June 21, 2024
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
Missiological Issues, Resilience, Mission Leadership, Pre-field Training

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
Character, Hardship, Resilience

Suffering: God’s method of developing resilience

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience For several months now, I have been thinking about this topic of resilience in cross-cultural workers. I admit that I have been somewhat troubled by what the Scriptures tell me about God’s method of using suffering to develop resilience. As I have said in previous posts on this topic, the Scriptures do not use the word “resilience”. But the word “perseverance”1 in the Greek, “hupomone” is found repeatedly in Holy Writ. It seems to capture the idea of resilience. So what do I find troubling in Scripture? In my thinking, the logical way to strengthen a missionary’s resilience is to: provide them with good training to prepare them for hard timesensure that they have excellent member care when they go through hard times. From a human perspective, I struggle to see how suffering in any way contributes to… Read the whole post
Hardship, Christ, Resilience

The inspiration for resilience

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience This year, as I have thought about planning my growth and development, I have decided that I want to read more biographies. In his great book, Resilient Life, Gordon MacDonald says “deliberating exposing oneself to people who are better and smarter” than we are is part of the process of disciplining our minds and learning resilience. Definitely, we can find amazing and inspiring examples of perseverance and resilience in biographies such as Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Imam’s Daughter by Hannah Shah. But the greatest example of perseverance and resilience is found in the Gospels. If we are looking for heroes to emulate in the character quality of resilience, we start with Jesus. Inspiring them to persevere In a previous post, I talked about the discouragement and fatigue of the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews.… Read the whole post
Hardship, Stress Management, Resilience, Cross-Cultural Living

Resilience: the need

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience Resilience is a critical topic How do Christian global workers become resilient? This is the question that Geoff Whiteman posed to over 1000 missionaries.1 See ResilientGlobalWorker.org for information about this survey. It is a question that concerns anyone involved with member care for global workers. To illustrate, the title of Laura Mae Gardner’s highly-recommended book on member care is “Healthy, Resilient, & Effective in Cross-Cultural Ministry.” From the title itself, one can see the central and crucial role of resilience in productive mission workers. Kelly O’Donnell, CEO of Member Care Associates also highlights the importance of resilience in his book on global member care. Member care, I have learned over and over again, is not about creating a comfortable lifestyle. Nor is it about trusting people instead of trusting God. Rather, it is about further developing the resiliency… Read the whole post
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