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What does silence communicate to ministry partners?

Ian Hsu May 21, 2024

It is often a challenge for mission workers to communicate consistently with their ministry partners. As a result, it can be common for workers to go months between sending updates or prayer requests.

Long periods of silence always communicate something, whether intentionally or not. And because ministry partners may interpret silence differently, it’s hard to know how they perceive a lack of communication.

That said, here are some common ways that ministry partners might interpret long periods of silence from a mission worker:

1. You don’t have much ministry activity to share about.

Some ministry partners might mistakenly believe that someone isn’t communicating because they don’t have much to share. While the opposite is usually true (ministry busyness tends to crowd out communication), it’s understandable that some supporters might feel this way. If they don’t know how the Lord has been working through your ministry, they cannot understand and share in that experience with you.

2. The mission worker only cares about my financial contributions.

If you aren’t communicating regularly, then the majority of your interactions with your ministry partners might include solicitations for support. While it’s healthy and good to share your financial needs, if you don’t communicate outside of those times, your partners may think that you’re only interested in their giving.

3. You don’t value their prayer support.

Our research shows that ministry partners value prayer requests over any other type of information. If they don’t hear from you, they may believe that you do not prioritize their prayer and intercession for you.

There’s hope…

If it’s been a while since your last communication, don’t worry. God is gracious, and you have a perfect opportunity to communicate right now.

You might feel like a lot has happened since you last reached out. However, our research shows that ministry partners have a strong preference for receiving a single prayer request in real-time rather than long, detailed lists of ministry accomplishments. Keeping it short reduces the burden of communicating regularly, and it serves your partners by helping them focus on prayer.

If this article resonates with you, please know that we are praying for the Lord to bless you as you take concrete steps to communicate faithfully about your life and ministry. May the Lord be glorified as your friends, family, and supporters hear from and pray for you!

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