Communicating Well with your Partners
By Beth Gehman
I’ve been on both sides of this partnership; the on-field missionary and the stateside supporter of missionaries. As the times have changed, the methods or tools of communication have also changed-from blue aero-grams and expensive phone calls to emails, Facebook videos, and what’s app phone calls. But what hasn’t changed is the heart of the missionary. A heart of humility, vision, gratefulness, integrity, loyalty, determination, and a selfless willing servant. It’s that heart that we want to try to communicate with our partners.
The most common way missionaries communicate with their partners is by sending a newsletter once a month. Being one of the proofreaders at the Globe office I have the honor of reading every single word in each missionary newsletter. So here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Telling a story is a great way to communicate! Telling too long of a story, not so great.
- Express gratefulness for your partners
- Pictures are always helpful, if they are not too dark- not too little (a nice size picture is better than several tiny pictures) and if they enhance what you have written about.
- Monthly or at the very least every other month you should write a newsletter.
- Talk about what you have been doing and share your vision. No one (except your mother) wants to support someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or how to do it. Share your prayer needs, a praise report, and opportunities for your supporters to get involved.
- Always be sincere, be honest, if you are in a bad or down mood when you write always wait a day, and then rewrite. Everybody has bad days but in a newsletter it makes the whole month sound bad.
You can never say “THANK YOU” too much. As a supporter of missionaries, I appreciate a thank you email or card once in a while. It doesn’t need to be long just a quick note is good. I supported missionaries for several years that I never heard from personally and they did not even write newsletters regularly, even when they came home there was no acknowledgment of our partnership. I was never mad at them, I just always hoped that they were more thoughtful of their partners.
Phone calls, face time, and What’s App are great, and emails are effective, but not every partner wants or expects the same touch. As Mohamad Ali said, “Different strokes, for different folks.”
Remember, God has called you to GO! But, He has also called others to SEND you! By communicating with them regularly – and personally – you honor God’s calling in their life and show your gratitude for their partnership with you as you obey the Great Commission.