The Missions Support ministry of the Simeon Network could facilitate implementation of mission by offering support to members in the three categories described above.
|Agency-supported overseas mission
|Independent overseas work
|Repatriating overseas work
|Maintain the academic as an 'absent' member of the network, keeping them informed of SN events in their home community, and national events.
|Provide a mentor to guide the academic as they prepare to leave, and during their assignment, in spiritual and professional development.
|Provide an accountability partner from the network (or encouraging the academic to initiate such a partnership from their own contacts in the network) to keep in touch regularly by Skype and email for academic and ministry accountability. This could be the same as the mentor mentioned above.
|Provide guidance on relevant reading material, and make such material available either through sharing free materials, loaning books and other resources, or purchasing some items as a gift.
|Provide the opportunity for those raising financial support to share their ministry and needs with network members (eg. through newsletter, Slack, at Cite or other conferences or events).
|On the field
|Make SN conference talks available to overseas members electronically.
|Make connections to enable visits by network members travelling to the area for other purposes.
|Provide support for establishing local network of Christian academics if none exists.
|Send appropriate care packages.
|Provide opportunities for sharing their experience at a Simeon Network conference or event via Skype call.
|On return or home assignment
|Provide opportunities to debrief with member(s) of the network and to share their experience at a Simeon Network conference or event (could include Skype call from the field).
|Provide practical support on re-entry such as making accommodation or transport needs known among the network in the academic's home city.
We note that, while the Simeon Network support proposed above is similar in some ways to what a ‘link church’ would do for an agency-supported missionary, the Network would not operate like a primary sending church, with the following considerations:
The missionary candidate should be encouraged to seek the endorsement of their home church as a sending church.
The Simeon Network would not be required to have a crucial relationship with the sending agency.
The Simeon Network could operate in a consulting role with the agency in terms of clarifying what academic mission might look like in that context.
The Simeon Network could operate in an endorsing role with the agency in terms of confirming the mission candidate's academic credentials and reputation, which the sending church would less likely be in a position to do.