In honor of the International Kinus Hashluchim 5777, just a few hours away, ChabadInfo.com editorial board has compiled a few tips for yungeleit who are looking to go on Shlichus.
The model of Shlichus used to be that the Shliach serviced his community mainly through public events and then dealt privately with people, mainly for fundraising. However, in our times, this is beginning to change, even in bigger cities, since it is becoming more difficult to get people to come out to events. Surely, in small communities there needs to be a big focus on servicing individuals and families on their turf. This can be done by private classes, Mivtzah Tefillin, Shabbos and Yom Tov packages etc.
Here is a great example of this: A Jewish magazine recently wrote an article about a Shliach who spends a large amount of his time visiting people and giving them six minute classes individually. The only way to get crowds to come to your events is by building up that personal relationship.
Many, if not most Shluchim, are required to fundraise part of their budget from sources outside of their city; such as family, friends or Staam Baalei Tzedokah who generously give to worthy causes. For the small town Shliach, this is usually a necessity with no other way to survive. The small town Shliach should explain to his potential outside donor that his Shlichus would not be possible without outside donations and thus the donor is not just getting the Zchus of supporting a Shliach but is actually making the Shlichus possible, thus forming a true Yissochar Zevulan relationship.
In addition, sometimes it might be necessary for the Shliach or Shlucha to have a part time job. We are lucky that in our computer age there are more opportunities for such jobs. However, this should obviously only be done as a last resort since it will no doubt take away from their focus on Shlichus.
How to deal with loneliness?
Many Shluchim who are in small town Shlichus complain terribly about feeling loneliness. They are often far from any Frum community and since they are in a small community, their Chabad houses are not as vibrant as it would be if they were in a big community. It is most important for a new Shliach to pay attention to this issue. If a Shliach starts feeling such loneliness, it is very important that he finds a way to boost himself from time to time, such as by going away for Shabbos to a close by Frum community or to Crown Heights.
Although this can be costly, the Shliach should view this as a necessary expense. Just as if a Shliach, ch”v had some medical condition that required costly medication, there is no doubt that he would somehow find the funds for it, the same should also hold true with the obstacle of loneliness. This is something that must be taken care of for your physical well-being and in order to be able to be Matzliach on your Shlichus bisimcha uvituv leivov!
Let us conclude by reminding ourselves how the Rebbe discusses in myriads of Sichos and Igros how Shlichus is the best thing possible for a person and will benefit him in many different ways. A Shliach must always keep in mind how lucky he is to have the Zechus to be constantly attached to the Rebbe, as his Mishaleach and to be fulfilling the Rebbe’s most fervent plea. May we all be Zoche to do the Rebbe’s Shlichus and bring about the Hisgalus now!