Towards Contextualization of Member Care

EMQ » April–June 2022 » Volume 58 Issue 2

By Sampson Dorkunor

Peaceful Healing Church in Bowiri Amanfrom, Ghana. Photo by Rodney Ballard. Courtesy of WGA.

Care for the Lord’s workers is a challenge for missionary leaders around the world including for those in the Global South. However, while all of God’s workers are subject to burnouts, stress and exhaustion from legitimate hard work, needs are different depending on the cultural context of each missionary. Issues of care for missionaries from older sending countries (OSCs) – like the United States, Canada, and Germany – and newer sending countries (NSCs) – like Ghana, Argentina, and the Philippines – are not the same.

For example, for African missionaries a lack of financial resources to provide even a minimum salary is frequently a stress that drives many off the field. Matters like this that present great challenges to Global South missionaries often don’t fit into member care processes and principles developed by the Global North agencies. We need to develop care models that are strategic and relevant to the forms of relationships, partnerships, fundraising, and collaborations not only for the Global North, but also for the various Global South contexts.