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Stories & Blog

Care is a Collaborative Effort

Care is a Collaborative Effort

Read the series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Caring for cross-cultural workers is founded upon authentic relationships within the sending triangle of church, worker and agency. Crossworld’s Deb Michaud concludes our series sharing about member care.

Care is a Collaborative Effort

by Deb Michaud, Crossworld Director of Member Care

Bob and Hattie had dreamed about serving cross-culturally for years. They started off well, but soon they needed to remind themselves that building relationships and beginning a ministry takes time. Impatience started brewing in their hearts and overflowed into their relationships. Suddenly, the reminders that once soothed their souls became hollow and ineffective. Finally, they decided they couldn’t stay any longer. Although they didn’t readily admit it, returning home appeared to be their only option.

Did Bob and Hattie receive the care they needed? Whose responsibility was it?

Member care is best done as a collaborative effort between an international worker’s sending church and mission organization. It doesn’t begin when workers step onto foreign soil, but as soon as they voice an interest in serving overseas.

Preparing to Go | The sending church plays a foundational role in establishing caring relationships with future workers. Having witnessed the realities of their faith and service, the church can testify to the ways God has gifted and prepared them. A mission agency then joins the church’s efforts after the person has become a member of that organization.

Affirmation, encouragement and processing together can create a strong relational foundation for a worker’s future service.

On the Field and Back | Restorative care is also best done collaboratively. Some churches form advocate teams that care for workers on and off the field and represent them before the church. At the same time, the mission agency is tracking with the worker’ needs and considering what resources are best fitted to encourage and strengthen the ministry worker.

Were Bob and Hattie properly prepared before leaving? What did they need during their struggle on the field and upon their return?

The best outcome of member care is the restoration of confidence in the truths the worker knew before encountering difficulty. The church lays the relational foundation. The mission agency builds on that foundation. Both are involved in care that prepares as well as restores. This type of collaboration displays God’s glory as He uses the church and mission agencies to fulfill His disciple-making mandate in all nations.

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