No matter your context, to take this dimension of leadership development seriously.
A Rope Holder Team is an advocacy team formed by the missionary
William Carey famously said that he would ‘go down into the mine’ (i.e., go to India) if his close friend, Andrew Fuller, would ‘hold the rope.’ As the church, we want to support missionaries in a manner worthy of God. Having specific advocates working from a church is crucial to supporting missionaries sent out “for the sake of the Name.” 3 John 1:6-7.
Also, as the church, we desire to follow the example of the church at Phillipi by:
One meaningful way we can do this is by leading the church to be personally involved in encouraging and strengthening sent ones through ‘Rope Holder Teams.’
"After being on multiple rope holder teams, I would say the most significant benefit is watching God’s play-by-play on the move through His people at the ends of the earth. Praying through the burdens and celebrating with joy as the gospel goes forward has been a highlight of serving."
A Rope Holder Team is an advocacy team formed by the missionary in conjunction with their local church. By hand-picking a team of advocates, the church can ensure that the team consists of mature believers with a genuine and proven desire to care for the sent ones. Ideally, the group consists of tested individuals who commit to praying for, keeping up with, encouraging, and strengthening the missionaries. It’s great if the team is already in the missionaries’ life so that their relationship in the church continues as they launch out to a new geographic location. Please don’t make the team too large so that they can communicate and coordinate support together. In my experience, approximately eight committed adults work well. One of the team members acts as a coordinator to guide the team’s activity.
Our church asks that those who commit to being on a Rope Holder Team work together in: prayer, ongoing communication, and acts of service for their missionary. We also ask that Rope Holder Teams be committed to being advocates within the church on behalf of those they represent, fostering prayer and visibility of the missionary’s ministry in the body.
Example Expectations for Rope Holder Teams:
2-4 times a year
Once a term (every 3 -4 years)
Support of Gospel advance is an essential facet of any healthy church. Unity in the gospel empowers us to be good partners and live an other-centered life. May the Lord empower us to hold the rope for our brothers and sisters who take the gospel out to lost people, in spiritually impoverished areas around the globe. I hope you lead your congregation to hold the rope for those sent out for the sake of the name of Jesus. Could it be that the Lord would use your church to sustain a fragile work that, in time, plants a church that can reach out to the surrounding region?