Your call to cross-cultural service was very personal. God spoke to you in a way that enabled you to confidently step forward in obedience. He has a purpose for you in the work of the Kingdom, and he’s equipped you to fulfill his will in reaching the nations. He called—you answered.
Your call, however unique, is not done in isolation.
As part of the Body of Christ, I trust you found confirmation in your decision to serve. That’s what the Body of Christ is for. We are equipped within the church, we are built up by the church, and we are sent from the church. Now that you are prepared to move out, the church continues to play a role in your future work in the harvest field.
Many times, cross-cultural service is short-lived due to an inability to engage with others for support and encouragement. No man is an island in cross-cultural service, and now more than ever, we need to be aware of those who will serve on our “home” and “away” teams.
As I wrote Not in Kansas Anymore: Finding Home in Cross-Cultural Service, I spent a lot of time on the chapter entitled, “Recognizing the Roles of Others in Your Life.” An isolationist attitude in ministry is a quick road to burnout, and it’s great if you can recognize this before you set out in ministry. However, even if you’ve been on the field for months or years, it’s not too late to take a step back and ponder this subject for your own personal and spiritual wellness.
Those in your home team are role models (living and deceased) who have served to hold up a standard in service for Christ. It’s always good to acknowledge that in others before it’s too late. Keep their example before you. The home team is also made up of those who are your accountability partners, prayer warriors, and newsletter readers. Each has a different role, but they are important to recognize and engage.
Not only do you have a team on your side “back home” but you have a new team who wants to be on your side in your new place of service. This is your “away” team, and it’s made up of your local team members, veteran workers, and national believers. There are different ways these groups can impact your life and ministry, and the more you get to know them, pray for them, and serve alongside them, the more you’ll feel at home and gain longevity in service.
We all need family in service, and these in the larger Body of Christ, near and far, are your family and support system for an effective life in ministry. Don’t go it alone. Seek them out and get their support—You need it!
Grace and Peace