by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
An update of missionary care resources online.
A wealth of excellent missionary care resources have appeared on the web since we first wrote about the topic in our January 2001 “Missions on the Web” article. So we thought you might appreciate an update. The websites we refer you to in this article describe member care resources, offer valuable resources online, and/or link to other member care sites. You will notice some redundancy in referring to ministries here as, for instance, a member care organization might offer valuable articles, a bibliography, and a page of links on its website. Please note that this article does not cover the online resources available for ministry to Missionary Kids; for information on these, please see the MK page on MisLinks (www.mislinks.org/practical/mk.htm)1. As you read, we encourage you to point your browser to our accompanying MisLinks page of links (www.mislinks.org/practical/membcare.htm) for direct access to the sites mentioned below and others.
We begin by highlighting a number of key sites that are dedicated to providing missionary care and/or offer substantial member care resources online.
Global Member Care Resources (www.membercare.org) was developed by the WEA Mission Commission’s Member Care task force (MemCa), but has not been actively maintained since 2006. It contains quality materials that inform and equip those engaged in member care, including a compendium of conference resources and book reviews of relevant works. Here you also find:
• the extensive Global Member Care Resource List by Harry Hoffmann and Kelly O’Donnell www.membercare.org/images/organizations/listnov05.pdf describing two hundred service agencies involved in the care and development of mission personnel;
• the annotated bibliography of member care literature from Kelly O’Donnell’s 2002 book Doing Member Care Well (www.membercare.org/images/booksandpubs%5C50MCarticles.pdf); and
• 50+ Suggestions for a Member Care Library (www.membercare.org/images/booksandpubs%5C50mcbookscounsellingaid.pdf).
Global Member Care Network (www.globalmembercare.com), the new WEA Mission Commission-related site, seeks to identify and address global member care needs and facilitate the development, coordination, and delivery of resources. The network is developing a Global Member Care Directory of qualified service providers around the world.
Missionary Care: Resources for Missions and Mental Health (www.missionarycare.com) is a ministry of Dr. Ron and Bonnie Koteskey. The site offers:
• Missionary care brochures (practical information related to mental health topics) in three sets of titles: “What Missionaries Ought to Know About…,” “Stewardship of Self,” and “Missionary Marriage Issues” (www.missionarycare.com/brochures.htm);
• E-books for download (http://www.missionarycare.com/ebook.htm);
• Missionary care database (www.missionarycare.com/database.htm), an annotated bibliography of nearly nine hundred books and articles; and
• a page of web links to other member care providers and resources (http://www.missionarycare.com/links.htm).
The Koteskeys run a parallel site, Mental Health Resources for Cross Cultural Workers (www.crossculturalworkers.com), which contains much of the same content, but avoids use of the term “missionary.”
Missionary Outreach Support Services (http://missionaryoutreach.net), a ministry of the School of Psychology and Counseling of Regent University (Virginia Beach), is focused on “meeting the mental health needs of all those persons engaged in missionary work throughout the world.” It provides three services: confidential email consultation, a member library (http://missionaryoutreach.net/?page_id=25) where people can upload and download relevant documents, and a Referral Wiki (http://missionaryoutreach.net/?page_id=35) to enter and find information on Christian and missionary healthcare providers.
Headington Institute (http://www.headington-institute.org), led by Dr. James Guy, former dean of Fuller Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology, “provides psychological and spiritual support to relief and development workers worldwide,” with an emphasis on dealing with traumatic stress. The Learning Center (www.headington-institute.org/Default.aspx?tabid=2339) provides valuable online resources on psychological and spiritual support, including training modules, e-learning courses, research reports, assessment tools, and handbooks. Also see the annotated bibliography on managing stress (www.headington-institute.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1326).
Missions Resource Network (www.mrnet.org), established by church leaders from Churches of Christ, has a section devoted to nurturing missionaries, including information about assessment instruments and workshops (http://mrnet.org/AboutMRN/Nurturing_Missionaries). Its library (http://mrnet.org/Resources/Resources_Index.asp) includes valuable PDF articles and bibliographies in the Missionary Life and Work section and the Missionary Care section.
Member Care Radio (MemCare By Radio; http://membercareradio.com) broadcasts a daily radio program for Christian workers, NGO staff, and business people to encourage them and lead to greater ministry effectiveness. The programs feature devotionals from scripture, women’s programs, counsel from member care professionals, discussion of educational issues, family concerns, interviews, stories, and music. You can listen to the daily radio programs and to previous days’ topics, each with accompanying transcripts.
Ethne to Ethne has a member care section (www.ethne.net/index.cfm?&menuid=14) offering checklists and assessment tools for member care workers to assess stress, burnout, work-life balance, and life in cross-cultural contexts. The site also provides core documents from the Ethne 06 conference and a monthly downloadable Member Care Update.
Women of the Harvest (www.womenoftheharvest.com) is “a ministry dedicated to serving and encouraging women in cross-cultural service.” It offers an online quarterly newsletter, bi-monthly magazine, and weekly Bible study. In addition, the website provides information about retreats and other resources; you will need to register online to access this information.
Similarly, Peter’s Wife (www.peterswife.org) provides “help and encouragement for women living cross culturally,” thus enabling them to connect with one another. The site offers an archive of newsletters on a wide array of relevant topics, along with comments from readers.
Books and Articles
The web is a great place to find and read recent publications on member care topics. Network for Strategic Missions provides direct access to the full text of ninety-nine articles on the topic of member care (www.strategicnetwork.org/index.php?loc=kb&view=b&fto=1150&&sf=Y). Many of the articles contain premium content which requires a $20 per year subscription fee.
The WEA Library of Resources and Publications (www.wearesources.org/publications.aspx) offers a variety of quality articles, many of them growing out of the WEA Mission Commission-led research work on Reducing Missionary Attrition Project (ReMAP) and the follow-up study on missionary retention (ReMAPII). Click on “missions” in the left-hand menu to access relevant, free, PDF-formatted books and articles, including:
• Too Valuable to Lose: Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition (Willam D. Taylor, 1997, William Carey Library, 398 pages) is based on the Mission Commission’s 1994-1997 study on missionary attrition. It includes a “summary report on the study and a systematic treatment of mission sending and supervising structures in relation to attrition. Authors from around the world discuss how to prevent attrition from their cultural perspective.”
• Doing Member Care Well: Perspectives and Practices from around the World (Kelly O’Donnell, ed., 2002, William Carey Library, 576 pages) was written by a variety of authors and covers a wide range of topics. “This is an extensive resource, especially developed to address member care issues of the mission community from different cultures.”
• The February 2004 issue of the Mission Commission’s journal Connections is titled “Member Care…From Recruitment to Retirement.”
• The June 2004 issue of Connections, titled “ReMAP II—Long-term Retention of Mission Personnel,” presents a summary of results from the major study of retention conducted by the Mission Commission.
• The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s 8-page “Code of Best Practice in Member Care” by Laurel McAllister was “designed as a benchmark document to guide the policies and practice of organizations regarding the care and development of cross-cultural Christian workers.”
• Various other articles on missionary retention, such as “Good Agency Practices: Lessons from ReMAP II” by Detlef Blocher, and Jim Van Meter’s “Five Strategic Suggestions for Increasing Retention” and “Ideas for Increasing Missionary Retention within your Organization,” can also be downloaded.
Evangelical Missions Quarterly (www.emqonline.com) can be searched online for relevant articles from past issues. Searching for “member care” (without quotes) in the KeyWords box returns nearly fifty articles. Browse through the January 2001 edition of the journal, entitled “Touring the Terrain of Missionary Care.” You will need a subscription to read these articles: $10.00 per year for EMQ print subscribers or $13.95 for a new online subscription without print subscription.
Search the archives of Mission Frontiers (http://www.missionfrontiers.org/search.htm), looking for “member care” and “missionary care” and read the September-October 2002 issue “From Surviving to Thriving: New Insights for Missionary Care.”
Likewise, Heartstream Resources has ten professional papers on member care for download (www.heartstreamresources.org/papers.htm).
Ken Williams makes available twenty-three of his articles on the International Training Partners website (www.relationshipskills.com/acticles.htm).
Gailyn Van Rheenen has two brief articles on missionary care on Missiology.org: “Why Missionaries Fall” (http://missiology.org/mmr/mmr3.htm) and “Maintaining Missionary Health” (http://missiology.org/mmr/mmr11.htm).
Several sites have valuable online missionary care libraries. The Global Connections library has a section on “People in Mission” (www.globalconnections.co.uk
Headington Institute’s Learning Center (www.headington-institute.org/Default.aspx?tabid=2339) offers training modules, e-learning courses, research reports, assessment tools, and handbooks. See the Missions Resource Network pages on Missionary Care and Missionary Life and Work (http://mrnet.org/Resources/Resources_Index.asp).
Missionary Outreach Support Services maintains a member library (http://missionaryoutreach.net/?page_id=25) with a variety of documents contributed by site users.
Both the Center for Counseling and Growth in Taiwan (www.team.org.tw/ccg/download.html) and the Mobile Member Care Team in Ghana (www.mmct.org/resources.php) provide a variety of articles and other resources on their websites.
The Antares Foundation offers a very helpful 15-page publication, “Managing Stress in Humanitarian Workers: Guidelines for Good Practice” (www.antaresfoundation.org/Guidelines.htm).You will also find good insight in the CORE Member Care blog (www.coremembercare.blogspot.com) maintained by Member Care Associates, where they “discuss core issues in member care for personal and professional growth and to promote good practice.”
Learn about additional valuable publications via the bibliographies available on member care websites. The Missionary Care Database (www.missionarycare.com/database.htm) is an annotated bibliography of nearly nine hundred articles and books categorized into over one hundred topics. You can browse the database online and download it as an Access file.
Global Member Care Resources offers both the annotated bibliography of member care literature from Kelly O’Donnell’s 2002 book Doing Member Care Well (www.membercare.org/images/booksandpubs%5C50MCarticles.pdf) and his “50+ Suggestions for a Member Care Library,” published in the February 2003 issue of Connections journal (www.membercare.org/images/booksandpubs%5C50
Headington Institute offers a 32-page annotated bibliography on managing stress (www.headington-institute.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1326), which you can browse online and download.
Missions Resource Network offers an extensive annotated bibliography of works on missionary care by Dottie Schulz, its director for missionary care (http://mrnet.org/Content/Documents/Library/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20Missionary
For twenty-five years, Intercultural Press (www.interculturalpress.com) has been “the premier publisher of books exploring and celebrating cultural diversity and the experiences of working and studying abroad.” The website provides extensive descriptions of the books it publishes and sells, many focused on intercultural communication skills.
The following serves as a brief directory of missionary care organizations that have an online presence; most of these websites describe their ministry offerings without necessarily providing substantial online resources. Naturally, many of these websites have been mentioned above.
Mission Training International (www.mti.org) provides programs, workshops, and conferences on “character development training and debriefing on the issues that are very practical and highly relevant to thriving in missions. Since 1954, more than fourteen thousand missionaries and their children have received MTI’s specialized, pre-field training.”
International Training Partners (www.relationshipskills.com) is “a global network of Christian workers, facilitators, and trainers from more than eighty partner organizations [serving] together in an informal partnership to provide training for those in cross-cultural Christian work.” They are perhaps best known for their Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop.
Link Care Center (www.linkcare.org) “provides numerous services to missionaries and their organizations. These services range from the Restoration/Personal Growth program, to training and consultation services, to crisis debriefing services.”
Barnabas International (www.barnabas.org) provides “encouragement to God’s global servants through going, listening, speaking, and giving.” The website provides an online magazine and monthly encouragement letters, along with information about Barnabas events, conferences, and renewal retreats (www.elimretreats.org).
Emmaus Road International (www.eri.org) provides “resources for third millennium missions”; its website describes the available publications, seminars, training courses, and tapes.
Missions Resource Network (http://www.mrnet.org), focused on Churches of Christ missionaries, has missionary care as one of its four strategies, including screening of candidates, conflict resolution, crisis intervention, and reentry services.
Headington Institute (www.headington-institute.org) specializes in training workshops, education materials, counseling, and consulting related to traumatic stress faced by relief and development workers.
Heartstream Resources for Cross-Cultural Workers (www.heartstreamresources.org) provides restoration and renewal programs, seminars, and workshops, as well as consulting for mission agencies, relief and humanitarian organizations, and international schools.
Catalyst International (www.catalystintl.org) provides training, resources, and encouragement in fulfillment of its mission of “strategically supporting Christian leaders in highly challenging global environments.” They partner with Heartstream Resources to lead the annual Refresh Conference, a 10-day retreat designed for the renewal and enrichment of cross-cultural workers.
GRC, Godspeed Resources Connection, is a faith-based organization dedicated to enabling global workers to thrive. They exclusively serve those sent cross-culturally by providing preventative and restorative care to strengthen their well-being in life and work. They develop emotional, relational, and spiritual health in our clients through debriefing, spiritual direction, counseling, psychiatric care, check ups, and consulting. Their clients include individual global workers and families and their organizations. Delivery of services occur in person in our Columbia, SC office and on-site throughout Indonesia, as well as, online anywhere there is an internet connection overseas.
Narramore’s Missionary Psychological Services (www.ncfliving.org/index_missionary.php) provides counseling and debriefing for missionaries in crisis, reentry workshops for MKs, retreats and seminars, and consulting. It also runs Cornerstone Counseling Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, focused on serving missionaries in the region.
Minnesota Renewal Center (www.minnesotarenewal.org) is an interdenominational organization providing renewal, counseling, and consultation to meet the needs of missionaries and other Christian workers. It provides “services in the areas of preparation, problem resolution, reconciliation, renewal, consultation, and training.”
Caring for Others (www.caringforothers.org) is “committed to helping churches, mission agencies, and other parachurch organizations better care for their members and the people they serve.” This Wisconsin-based evangelical ministry provides member care training, missionary debriefing, personal growth conferences, counseling, and missionary marriages seminars.
Missionary Care Services (www.southwestcounseling.org/mcs_home.html) in Denver, Colorado, “encourages and promotes renewal for missionaries worldwide.” Services include “candidate assessment, wellness checkups for reentry, family assessment, training, crisis intervention, and on-going treatment.”
Marble Retreat Christian Counseling (www.marbleretreat.org), a secluded lodge in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, is dedicated to “bring healing and restore hope through Christ-centered brief intensive counseling for marriage issues, ministry problems, spiritual problems, grief and loss, stress, depression, anxiety, and any other of life’s challenges.”
The Ghana-based Mobile Member Care Team (www.mmct.org) provides “training, consultation, counseling, and crisis response for missionaries on the field,” along with an extensive lending library available to missionaries serving in West Africa (http://www.mmct.org/library_resources.php). Center for Counseling and Growth (http://www.team.org.tw/ccg) provides counseling and therapy for missionaries in Taiwan, as well as training, retreats, and language acquisition coaching.
Missionary Renewal Asia Pacific (www.mrap.org), a Seattle, Washington-based ministry founded by the Assemblies of God, is “dedicated to enhancing the life quality, ministry effectiveness, and longevity of missionaries” through its seminars, workshops, conferences, mentoring, counseling, and training ministries.
Barnabas Pacific (www.barnabaspacific.4t.com) is a retreat center in New Zealand serving vocational Christian workers in the Pacific region. It provides “a safe haven of solitude and confidentiality” to deal with such issues as marital crises, stress, burnout, staff/team relations, and interpersonal or vocational conflicts.
One Another Ministries International (http://oneanother.com) is a “conservative evangelical service” providing professional counseling, consulting, training, and resourcing for the development and care of missionaries, primarily in Europe.
Le Rucher Ministries (www.lerucher.org) provides debriefing, counseling, and training courses at its retreat center located in France for personnel in frontier mission settings. It focuses on those “living and working with the least evangelized, highly traumatized, least developed, and/or complex humanitarian emergencies.”
Barnabas Zentrum (http://bzentrum.eomweb.org) operates a personal and marital retreat center in Austria designed to strengthen the lives of Christian workers who are serving in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The Institute for Transcultural and Missionary Psychology (www.itmp.nl/indexenglish.html) in The Netherlands is “an institution for psychological help and services to missionaries, development workers, other expatriates, and their sending agencies.”
1. All websites begin with http:// unless otherwise noted.
MORE LINKS TO CHECK OUT
To explore additional online member care resources, browse through the web links pages on these member care sites:
MISSIONARY CARE: links to member care providers and resources (www.missionarycare.com/links.htm)
GODSPEED MISSIONARY CARE: page of organizations offering help to missionaries (http://www.missionarycare.org/links.html)
ETHNE: page of member care links (www.ethne.net/index.cfm?&menuid=7&parentid=14)
LE RUCHER MINISTRIES: links to organizations and individuals offering debriefing or counseling (www.lerucher.org/Content/
WEA MISSION COMMISSION: member care links (www.worldevangelicals.org/commissions/mc/membercare.htm)
GLOBAL MEMBER CARE NETWORK: page of links (www.globalmembercare.com/index.php/Home/Links.html)
MISSIONARY OUTREACH: links to resources by topic, such as interpersonal conflict, depression, grief, marital difficulties (http://missionaryoutreach.net/?page_id=5)
BARNABAS INTERNATIONAL: member care resources links (www.barnabas.org/resources.php?pa_id=46).
MINNESOTA RENEWAL CENTER: links to missionary care organizations (http://www.minnesotarenewal.org/links.html#missionaryanchor)
OSCAR: pages of links to:
• member care services (www.oscar.org.uk/service/pastoral/membercare.htm)
• re-entry (www.oscar.org.uk/service/training/reentry.htm)
• pastoral and spiritual issues (www.oscar.org.uk/service/pastoral/advice.htm)
• health (www.oscar.org.uk/service/health/index.htm)
• counseling (www.oscar.org.uk/service/pastoral/counselling.htm)
MARBLE RETREAT: page of Christian counseling ministries and resources (www.marbleretreat.org/christian-counseling-links.html)
The list of valuable member care resources on the web continues to grow. As you discover additional sites, let us know and we will add them to the MisLinks page.
A. Scott Moreau is editor of EMQ and a professor in the Intercultural Studies department at Wheaton College Graduate School (Wheaton, Ill.). His email address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu, and the Wheaton Missions Department web address is www.wheaton.edu/intr.
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the Two-thirds World. His email address is email@example.com, and the GMI web address is www.gmi.org.
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