In the age of of high speed Internet, many overseas and local missionaries are closer to their sending Church and donors that support them. This has provided significant improvements in communication for them as they are serving God in new and sometimes distant mission fields.
I myself am serving as a missionary a couple thousand miles from my home and want to share my experience with Skype.
Here are three ways missionaries are using Skype:
Connecting With Donors Regularly
It is vital that missionaries communicate with donors regularly to show how their money is being used and that it is helping the Gospel to reach all people groups. Many organizations write letters or make phone calls, but it is well-known in the missions field that face-to-face is the best way to share what is happening. But with plane tickets sometimes costing thousands of dollars, those visits may not happen more than once every seven years. Skype provides a similar alternative with just the cost of home internet or a cup of coffee at an Internet cafe.
This is a new concept that took a little while for my own donors to do and do well. It started with a single donor that I Skyped with monthly for fifteen minutes at a time. Soon, other donors would join them as well as begin making their own appointments and I have begun to dedicate a single day a month to simply chatting with everyone and my financial support has never been better.
Share Updates With The Whole Congregation
While I do serve along side a Church where I currently am at, my sending Church is where I will always fellowship when I am home. They support me with a regular giving as well as their constant prayers and so I want to share back. I began with just recorded videos of my progress that they showed before their pastoral prayer, but with time, this has moved to a live Skype time. In the last several meetings, I have not been the only one chatting with the church. I have included teens that come to the youth group, volunteers who help serve these students, and chaplains that I serve under that have thanked them for their help. The response has been amazing, with so many people saying that they love hearing from actual people that are being impacted so far away.
Encourage Members To Join The Mission Field
Maybe the best use of Skype in the mission field is the ability to encourage others to better understand missions work and inspire them to serve as missionaries themselves. Those stories to donors and congregations are great, but when you get invited by youth groups, small groups, and adult Bible fellowships from your own sending Church as well as other Churches to talk about missions, it is quite humbling and encouraging. For those that are missionaries, petition if you can talk to these groups. For those that are a member of one of these groups, dial up a local missionary and invite their unique perspective into the discussion. Isn’t that the whole purpose of our calling? “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19a)
How could your Church better utilize Skype to encourage and support your missionaries?