Illustrations representing the four gospels.
Book of Kells, Ireland circa 800AD
It is encouraging to recall the flow of many folks with member care responsibility who have worked together over the years to help truly make a difference in the lives of mission/aid workers and the people whom they serve. Our next decade will hopefully continue this flow.
Member care work is filled with many opportunities to support the dedicated workers who serve in very challenging places. To do our work well we need to diligently continue in our own journeys of personal and professional growth. We must be “good practitioners” who develop character (resilient virtue), competency (relevant skills) along with compassion (resonant love). We must be willing to face the journeys that God allows in our life, journeys that call us to cross new borders:
• crossing domains
(e.g., health care, humanitarian assistance)
• crossing disciplines
(e.g., human resource management, organizational management)
• crossing deserts
(e.g., internal challenges of faith in the context of external stressors).
As good practitioners, we must not shirk from our duty to sojourn into difficult settings, including places permeated by conflict and calamity. We must acknowledge that those in greatest need are often in places with greatest risk. And we must have clear ethical commitments that will propel us towards doing good and providing quality services to the diversity of workers and senders in mission/aid.
This next decade is a special opportunity to continue to “to grow deeply as we go broadly.” Take advantage of the many opportunities and resources. Do new things as you provelop member care (provide and develop!) Risk as necessary and sacrifice. Stay refreshed and support one another as we flow further into what the Lord of history has for us.
Finally, we believe we must be committed to develop quality member care workers from all ethnê: those who can work within their own cultures and cross-culturally. Member care is based upon the trans-ethnê, New Testament practice of fervently loving one another—agape. Our love is the ultimate measure of our member care.
What an amazing flow of international witnesses-practitioners
who have worked over the past four+ decades in member care.
May we flow forward together as we head into this next decade.
May we diligently love truth and peace--and people.
May we intentionally grow deeply and go broadly.
May we resolutely be willing to sacrifice and risk
on behalf of:
the mission/aid community
our very needy world
and each another.
Zech. 8:16, 19
Enjoy the video.
Note: For more information and perspectives on member care history, see these five articles: “Some Historical Notes on Member Care” by Ruth Tucker and Leslie Andrews in Missionary Care (1992); The Annual Conference on Mental Health and Missions: A Brief History” by John Powell and David Wickstrom, and “Missionary Care and Counseling: A Brief History and Challenge” by Laura Mae Gardner in Enhancing Missionary Vitality (2002); and "Staying Healthy in Difficult Places" (2009, part one includes six pages on member care history) and "50+ Books for a Member Care Library" by Kelly O'Donnell.