February 26, 2024
Adult Education, Pre-field Training, Cross-Cultural Living, Spiritual Formation, Training

Why do missionaries need pre-field training?

A legitimate question When I first began leading our Member Orientation Program more than 10 years ago, I seldom, if ever, had to defend its legitimacy. All new missionaries assumed that they would need to go through the pre-field training program before leaving for their place of assignment. In fact, one of our greatest struggles was to convince new missionaries and their coaches that they should wait to enroll in Member Orientation until they had raised more of their support. The primary question was “When?”. When do I get to go to MOP? As we began conducting the training in the Philippines as well as in Michigan, a secondary question then became “Where?”. Where will I complete this training? But in more recent years, the questions have been different. Now we are dealing with the question of “Why?”. Why do I need to go through this particular pre-field training program?… Read the whole post
Lifelong Learning, Training, Coaching, Learning Attitude

Showing progress

We all want to see progress in our work. As disciples of Jesus, we long to see people’s lives change as they encounter Christ and his Word. We want to see churches planted, and then see those churches grow in size and in their impact on their community. But maybe we should be looking first of all for progress within ourselves. I have been a cross-cultural worker for more than 35 years. I believe that I have changed and grown in those three and a half decades. But do others see it as well? A few years ago a colleague told me that I led differently than I had in the past. I believe he said I had become a gentler leader. That was very encouraging for I realized that he had observed progress in me in areas that I really wanted to grow. It was also a reminder that… Read the whole post
Training, Assessment Tools, Resilience

Do we naturally look for shortcuts?

In my previous blog post, I reviewed a book that argues that there are no shortcuts in missions. Why was this book written? Because supposedly we like to find shortcuts! Those who study cultural differences tell us that Americans and Canadians have a strong short-term orientation. Americans have a reputation for their fast pace of life and desire for quick results. We see their desire for instant gratification in the prominence of American fast-food restaurants and the fact that the USA has the highest average national credit card debt in the world.1 See 30 Credit Card Debt Statistics – 2023 Update | Balancing Everything. So we should not be surprised that shortcuts to achieve mission results are a hot topic in our North American churches. At the same time, it is also not surprising that those who understand the American preference for quick results are cautioning us about adopting these… Read the whole post
Teaming, Assessment Tools, Book Reviews

What is your genius at work?

I have taken many different personality and strength assessments over the years. Myers-Briggs, Grip-Birkman, MinistryStyles, StrengthsFinder, DiSC, Enneagram, and 5 Voices are a few that stick out. Part of my motivation in taking these assessments was to evaluate their effectiveness. I wanted to see how well they helped team members understand one another better. Would they help us in our training of new cross-cultural workers? But I have to admit a big part of my motivation was just my innate curiosity to understand myself better. Shortcomings of personality assessments Each of these assessments has their strengths. I have learned something from each of them about how I am wired. They have helped me to understand the challenges I face in working with colleagues of different personalities. But none of the ones above helped me understand what specific personalities / strengths are needed on a team. How do the different personalities… Read the whole post
Training

My children chose not to believe

This blog post was originally posted on the blog “A Life Overseas“. The full title of the blog post was “I went to a foreign country to share the gospel. My children grew up and chose not to believe”. It is reposted with permission from the author who has chosen to remain anonymous to protect her family’s privacy. If you wish to reach out to her for support, please leave a reply at the bottom of this blog post. The SEND U blog editor will then connect you to the author through email. Raising up children on the mission field I never intended to be an overseas missionary. Then in 1997, I found myself living in Russia with my husband and four small children. We believed God had sent us to this place, and we had a glorious ten years of serving and ministering there. When we arrived, our children… Read the whole post
Mission Leadership, Pre-field Training, Missiological Issues, Resilience

Resilience: What part does the organization play?

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience We have been discussing the need for resilience among cross-cultural workers. In the last post, we talked about how God develops resilience through suffering. But what is the mission organization’s responsibility in supporting their workers in these times of crisis and stress? How does the organization determine its level of involvement in caring for its missionaries? These questions are not easily answered. Cross-cultural workers vary widely in their desire for and expectations of organizational involvement. Some only want their organization to provide receipts to their donors and make sure the missionary receives the support on a regular basis. Others want a full range of services, including health insurance, training, pastoral care, leadership, and supervision, conferences and retreats, risk assessments and security training, and IT support. SEND International is one mission that has sought to better determine what level… Read the whole post
Hardship, Stress Management, Prayer, Pre-field Training, God, Resilience

The source of resilience – grace

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience What is missional resilience? In a nutshell, it’s grace not grit. We must receive Jesus’ resilience to join him in his mission as we turn toward the triune God, others, and ourselves for loving support.Geoff Whiteman, Resilient Global Worker Study: Persevering with Joy, March 2021. In my previous blog post, I talked about the need for resilience in cross-cultural work and particularly now in the pandemic. I mentioned Geoff Whiteman’s research. He surveyed more than 1000 missionaries to find out what contributes to making global workers more resilient. What was his overall conclusion? It can be found in the quote above – resilience in mission work is rooted in God’s grace. In a workshop at the 2021 Missio Nexus Mission Leaders Conference, Whiteman presented various recommendations for mission organizations to support missional resilience. Based on his research, he… Read the whole post
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