Presentation on theme: "Church-based Member Care for Missionaries Presented by Celia Munson Virginia Baptist Mission Board Bukal Life Ministries."— Presentation transcript:
Church-based Member Care for Missionaries Presented by Celia Munson Virginia Baptist Mission Board Bukal Life Ministries
Consider the Rope as a Symbol of Member Care 1. The rope can either represent the connection between the missionary and his/her support network. OR 2. The rope can represent the coming together of such support.
Rope. Option #1 A little band of Baptist pastors including William Carey had formed the Baptist Missionary Society on October 2, 1792. Fuller, more than anyone else, felt the burden of what it meant that William Carey and John Thomas (and later others) left everything for India in dependence, under God, on this band of brothers. One of them, John Ryland, recorded the story where the famous “rope holder” image came from. He wrote that Carey said,
Rope. Option #1 “Our undertaking to India really appeared to me, on its commencement, to be somewhat like a few men, who were deliberating about the importance of penetrating into a deep mine, which had never before been explored, we had no one to guide us; and while we were thus deliberating, Carey, as it were, said “Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” But before he went down... he, as it seemed to me, took an oath from each of us, at the mouth of the pit, to this effect—that “while we lived, we should never let go of the rope.”
Rope Option #2 Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Missionary (Goer) is simply one part of a Missions “Web”
Senders are churches and mission agencies that are able to send out the Goers. Mobilizers develop teams and structures that allow Goers to minister. Welcomers are local hosts who help the Goer. Goers are what we tend to call missionaries, but all four groups are involved in missions
Clearly the Role of Church in Sender Care is Important. But how? The church could care for a missionary as if caring for a little child. Coddling and protecting. The church could care for a missionary as a stern disciplinarian. (“Missionaries are supposed to suffer… get over it.”) Some churches use a method not on the diagram… ignore. Jesus avoided all extremes. He comforted and challenged. These are aspects of love.
So How Can Churches Care for Missionaries? Two Sources: “Doing Member Care Well: Perspectives and Practices from Around the World.” Edited by Kelly O’Donnell, 2002. "The Long-term Impact of Short-term Missions on the Beliefs,Attitudes and Behaviours of Young Adults.“ Dissertation by Randall Gary Friesen, 2004.
Challenges to Asian Missionaries 1. Asian Churches and Agencies tend not to emphasize member care. Afraid that… -too much care will “spoil” missionaries. -it might make missionaries less resilient. -it is not consistent with a self-sacrificial calling.
Challenges to Asian Missionaries 2. Asian Missionaries often afraid to ask for needed care. Afraid they… -will be branded “not self-sacrificial in their ministry.” Or Worse… -will be branded “not fit to be on the mission field.”
Challenges to Asian Missionaries 3. Genuine Problems of Financial Need. -Many churches feel they cannot financially support missionaries. -Some churches are hesitant to support missionaries working with parachurch organizations. -Many missionaries hesitant to ask for needed support.
Challenges to Asian Missionaries 4. Family Issues -Single missionaries struggle, because in many cultures, people are not considered adult until they are married. -Have commitments to family, especially parents. -Need to educate children. Difficult set of choices. -Lack of opportunity for vacation or home leave.
Challenges to Asian Missionaries 5. Lack of Training -Many missionaries lack time or money for personal/professional/ministerial development. -Many sending churches do not see the need.
Local Church and Member Care for STMers (Pre-) Local Churches need to embrace their role of discerning suitable candidates for STM. Have training and support team for STM candidates. Consider having a “life coach” for STMers with a discipleship contract between the STMer and the life coach.
Local Church and Member Care for STMers (Post-) Follow-up defusing. Counseling on experiences from the STM trip. Help with follow-up roles in church, ministry, future missions.
Notes: Member Care for STMers The more involved the local church is perceived by the STMer to be in the mission, the more likely he/she will gain positively from the mission experience. Local churches tend to assume that it is the job of mission agencies to defuse and do follow- up on STMers. Mission agencies tend to assume it is the job of local churches.
What is the bomb in the suitcase? This symbol represents unresolved problems in the life of a missionary that, while may be under control at home, can EXPLODE!! on the Mission field.
Why does it explode? Culture shock may add new stresses to the missionary that disturbs normal coping mechanisms. The network of societal and social inhibitors of bad behavior are removed. Different cultural norms may tolerate or even promote behavior that the missionary has problems with. The missionary may have trouble working with limited oversight.
What are some areas where this can occur? Anger. New stresses may lead to problems controlling emotions. Laziness or greed. Lack of local oversight may lead to giving in to misuse of time and material resources. Sexual. Lack of accountability partners or a church family may lead to sexual misconduct. Power. Those who are prone to want to control others can have problems when there is not an enforced organizational system or set of policies to give limits. Others: such as addictions or legalism
How to defuse the bomb? Member care is vital in this… Pre-Screening and evaluation from others. Self-evaluation (formal and informal) Close relationship with God Accountability network and structure Periodic internal and external assessments Ethical boundaries (set personal standards of conduct higher than the boundary of “sin/not sin”.)
Areas to Think About 1. Financial. What is the local church’s role in the financial well-being of its missionaries? -direct support? -logistical support? -ambassador support? -emergent support?
Areas to Think About 2. Emotional. What is the local church’s role in the emotional well-being of its missionaries? -communication? -R&R? -counseling?
Areas to Think About 3. Spiritual. What is the local church’s role in the spiritual well-being of its missionaries? -discipleship? -accountability? -pastoral care?
Areas to Think About 4. Professional/Ministerial. What is the local church’s role in the ministerial well-being of its missionaries? -assessment/commissioning? -training? -furlough?
Areas to Think About 5. Other. What can the local church do to help with problems that are unique to the missionary. -Responsibilities to care for aged relatives? -Professional changes (job or location) -Health concerns, depression, etc. -Education of children