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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Neal Pirolo :: Prepare for Battle

Neal Pirolo :: Chapter 3 - Our Attitude Towards War

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“And when you come, please bring the cloak I left with Corpus at Troas and the books, but especially the parchments.”

2 Timothy 4:13

Sure, I had had some good training in building a support team. I had made provision for my logistics support. A real neat guy named Bill had said he would handle everything. Looking back, that should have been my first clue that this might not work out. Nobody can handle everything! But I didn’t think of it at the time.

A ministry opportunity had opened up. We had been invited to lead a relief work in the Middle East. We sensed God’s direction in this. Things were coming together well. A lot of clothes and medicine were being given to us to distribute once we got there. We neatly packed and identified each box. Bill said that when sailors from our church came to a nearby military installation, he would have them each carry a few. Or he was sure he could arrange space for the whole shipment through diplomatic channels. What a relief to my mind. I could concentrate on other details.

Three years later, we came home for a short visit. I sheepishly went to the friend who had let us store those boxes in his garage, lo, these three years. Yep! They were all there! Just as we had left them! Not a one had been sent to us.

We shipped the stuff to a ministry in Mexico. They said they could use what wasn’t outdated. I took the few remaining boxes of our personal items to Bill. ‘Yeah, sure! No problem. Those will be on the next ship out!’

Well, we’re ready to come home on furlough again. We’ve decided that since we’ve made it for six years over here without that stuff, we really don’t need it. It will be interesting, though, when we get home to look through the boxes to see what one day had seemed so important to us.

Bill’s a good man. But he just didn’t seem to be able to get those boxes over to us!

Logistics Support deals with handling the nuts and bolts of your cross-cultural worker’s continuing home country responsibilities.

Logistics support must be considered on two levels:

  1. Those areas of business to be attended to by the church leadership or missionary agency, and
  2. The multitude of details that can be handled by a team of individuals.

You, as part of the Logistics Support Team, could find yourself involved in:

  • Identifying the cross-cultural workers in your fellowship.
  • Maintaining accountability in ministry.
  • Confirming and encouraging spiritual growth.
  • Managing business affairs.
  • Attending to personal details.

Identifying Cross-Cultural Workers

The local congregation, the Body of Christ in microcosm, in order to function as a Body, must have all the necessary parts. The Body needs a mouth, so He appointed some prophets and pastor/teachers. The Body needs to function “decently and in order,” so He gave some the gift of administration.

He even has someone always “just hanging around” like the appendix! And because outreach is one of the main functions of the Church, and because He said, “The field is the world” (Matthew 13:38), God has placed in every Body parts that are to minister cross-culturally.

In many churches, cross-cultural workers have not been given the opportunity to exercise their gifts, so they sit in atrophy, wondering, “Why am I here?” They may try to find a place of ministry in some other area, but they just dont fit in! So in frustration they move from one ministry to another—or from one church to another.

The first logistical responsibility of the church, then, is to provide for the identification and exercise of the cross-cultural parts.

When Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch from Jerusalem with some firsthand reports from the Apostles, the church identified and put forth five men-prophets and teachers, leaders in the church. Then, in prayer and fasting, the church heard the Holy Spirit say. “I want Barnabas and Saul for some cross-cultural work” (A rather loose paraphrase of Acts 13:1-2!).

The local fellowship of believers must take the initiative in the missionary process by identifying the cross-cultural parts of the Body and allowing them to exercise their gifts.

A missions fellowship at your church, then, becomes an ideal testing ground for potential missionaries. Under the direction of a lay or staff leader, those who believe they are your Body’s cross-cultural parts can experience all aspects of missions. They can be challenged to the task of cross-cultural outreach ministry by speakers and cultural studies and reports. They can practice the art of missionary support—moral, logistics and so on. They can exercise their gifts by ministering to the Internationals in your own home town. As potential goers are identified, they can actually go on a mini-mission or short-term experience. And the identified senders can serve as their senders!

The pastor, missions committee or fellowship should not be the last to know when one of the members from your church is getting involved in missions! Take the initiative: Make cross-cultural outreach a part of the vision God has given you for your fellowship.

Maintaining Accountability In Ministry

Accountability has become one of the catchwords of our culture. And wouldn’t one expect a reaction—at some time—to the “do your own thing” philosophy? Yet, from across the nation, there are hundreds of pastors and church leaders who do not know what those who have gone out from their church are doing. Some say, “Well, they’re with XYZ Ministry. Isn’t that a good mission?”

Quite possibly. But…

Is that mission an extension of the ministry goals of your church? Is that ministry targeting a decisive point of battle? Are your missionary’s abilities and giftings suited to the work of that mission?

A second dimension of this responsibility then follows: Once you are sure your cross-cultural worker is involved in a ministry suited to his gifts and the ministry thrust of your church, you must have some ongoing evaluation to know if that ministry is progressing. A regular, independent report from his supervisor will keep you in touch with his work.

If your missionary is working through a mission agency, make sure the lines of accountability relationship are open, defined and include your fellowship. Remember, this missionary is still a part of your Body.

A report from your worker should fill in the details. A periodic phone call, an occasional report from another worker in the area-even a visit by an appointed elder from your church would assure you that the ministry is really happening.

After all, the work of those who go and those who serve as senders is a team effort!

Confirming Spiritual Growth

Sadly, some sets of statistics report that for all their preparation, for all their “hearing God’s voice” and for all their support, up to 50% of cross-cultural workers do not complete their first term of commitment

Too many of them don’t make it because of spiritual drought. They have dried up spiritually. They have come to the point where they are trying to give out more than they are taking in.

Church leadership must encourage spiritual growth;

  1. Before missionaries go,
  2. While they’re on the field and
  3. When they return home.

1) Encouragement in spiritual growth before they go.

Antioch provides a good example: Barnabas and Saul were mature leaders chosen by the Holy Spirit for a very tough assignment. It is easy to study their fine qualifications in Scripture.

For some reason, however, they took John Mark along. Evidently he was not prepared; when the going got tough, he quit!

Several years later, Paul sensed that John Mark still was not ready (Acts 15:38). But then several years after that assessment, Paul told Timothy to bring Mark with him, for “he is profitable for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).

A goer’s eagerness to be sent doesn’t necessarily mean he is ready to be sent.

One church does it this way: Everyone who even thinks he is a cross-cultural part of the Body is encouraged to attend the missions fellowship headed by a cross-cultural coordinator. Here they are regularly exposed to cross-cultural outreach through prayer for the peoples of the world, speakers and videos of ministries and opportunities for ministry, including short-term awareness and ministry trips.

As a person (or couple) and the group sense the call of the potential goer, that person begins relating with the senior pastor in personal discipleship training. When he is raised to the position of deacon in the church and has functioned for a time in some place of leadership, he is ready for cultural training and developing a personal support team.

The church must send a capable, credible worker-one who knows what he believes and why. That confidence may come through in-house training, sending him to a Bible school or a combination of several preparation programs.

The church must send one who has stripped the Gospel and teachings of Christ of all American, Greek and Hebrew culture so that he can allow his host culture to clothe the Gospel in garb suitable to them.

Senders must send one who has been trained in interpersonal relationships, the lack of which is the greatest reason for missionary dropouts! The church must not send one who is “ever learning, yet never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7), but one who is “increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

2) Encouragement in spiritual growth on the field.

Once a field worker becomes unencumbered with the affairs of his life back home (see 2 Timothy 2:4) and is thrust into the midst of unending opportunity for ministry, it is very easy for him to neglect his own spiritual intake—to be working so hard for the Vine that the branch becomes pinched and the life-sustaining sap is cut off.

Soon yesterday’s prayers, last week’s Bible reading, last month’s study in the Word are not able to sustain the worker through today’s demands. And he falls prey to spiritual drought.

The writer of Hebrews says, “At a time when you should be feeding others, I am having to bottle-feed you… Let’s not lay over and over the foundation doctrines…, but let’s go on to maturity” (Hebrews 5:12-6:3).

Because your worker doesn’t have five Christian radio stations, two Christian TV stations and a dozen Bible studies to choose from each week, he must be a student of the Word-one who knows how to rightly divide the Word of Truth, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15). He must know how to feed himself spiritually.

You may help in this area by sending Bible study tapes to him, or by having him commit to a correspondence course. Perhaps you can study along with him by letter on a book by book Bible study.

One missionary family in Peru arranged for their church to send weekly Bible study tapes. They soon began to listen to them in a group Bible study with other team members. Before long many groups were organized and listening! When they heard a few new choruses on the study tapes, they began to miss their Christian music. They quickly got on the ham radio to ask a support team member to send some Christian music tapes down-soon!

3) Encouragement in spiritual growth when they come back home.

Your missionary may be home for a brief stay before he returns to the field. Check his spiritual temperature. Many have been bombarded by new ideas and ideals, different values and beliefs. Is he still anchored to the Rock? Are the changes in his thinking only cultural? Or has a subtle pantheism or another deceptive world system outlook permeated his doctrine? He may need a strengthening of his faith. More seriously, he may need a redefining of his Christian foundations. Some slightly askew winds of doctrine may have even come from the isolated team of the organization through which he is working.

If your worker has come home to take up a new ministry here, you cannot presume that his spiritual growth will continue. Here at home he is bombarded by the gods of materialism and hedonism. These can have a drastic effect on his doctrine! Make sure he is still sharing what he “first received from the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

A certain family served on a two-year mission venture in the Orient. They returned to the States to resume ministry. It wasn’t until much later—fifteen years later—through the counsel of their church leadership, that they came to understand the intensity of a spiritual assault that had been launched against their whole family while overseas. They then began to work on breaking the powers of darkness and the resulting destructive patterns and began to live in the victorious freedom available in Christ. Supportive, intense prayer for them by the Body when they first came home might have identified this problem sooner.

Managing Business Affairs

If your worker goes through a mission agency, most of the following issues will be established by the agency’s policy. Reading through some of these perplexing logistics might make you appreciate what an agency goes through to keep your missionary on the field. Even if these tasks are handled by an agency, it is still your responsibility to know the agency’s policies and how you as the sending church relate to them. More and more mission agencies are asking for the church to be more actively involved in the whole missions process-Including logistics.

If your church sends out missionaries directly to work with national ministries or to plant churches in unreached groups, drink and plan very seriously through each of the following issues first. And remember that the list is only a cursory look at the business matters that will come up!

1) Money

This one word conjures up more emotion than any other in the whole arena of missions! Because of its importance, someone in the church leadership must be responsible to handle its details:

  1. Work with the national ministry and your cross-cultural worker to determine a necessary and adequate monthly budget.
  2. Establish acceptable methods for securing enough financing.
  3. Communicate how each donor identifies his gift as designated for a particular missionary and/or project.
  4. Develop a system for receipting the donor and for notifying your cross-cultural worker of amounts and who donated. Careful financial monitoring is needed to actually transfer those funds to the field. Will any be kept back for administering the funding process? What will you do if donations fall beloww the established quota?

2) Taxes

How easily Jesus reduced to simplicity the whole issue of taxes (see Matthew 22:15-22). But earthly governments seem to be able to make things very complicated. Therefore “rendering unto Caesar” requires an astute mind knowledgeable of the myriadss of details involved. Details such as deductions, tax status changes caused by your worker’s ordination and length of residency outside the US and the host country’s taxation just begin to open this Pandoras Box!

And, remember, tax laws are in a continual state of change. If your fellowship does not have the time to keep up with all the laws, find a tax professional who can help with your missionary’s situation. One such organization that specializes in missionary taxes is Worth Tax Service, P.O. Box 725, Winona Lake, IN 46590 USA. It is imperative that you or someone from your church leadership contact them or some other truly knowledgeable financial organization before you send your worker to the field—just to make sure all is in order in this vital area of logistics support.

Mary was just going to Hong Kong for two years. “I won’t be earning any money in the United States. I don’t need to worry about taxes!” she thought. She discovered how wrong she had been when, after returning home, she got an invitation to explain why she hadn’t filed her income tax forms for two years. Back taxes plus interest had her making painful payments for several years.

Or take Sue, who thought that because her church had written a letter, she didn’t have to pay Social Security. Don’t let your cross-cultural worker become a horror story of trouble with the government!

3) Health

Responsible church leadership will make sure their cross-cultural worker and his whole family are in good health—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually before they go to the field. Leadership must further see that their health care needs are met through an adequate monthly income or through the church’s health insurance program.

Three considerations:

  1. Will the church’s policy cover your missionary family when they are out of the United States?
  2. Is the cost of the premium higher than the cost of health care in the country to which they are going?
  3. Is health care provided to expatriates by the host nation’s medical program?

Definitely related to the health and well-being of your cross-cultural worker is his safety. What will you as a sending church do if your worker gets in trouble in his host culture? What if he is caught in the cross-fire of a civil disturbance? What if the government is overthrown? What if your worker is kidnapped?

The list goes on. Some hard facts! But it is far better to have these issues thought out ahead of time and to have a plan of action in place than to wait for your worker’s phone call from prison to begin thinking about such matters!

4) Death

Death is an inevitable fact of life. Yet this most emotionally charged event is sometimes totally unplanned for by a missionary’s sending church. To clarify the necessary details, your fellowship must plan ahead.

It is generally accepted that the best place to be buried is where one dies. Many countries do not embalm: therefore they require burial within 24 hours.

The expense of immediate or even chartered flights out of a country are usually prohibitive. Furthermore, “He lived, he worked, he died and he is buried among us,” is a powerful statement of the incarnation of Christ in your cross-cultural worker among a targeted people group. His testimony lives on!

A further, emotionally charged consideration is the expense of a field worker coming home for the funeral of a relative. Do you tell your missionary that you simply can’t afford to fly him home to comfort his mother at his fathers funeral because you weren’t prepared? Will you take up a special offering for such an emergency? Do you maintain an emergency fund?

Carefully think through these and other life-and-death policies.

Attending to Personal Details

Beyond this array of details that are best handled by the mission agency and church leadership under their spiritual and corporate covering, there is a host of bits and pieces of logistical matters that can be handled by an individual. The list here merely suggests the innumerable situations that could arise with your particular field worker.

1) Material goods

If their car didn’t sell before they left, you could hold power of attorney to sell it for them-at agreed-upon terms, of course. You could manage the rental or lease of their house or other properties. You could make payments from their bank account for property, insurance or other home-country financial commitments. You could send them the proper income tax forms, absentee ballots for elections, renewal of licenses forms, credentials or certificates. You could store their few boxes of personal belongings which they chose not to sell or take with them. And, of course, you could arrange to ship necessary materials to them on time!

2) Family matters

You may be called upon to be executor of your missionary’s will. You may be asked to be the parents of their children if death should occur. You may be the ideal person to visit or care for their elderly parents. You may be able to provide a home for their college-age child attending school in your town. You may have the contacts to provide the home schooling curriculum materials they need. You may represent your missionary at family gatherings or events.

3) Ministry needs

You could gather and mail ministry items to your workers-Bibles, food and clothing for the poor, Sunday school materials and pictures. Since prices of many types of technical equipment are actually much lower in the USA, you could become your missionary’s source for information and purchase of computers, modems, fax machines or hand-crank or solar-powered cassette players. You might research and expedite purchase of video and audio blank tapes and other supplies. Or you might put your goers in touch with sources from whom they may purchase directly.

These jobs only suggest the enormity and diversity of this important support role—the role of a go-fer! Selected members of your sending team with real gifts of service must attend to all your worker’s responsibilities that continue in his home country.

Logistics support is essentially caring for each other in the Body of Christ. The Word teaches a simple doctrine: We really do need each other. We are the Family of God, The Body of Christ. Paul simply said that the Body should work together as a whole with all the members having the same care one for another (1 Corinthians 12:25).

Logistics support members must have certain qualifications:

Diligence: Sometimes it takes a bit of research to find all the correct income tax forms. Sometimes it takes some creative looking to find an inexpensive source or any source for New Testaments in the Uzbek language!

Concern for details: How to mail items—completing the customs forms, packaging, postage, labeling—takes time and communication with the field worker regarding mailing requirements in the host country and detailed concern in working with the US Postal Service or other carrier service.

New missionaries in Peru got a notice from the Lima post office that a package of homemade cookies had arrived from the States. When presented with an exorbitant import duty for the shipment, the missionaries decided they should pay it for the sake of their relationship with the well-meaning senders…until an experienced missionary told them the package would have been “accidentally” damaged and all the cookies would be gone anyway! Logistics support must be concerned with details such as import duties on care packages.

Punctuality: When you get a request for an item from your cross-cultural worker, chances are that a week or two has already passed since the need became acute. Finding what was requested, packaging and sending it—in addition to the return mail time—can cause quite a delay. Any procrastination increases the wait.

Sound business practices: Your record-keeping and promptness of payment in your missionary’s financial dealings is a reflection of their integrity in business.

One missionary family turned the management of the rental of their house over to a friend. Bills and receipts accompanied every check that this friend wrote. The records were kept with accuracy. The businesslike manner of their friend gave them confidence that all would be well when they returned.

Be assured that the peace of mind that you as a good logistics support person can provide for a cross-cultural worker is equal in value to the things you do for him. What a privileged opportunity to serve as a sender!

Case Study in Logistics Support

The Core Group we have been following shows us more on this area of support:

The logistics support we provide for Lou and Sandy includes legal aspects such as serving as executors and keepers of their wills. It also involves taking care of some of their financial affairs such as income tax and life insurance payments. It has even included selling their car.

Lou and I were roommates in college and have managed to remain close friends ever since. It was this long-standing relationship that led Lou to ask me to take care of his business while he and Sandy were in the Philippines. It seemed like a simple task: Mail an occasional check, file a form or two… It was—I thought—no big deal!

As Lou and Sandy prepared to go to a training course in Mexico, they were very busy and we never seemed to find the time to get together. We finally found one-half hour to discuss how they ran their lives, what bills they had due each month and how we were going to handle their financial affairs. Additionally, we met at their bank to make me a signatory on their savings account and to complete a power of attorney form that authorized me to have full control of their business affairs.

As I started paying their bills, I quickly realized that I needed a system to keep records of what I had paid. Thankfully my wife is much more organized than I and produced an old bill-organizer that is working fine. It will hopefully provide them a full accounting of what we have done when they return from the Philippines.

Taking over their financial affairs hasn’t been easy. There have been those unexplained bills—like the $45 medical records check from a life insurance company. Do I pay this? I didn’t know how to handle this one!

Then there was the car! “The Bomb,” as Lou affectionately called it, was one of those things that gives used car salesmen such a bad reputation. Suddenly I found myself faced with having to sell a car I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! Fortunately, a mechanic friend of Lou’s was willing to take it as a “project” car.

The hardest part of what we are doing is the realization that we could really mess up someone else’s business credibility, and that they are not in a position to do anything about it. It came to a head when we needed to find out if they wanted us to do their taxes or mail all the information to them. As the April 15 deadline approached, we realized that the mail would not go back and forth fast enough to communicate.

We checked with the phone company and found the cheapest times to call that would still fit into both our schedules. After trying to connect for half an hour, we prayed that if the decision we had come to about their taxes was wrong, we would get through the next time. The next time, Lou answered the phone! We had made the wrong decision and were able to straighten out a number of nagging questions. Our peace of mind—and theirs as well—only cost $15.

The lessons we logistics supporters have already learned on how to do this right include:

  1. Sit down for several sessions with the couple you are sending. Even if they are going out under a well-known mission agency or association, don’t presume that all their personal business matters will somehow be taken care of. Go over taxes, past and present. Discuss every financial obligation they have. Find out why they have these bills and why they pay them the way they do and whom to contact when questions arise.
  2. Get a full, durable power of attorney for the husband and wife separately.
  3. Set up a record-keeping system with the couple before they leave. Find out how they want their records maintained so that you don’t just hand them a stack of old bills and cancelled checks when they return.
  4. Make sure that their wills are complete and on me with their executor. If that is you, get a safety deposit box. Make sure they have expressed how they wish for their remains to be disposed of. Lou, being a very practical guy said, “The cheapest way possible!”
  5. Pray about the responsibility you are about to accept. The enemy just loves to confuse and condemn anyone trying to do anything for the Lord-even something as simple (?) as paying a few bills!

This is logistics support at its best! These is no way of anticipating what your missionary will ask for; there is no knowing when a request will come. But one committed to the task and diligent in the work is a rare and prized partner in cross-cultural ministry. You may just be that person.

But for your missionary to sense the full support he needs, other areas of your possible service become important also. So that he may become “disentangled with the affairs of this life” and preach the Gospel freely, a vital part of the team becomes those who provide the financial support.

(In addition to the individual study below, see the Group Leader’s Guide for session three.)

For Your Personal Involvement

  • Read Paul’s account of cooperation in the Body of Christ from 1 Corinthians 12. Particularly note the care given to the “less comely” parts.
  • In the Book of Acts, underline all references to travel logistics. With today’s electronic communication systems, how could someone “back home” have helped in each of these instances?
  • Make a list of all the things in your life that would need attention “back home”; if you went away for two years. These are probably the things your missionary has to find someone to handle when he leaves.

Action Steps

By the time you have read Chapter Three, completed the For Your Personal Involvement section and participated in a group discussion, you should…

  • Understand the potentially vast number of details involved in logistics support.
  • Be more aware that we are the Body of Christ and we really do need each other.
  • Decide whether God wants you to be on the Logistics Support Team of a cross-cultural worker you know. If so, write to him and inquire of any logistical needs that he may have. Make yourself available to assist in that need.
  • Multiply yourself. As you come to understand the value of this type of support, encourage others to consider it as their place in the Body of Christ.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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