The 2000s were characterized by the accelerated expansion of the member care field. It was amazing!
Regional and national affiliations and networks formed or were strengthened. The Global Member Care Resources group (MemCa) become a major recognized presence in the member care field, providing a practical rallying point to help connect people together (consultations, quarterly updates, web-based resources).
Member care-related departments/emphases within sending groups became much more common. The term “best practice” was linked with an international member care model (five spheres of care) and this influential model circulated broadly (in Doing Member Care Well, 2002). Many new practitioners emerged, including those who were now writing in their own languages/cultural contexts.
Many more books were written. Materials were translated. Organizations and people put up web sites filled with helpful resources mostly in English but also in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, etc.
There was an intentional effort to launch into new areas and learn from them. Such areas included international health care, the perspectives of local workers/newer sending countries, applications from personnel programs in the military, trauma care, human resource management, etc. (Doing Member Care Well, 2002, p. 3).
In the midst of this decade's incredible development, unresolved relationship issues and protracted serious dysfunction took their toll in a few influential places. Member care continued onward nonetheless as it was now so widespread and not dependent on one country, discipline, group, or organization for its continuance.
In short, member care became even more firmly established as it expanded. It consolidated and it grew globally. It was indeed characterized by many global faces and facets.
*****The 10 quotes below are just a sampling from some of the many excellent materials from this decade. There are different regional/national emphases in the quotes and over ten passport countries represented among the authors.
2000: B. Kumar
Member Care Handbook: A Guide to Caring for Our Missionaries
As we enter into the new millennium, the call and challenge to the Church to fulfil her missionary obligation is louder than ever. The Church of developing nations ,who for a long time has served only as a backdrop to the strong sending churches of the developing nations, is beginning to move to the forefront of missions…Much of the emphasis of this book is on “responsible sending”, the failure of which, we feel, is the greatest cause of missionary failure (attrition)…The primary target readership for this handbook are pastors, mission leaders, missionaries, and missionaries-to-be in MALAYSIA. However, the principles and problems discussed here would apply for most “new sending countries of the two-thirds world”…. “let the shipwreck of others be our beacon of light.” (pp. 16-17)
2001: Joi Van Deventer
Caring for Hungarians
Caring for the Harvest Force in the New Millennium (pp. 181-198)
During the past ten years of freedom, most states in Central and Eastern Europe have graciously received volumes of literature and “how-to” programs from many Western Christian brothers and sisters….During these ten years, while living in Budapest, Hungary, I have been involved in designing training materials for a variety of ministry efforts….The obvious need for a new approach in curriculum design compelled me to investigate tenets of cross-cultural education. This led me to examine the complex relationship between educational materials and the entire education process, which can be said to ‘contain’ the “hidden curriculum”—the methods, models, roles, expectations, values, content, and context—of the setting….I want to focus on four specific vehicles [to get learners involved in various types of corporate and self learning]: narrative, modelling, mentoring, and promoting community in the classroom. (pp. 182, 183, 193)
2002: Marina Prins and Braam Willemse
Member Care for Missionaries: A Practical Guide for Senders
It is thrilling to see so many churches becoming involved in the sending of workers—either to render service in communities where there I a need, or as fellow workers and supporters to other churches I target areas, or to reach out as missionaries to less reached areas or groups. Today hundreds of South Africans are being sent and supported in this way by their churches. When however it comes to the sending and the support, problems frequently arise. The whole process requires a church’s sustained involvement. This includes the individual sense of call, the confirmation of that call by the church, the screening, preparation and orientation, the choice of a target area and/or church partner, to the sending by the church and its continuous support and involvement and finally ,the return of the person who has been sent. It is saddening to meet people who were sent by a church without having first gone through a process of screening and preparation—even worse when it becomes apparent that we do not have the right person In the right place….On the other hand. It is wonderful when churches are actively and responsibly involved from the outset and continue to be involved with the people they have sent out. (p. viii, from the Foreword by Martin Pauw)
2003: John Fawcett
Stress and Trauma handbook: Strategies for Flourishing in Demanding Environments
…the most stressful events in humanitarian work have to do with the organisational culture, management style and operational objectives of an NGO or agency rather than external security risks or poor environmental factors. Aid workers, basically, have a pretty shrewd idea what they are getting into when they enter this career, and dirty clothes, gunshots at night and lack of electricity do not surprise them. Intra-and inter-agency politics, inconsistent management styles, lack of team work and unclear or conflicting organizational objectives, however, combine to create a background of chronic stress and pressure that over time wears people down and can lead to burnout and even physical collapse. (p. 6).
2004: Leslie A. Andrews
The Family in Mission: Understanding and Caring for Those Who Serve
The Family in Mission: Understanding and Caring for Those Who Serve
[This edited book] addresses two major questions—what we know about missionaries and their families’ ways of being and functioning and, based upon that knowledge, how we can best care for families while they are serving Christ in cross-cultural settings. The Missionary Family is a collection of essays based on collaboration between researchers and practitioners who reflect on implications of findings of three major studies conducted over a period of fifteen years. The Boarding School Study (BSS) examined roles of the boarding school administrator and teacher and boarding home parent in an effort to understand the qualities an best practices of those who care for the children of missionaries. The Adult Missionary Kid Study (AMKS) sought to understand the impact of the third culture experience upon MKS ads adults, including their well-being and life satisfaction. The Missionary Family Study (MFS) explored family dynamics between parents and children and searched for relationships that help to explain the observed patterns….At the center of MK-CART/CORE[the research] were six professionals, who, in addition to their personal ministries, serve serve the worldwide missions community in a variety of ways, including consultation, education, member care, and research: Nancy Duvall, Dave Pollock, John Powell, Phil Renicks, Glenn Taylor, and Dave Wickstrom. (p. xvii)
2005: Margaret Hill, Harriet Hill, Richard Baggé, Pat Miersma
Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help (2004, first reprint 2005)
In many parts of the world today, wars, ethnic conflict and civil disturbances, crime and natural disasters have left people traumatised. Often those traumatised are Christians, and the church has a clear responsibility to care for them. Beyond the church, Christians are to be light and salt to the world. This is particularly important in times of conflict and suffering. The Scriptures are included throughout this book because it is the knowledge of God, his character, and his relationship to people that are foundational for healing….This book seeks to help church leaders who are called upon to help members of their congregations after major trauma has occurred…These things can happen to whole communities, to families, or to individuals….The intention of the authors of this book is that it be translated into the language of the people where it is used[primarily in Africa], and that the Scriptures in the local language be used. (p. 7)
Gladys Mwiti and Al Dueck
Christian Counselling: An African Indigenous Perspective
Africa hobbled into the twenty-first century covered with wounds from genocide in Rwanda, war in Sierra Leon, and ethnic cleansing in Darfur. HIV and AIDS kill even more people than war. The year 2001 began with 24 million Africans infected with AIDS—who will all die by 2010 unless a cure is found. IN some countries, life expectancy will decrease by half by the year 2010….Chains of corruption mark many governments in Africa, as well as heavy burdens of national debt….Africans are blessed with many gifts, including the sense of peoplehood, an abundance of natural resources, deep faith, a love of education, and concern and care for the family. Africans pride themselves on the presence of a strong community element…Despite the challenges described above, there are new signs of hope…whereas Africa has been raped repeatedly and is still being ravaged by external forces, there still remains a resiliency that can serve to rebuild what was broken….Discerning alternatives; rediscovering meaningful symbols, proverbs, rituals, and myths; reclaiming the lost; and legitimizing Africa experience through Christian faith—these are the tools with which we can rebuild and reclaim. These are the vitalities still alive in Africa waiting to be reclaimed so that after remembering the broken, African vitality can be restored. Christian counsellors within the Church in Africa will play a significant role in filling the vacuum and bringing restoring life to the peoples and families of Africa. (pp. 13, 17, 18, 19)
2007: Rob Hay, Valerie Lim, Detlef Blöcher, Jaap Ketelaar, Sarah Hay
Worth Keeping: Global Perspectives on Best Practice in Missionary Retention
The mission movement from Latin America (which includes Costa Rica) is a relatively young force. The first missionaries sent from Costa Rica were sent out about 25 years ago. Much was learned by trial and error. Two key events prompted one Costa Rican mission agency to0 begin a programme of pastoral care. The first event involved a missionary couple and domestic violence. The couple returned home from the field, but the problem did not get solved until the wife turned to a government agency ,where she was able to receive counselling and protection for herself and the children….The second event involved a couple sent out from one of the mega-churches. IN time, the family returned to Coast Rica due to health problems, but hey found no support from their sending church because few members knew who they were. The above mentioned events were catalysts for a new pastoral care project that includes: Preventive care (pre-field interviews and counselling); Corrective care (a mission centre that will provide housing for missionaries on furlough with counselling and medical treatment as required); Active care (pastoral visits on the field and follow-up); Re-entry care to help missionaries returning from the field with adjustment to their home culture. (Pastoral Care to Costa Rican Missionaries, brief case study by Marcos Padgett, p. 158)
2008: Bennet Emmanuel
Missionary Upholders Trust (MUT)
Christian Manager, July 2008, (pp.16-23—for the full article: http://www.cimindia.in/)
Shamala and Livingstone (names changed) are dedicated missionaries, serving God faithfully in Orissa through a mission agency. Tragedy struck when Shamala was detected with breast cancer and the malignancy forced her to undergo surgery. The chemotherapy took a severe toll on her…To make matters worse, the steady increase in the medical expenses had put the family under tremendous strain, pain and misery…Completely left in the lurch, they had to fend for themselves. Until MUT stepped in. A story such as this is commonplace among missionaries who serve through mission agencies and work oftentimes in far flung and inhospitable terrains. An estimated 40,000 missionaries and their family members operate under the umbrella of different mission organisations in India. The sheer number of missionaries and the magnitude of needs in mission organisations have unwittingly created a gap in the care of its members. Some missionaries are fortunate enough to be taken care by the organisations or other sources, but most of them do not have any form of support. With their measly resources, most missionaries are unprepared to meet any eventuality in the course of their daily lives. Barring few exceptions, missionaries have had to fend for themselves in other areas of need. This prompted the birth of Missionary Upholders Trust. Missionary Upholders Trust (MUT) was formed in 1993 as an off-shoot from Missionary Upholders family (MUF). Leaving behind his career in the corporate world, J.J. Ratnakumar, MUT’s General Coordinator, volunteered along with his wife, as full time honourary workers of MUT. Ratnakumar has provided the leadership impetus for the movement since MUT’s inception. The organisation’s vision statement reads: “As followers of Christ, we care for, share with, and meet some of the common unmet needs of missionaries, at their affordable cost, working beyond all man-made boundaries, in a spirit of Christian love.” (p.16)
2009: Kelly O'Donnell
Staying Healthy in Difficult Places: Member Care for Mission/Aid Workers
Paper/presentation at the annual Integration Seminar, Fuller School of Psychology, USA
Over the last 20 years, a special ministry within the Christian mission/aid sector, really a movement, has developed around the world that is called member care. At the core of member care is a commitment to provide ongoing, supportive resources to further develop mission/aid personnel. Currently there are an estimated 458,000 full-time “foreign missionaries” and over 11.8 million national Christian workers from all denominations (Barrett, Johnson, and Crossing, 2008—note the 2010 estimate by these researchers is 400,000). These figures do not reflect the number of Christians involved in the overlapping area of humanitarian aid, nor do they reflect the unknown number of “tentmakers” or Christians who intentionally work in different countries while also sharing their faith. Sending organizations and churches, colleagues and friends, specialist providers, and also locals who are befriended are key sources of such care. The development of member care is reflected in the many conferences and special training symposia that have taken place. Such events have been occurring in the USA for 30+ years, gaining major momentum in the 1990’s and beyond. Similar events have also occurred over the last 15 years in countries like India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Korea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Cyprus, Germany, The Netherlands, Brazil, El Salvador, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Member care has truly become international, is increasingly mainstreamed into the ethos of sending groups, and is considered to be a central part of mission/aid strategy. (p.2)
What a very special time as the member care field grew broadly
and consolidated further around the globe.
Enjoy the video.