coordinated under the direction of church leadership. The sending service communicates clearly that the local church is sending the brother/sister and that he/she will remain as an extension of the sending church.
Resource: Sending Services Document
To assist the church in fulfilling its responsibilities for support, two roles have been established to ensure all of the necessary support is maintained. A "mentor" is responsible for assisting the brother/sister in maintaining spiritual support and an "advocate" is responsible for the relational and physical support of the brother/sister by the church. These roles should work together, and those engaged in the roles are encouraged to leverage the gifts of the church to fulfill their roles.
Every missionary/goer will have a mentor who is chosen by the brother/sister. A mentor is a brother or sister in Christ who provides primary spiritual accountability to the brother/sister through the roles of listening, coaching and counseling. While the mentor does not need to be from the sending church, he/she will be functioning on behalf of the home Elder and therefore need to be confirmed by him. The mentor also acts as a liaison on behalf of the Elder to provide spiritual support. The foundation for the mentoring relationship between the brother/sister and the mentor should be consistent communication (at least two times per month).
Resource: Missionary Mentor Role Description
An advocate is a couple or brother/sister from the brother/sister’s sending church responsible for providing primary fellowship accountability to the church and the brother/sister to ensure that each is fulfilling his/her role. The support advocate is not meant to be the sole voice to and from the church, but is encouraged to engage the whole church in the role of supporting the brother/sister. The advocate should also ensure that the brother/sister is consistently communicating with the sending church and keeping a pulse on the relationship between the sending church and the brother/sister.
Resource: Missionary Advocate Role Description