Tuesday 30 November 2010

Member Care and Lausanne 3: Blog One

The Lausanne 3 Conference brought together some 4000 people this past October in South Africa. Here are excerpts from one of the seven MCA blogs on the Global Conversation portal at Lausanne 3.

The main item being addresed on this first blog:
How was the international field of member care
part of this amazing global gathering?
Was it present to your satisfaction? 
Yes, No or Probably?!

The providence of God has led us all into a new world
of opportunity, danger, and duty.
World Mission Conference, Edingurgh, 1910

Member care is the Biblical practice--and discipline--of supporting the diversity of workers and senders in the global mission community. Currently there are an estimated 400,000 mission workers and nearly 12 million national workers (January 2010, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Johnson et al). These figures of course do not include the millions of Christ-followers who live internationally as "tentmakers" or who relocate intentionally or unintentionally for economic, political, educational or human rights-related reasons.

Member care is a handmaiden to the mission task. It is a core part of mission strategy and includes a broad spectrum of services/resources such as cross-cultural training, coaching, health screening, team building, crisis care, marriage enrichment, consultation about member care programs and children’s issues, pastoral support, and debriefing.

Member care’s practical and at times prophetic voice rallies us all towards lovingly and skillfully caring for those who like Paul, earnestly seek to serve Christ, often in places and ways where He has not been named before. Member care has been a recognized, international, and interdisciplinary field for over 20 years. It’s emphasis on sacrificial lifestyles and supportive resources provide a Biblical and balanced approach to see our mission goals realized in this beautiful yet troubled world.

One of the most helpful articles related to Biblical foundations for member care and for member care advocacy is: Stephanas: A New Testament Example of Frontier Member Care. Check it out, free online via the link at the Member Caravan web site. Here also is the link to the special issue on member care in which the article first appeared, in the International Journal of Frontier Missions (1995). The articles are still very relevant!

And so we are wondering...how the international field of member care was present at Lausanne 3. We have not seen too much yet on the web site or in the topics. Yet we imagine that member care-related areas are being implicitly discussed in many different ways and we certainly hope that member care was also being explicitly discussed in many different ways.

Reflection and Discussion
1. Which "visible and invisible realities" do you see present in your organization or setting regarding member care?

2. How does the "Probably" video clip relate to your life and work?

3. What items in this entry can be helpful for you to discuss in your setting?

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