In our campus ministry, we're lucky to be surrounded by many generous churches and individuals who are super-intentional about supporting and encouraging our staff and students. Maybe you're on a church staff or part of a missions committee looking for ways to connect with the ministries your church supports...here are some ways our partners have loved and encouraged us!
1. Let Them Know You're Praying For Them
One pastor friend of ours prays for us every Tuesday and posts his prayers on Facebook. Not only do we appreciate the prayers, it also communicates the value of campus ministry to his congregation. Another church will send us notes from their kids when their Sunday school classes have spent some intentionally praying for us. I love knowing different people are praying for me and for the ministry every day.
2. Be Generous With Office Supplies
What you take for granted in your supply closet, we see as luxury. Post-it notes, big writing pads of paper, software, and "the good pens" are mostly out of our budget or are paid for out of pocket by staff. When we mentioned this need to one of our supporting churches, a church secretary said, "It wouldn't be hard at all to pick some things up for CSF when I buy our church supplies!". They blessed us with a basket full of stuff as the new semester started.
3. Share Staff Training Opportunities
Is your church staff going to a ministry leadership conference? For some of our churches, the cost of bringing a missionary along would be minimal (in the big scheme of things), and the impact it would have on their ministry would be huge. Or maybe someone at your church is an expert on technology or productivity or something else that would be useful to a campus ministry staff....offer to do training for your missionary and their staff if they're closeby. Or, maybe a team from your church would even be willing to travel to their mission field to do the training. We've been blessed by someone from a local church staff who used their expertise to take our staff through a strategic planning process during a difficult transition.
4. Adopt Their Family
A small group from our church has adopted my family and intentionally remembers and blesses us throughout the year with treats like a Family Movie Night basket, flowers, encouragement cards, or the occasional meal. I know they are praying for us, and if I need help getting my doorbell fixed or need last-minute cooks for our college students, I know I can count on them.
5. Come to their stuff
If they have a fundraiser, come. If you can visit them on their turf, on the mission field, do it. It shows you're interested beyond just sending a check and gives you an opportunity to really be part of what they're doing. It's sometimes hard for us to "brag" on the great things happening in the ministry, so come and see for yourself. I guarantee you'll be amazed at what God is doing, and the staff will be encouraged by your interest.
These partnerships between the local Church and missionaries or para-church organizations can be a little tricky sometimes. Here are some practical ways the local church has blessed us and encouraged us as we work together for the gospel. I'd love to hear YOUR ideas about partnering with church workers outside the church walls!