“Communication could be critical.”
Depending on the field location, communication could be critical. If you serve in an environment that is perilous, your loved ones may need reassuring when you can get word out. Donors NEED your feedback and updates to feel connected to your ministry and to pray and continue support for a cause they feel interested in. It is a disservice to those giving to neglect their donations and their willing heart in joining you in the work. You should view them as partners and connect as much as possible.
You will appreciate the encouragement and the prayers from back home. I am in a simple ministry of church planting and disciple making, and daily answer emails and send pictures of projects in progress and prayer requests. My donors and my family are my partners in ministry. They appreciate the inclusion, and it helps even the most apprehensive loved one to know as much as you can share about what is going on.
I recommend, depending on your donor base, spending up to 15% of your time staying connected.
Answer from Glenn in Tanzania who has served with Kingdom Driven Ministries in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda for four years.
“You have teammates far away!”
When you think of communication with the “folks at home,” think of them as members of your team. They are supporting you with finances, prayer, notes, encouragement, and gifts. They are part of your team. They deserve good communication on a regular basis, and they need to know what you are doing to stay involved.
Years ago I did an analysis within our organization of communication vs. support level. There was a direct correlation. Good communicators held their support and poor communicators’ support dropped over time.
That said, there is a danger in being so consumed with “those folks at home” that you are not engaged with the world right in front of you.
I suggest that you set aside a time each week when you post pictures, send notes, answer email and notes rather than constantly being on your phone or electronic device to communicate. You need to dig deep in the world where you are, and your electronic devices can keep you apart, living in a cyber world, not all there in the here and now.
There’s a balance. You HAVE to communicate. You have to engage culture and people and your neighborhood. The balance is yours, but you are in your ministry to minister most of the time, and report enough to keep your distant friends engaged with your ministry.
Answer from Elizabeth in Michigan, who has served in multiple countries for more than thirty years with SEND International.