The Church, Missions & Technology

Physical Touch

This week we wrap up our series of loving missionaries through Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. This weeks love language can get a little complicated for churches loving missionaries but stay with me until the end for some practical and appropriate helps for loving missionaries through Physical Touch as they serve Christ.

Physical Touch crosses almost every culture. As Dr. Chapman explains a hand shake in one country is the same as an embrace and kiss on the cheek in another country but both are forms of introductory greeting. As churches struggle to find ways to love and serve missionaries it is important that we learn the love languages of our missionaries. It is equally important that we make sure that if the love language requires, that we go and be with the missionaries where they serve. Physical Touch is one love language that you cannot do through skype or over the phone.

Ask questions about Physical Touch in their culture. Ask about gender appropriate greetings and if they like, or dislike the physical nature of that culture. In the Middle East men and women who are not family do not touch. There is almost no physical contact. This single female whose secondary love language was physical touch returned to the states longing to be hugged by friends and family. I truly feel that there is a place for non-romantic physical touch for friends and family. If we send missionaries out of our churches then we must.

Another vital aspect about loving missionaries through the 5 love languages is in moments of crisis. Most missionaries will go through two or more crises in their first term of service. Each crisis can vary depending on the person. A great example I use for this comes from my doctoral work. I was taking a seminar on “Ministering To People In Crisis”. Each student needed to give an hour presentation of a crisis event that had to be approved by the professor. So as I met with my professor I asked in her opinion what she would consider a crisis event for a missionary. She said, “Well I guess if a missionary landed in their country and there was no one there to pick them up that would be a crisis event”. I choose a presentation on missionaries who are denied entry to their country of service. No matter the crisis missionaries need support. Please hear me out, it is very important that you get this. Do NOT count on the mission sending agency to care for them. It is not the job of the mission agency to care for the missionaries, it is the job of the local church. So if your missionaries are going through times of crisis you need to be there with them. To hold them, to hug them and tell them it will be ok. This love through physical touch will help them get through the crisis and start healing.

In this last post about loving missionaries through the 5 love languages let me encourage you to get on a plane and go see your missionaries where they are. This allows the local church to love on missionaries in the love language that they need.

If you have any questions or would love to know more about loving and caring for missionaries please don’t hesitate to let me know. I would love to help.

Things you can do…
Today: Call a missionary you know and tell them you cannot wait to see them again in order to hug them and tell them they are loved.
This Week: Get a group of people together and start planning your first, or next trip to visit with missionaries from your church.
This Month: Make sure you know the love language of each of the missionaries connected to your church. Start making a plan to love each missionaries in their own unique way.

Loving Missionaries

Everyone talks about how much they love and appreciate those that have been sent out of the local church to the nations. However, most missionaries that I talk to do not experience this love and appreciation on a regular basis. It got me thinking about how we can love missionaries in ways that are biblical and practical at the same time.

Taking my notes from Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, who knows a little about love and demonstrating that love in practical ways will help us in our conversation. We will look at how the church can love on missionaries through the five love languages in order to make sure that missionaries are loved and cared for by the local church.

If you do not know a missionary to love on, please let me know and I will get you in contact with one who needs a little extra love from a church seeking to be a great partner in the Kingdom.

I pray that you will take these thoughts and suggestions and apply them to missionaries you support. Remember missionaries desire relationship and community from supporting churches and I pray this will encourage you to continue to support these people who go to extreme lengths to share the gospel with people groups who have never heard the name of Jesus.