What Happens When a Missionary Loses Support?

Episode 194 - Keith Smith

Sometimes missionaries lose support when they are away from home. Maybe there was a change of vision, maybe unmet expectations, or maybe they weren't seen as “strong enough” so their supporters decided to support someone with a better record of success – even when the missionary was simply being faithfully obedient.

Whatever the reason, when that happens, it can leave a missionary feeling lonely and isolated. It can separate them from the resources and break relationships.

But it doesn't have to be like that. We serve a God who honors faithful obedience and upholds the weak and oppressed. And, as Keith Smith shares, we can be part of the problem when we focus on being there to form healthy relationships in the beginning, support them through the tough times, and love them as people and fellow laborers in the Kingdom.

What we talked about

  • 0:00:26 – About This Week's Show
  • 0:01:06 – Introducing Keith Smith and our topic
  • 0:02:34 – What's the magnitude of the problem of missionaries losing the support they need?
  • 0:03:31 – What are some of the key reasons commitments or relationships are broken in missions?
Instead of sitting down and talking, we just turn our backs and walk away. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet
  • 0:05:03 – One fatal mistake many missionaries make
  • 0:05:55 – Sometimes missions agencies or churches change their policies
  • 0:07:05 – Are there any indicators of potential problems before a missionary ever leaves the country?
I think that openness...is one of the most important things missionaries have. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet
  • 0:07:53 – How being real opened a Muslim refugee up to the Gospel
  • 0:08:52 – Lack of communication from the sending church or organization
  • 0:10:20 – What are the deeper impacts of broken sending relationships with missionaries?
  • 0:14:04 – Does the fear of backlash or losing support lead missionaries to begin walking in isolation?

A missionary must be a person who is prepared to lay bare his life. @_Castillofuerte Click To TweetWe all have to learn to be open to receive healing. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet

  • 0:16:17 – The three stage process of healing
Healing comes step by step. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet
  • 0:17:38 – What are the first couple of things a missionary should do if they lose a portion of their support?
    • 0:18:18 – 1 – Prayer is the most important
    • 0:18:45 – 2 – Talk with trusted friends
    • 0:19:11 – 3 – Have an open dialog with the people who left and those who remain
  • 0:19:41 – How Keith was able to save a damaged relationship.
  • 0:20:23 – Is there anyone a missionary should NOT reach out to?
  • 0:23:35 – How do you honor both a missionary and their sending organization when confidentiality is a concern?
  • 0:26:55 – Is there ever any backlash from refusing to share confidential information?
  • 0:28:26 – What kinds of things are possible when missionaries get the support they need during a difficult time?
  • 0:34:57 – We are only responsible to be faithful with what God has given us.
I'm doing what I do because I'm directly helping the people. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet
  • 0:37:13 – What can we do to help support healthy relationships with missionaries?
  • 0:38:00 – Healthy perspective an relationships start with honesty from the beginning.
We have to have supporters who are willing to pay, not for results, but for obedience. @_Castillofuerte Click To Tweet
  • 0:41:41 – The value of having a Christian presence in difficult countries
  • 0:44:22 – How can we talk about a God-given vision with humble honesty and deep faith?
  • 0:45:07 – One successful missionary seemed to have no fruit for nearly 30 years.
  • 0:48:41 – How does our misunderstanding of sowing and reaping play into misunderstanding what's happening when a missionary is simply being obedient?
  • 0:49:18 – The little church that was a conduit for incredible missionary support.
  • 0:52:12 – Teddybears to the rescue!
  • 0:54:47 – What is one thought you'd like to leave us thinking about in terms of supporting missionareis?
  • 0:55:08 – Everything comes back to communication.
  • 0:55:36 – Get on the phone or Skype.
  • 0:56:53 – A $3.00 per month call nearly anywhere phone option.
  • 0:58:26 – A challenge for YOU!
  • 0:59:11 – What's coming next week and welcome to Denise
  • 1:60:02 – Join me, Kent Annan, and Gena Thomas for a Twitter Chat on June 1, 2017

Become a patron!

The Engaging Missions Show is made possible, in part, by generous donations from listeners like you. If you'd like to know more about how you can be involved, visit our Patron Page.
Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Missionary, Germany

Episode Credits


If you'd have any comments or questions, you can always leave a comment in the show notes, leave a voicemail with SpeakPipe, or send an email to feedback@engagingmissions.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This