Member Care

14) The Last Bit: Retaining Workers for the Long Haul

We were struck by the piece written by Elliot D. Stephens in the current issue of EMQ. (EMQ is a Missio Nexus publication. You’ll need a Missio Nexus log-on to read the article at the link below. But your org or church might already have one. If you don’t, this one article might be worth the price of admission.)


Entitled, “Retention and Onboarding: Are We Ready to Ask the Hard Questions,” Stephens quotes from the ReMAP 1 retention study — with “47% of career missionaries leaving by year five, with 71% leaving over preventable character issues.” Then he leads us to ReMAP 2, which concluded that, “low retention agencies were still witnessing higher attrition over preventable reasons.” The author then explains his Ph.D. dissertation study for his own agency to compare notes with ReMAP. He found that his org had a median length of service of 5 years, then quoted from Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World. Johnstone had written that “most church planters are more effective starting in year eight.” Whoa. That was sobering. In Stephens’s case, he found that 70% of his org’s workers resigned and exited before reaching the 8th year. Stephens then quoted research by one research group that “it costs $500,000 to mobilize, select, train, send, and keep a worker on the field for four years of service.” Of course, reducing stewardship of lives to a financial figure, though sobering, is actually more costly when we look at human and spiritual factors. The bottom line: We can’t afford NOT to retain workers as long as possible.


In this day and age though… how do we DO that? Stephens spends the last half of his article exploring options, beginning with proper onboarding and pre-field training. He then looks at training once the worker is fielded. Elliot, if you’re out there somewhere reading Brigada, my hope is that you’ll develop this research into a book. Once the book is released, please tell us about it and we’ll promote it here in Brigada — because we (the Kingdom) need this. Our organizations and local churches need this. We — humanity — need this.


What are your thoughts about retention? What has your church or org learned about how to do it — to the 12-year mark, for example? What are the “best practices” — and then let’s make up our minds to DO them. Please click “Comment” following the web version of this item. And please, get the article. : ) And thank you Elliott.


6) CareCon: Empowering You to Serve Your Global Worker

CareCon is a five-day conference designed by the Frontiers USA Member Care Team for pastors, church staff, family members, ministry partners, and anyone who wants to support global workers. This conference will help you: prioritize the most fruitful care strategies, gain fresh ideas as you network and interact with other church and missions leaders, and build better relationships with your workers. It’s slated for Mesa, AZ, April 27 – May 1, 2020. You can learn more at…



4) Resilience In Life And Faith

‘Resilience in life and faith: Finding your strength in God’ is a new book which is useful for helping mission workers to build resilience before, during and after their time of ministry. It looks at several components of resilience – spiritual, physical, emotional, cognitive, creative, social and environmental aspects. This book combines biblical teaching with psychological research. The authors (Tony Horsfall and Debbie Hawker) support mission workers around the world.


8) Quito, Ecuador Azmera Haven Retreat 2019 (for Women only)

Azmera’s mission is to “Impact women who are impacting the world.” If you are an English speaking, Kingdom-minded women (worker or business expat) serving overseas, Azmera would like to invite you to an encouraging, restorative, transformational, honoring haven retreat in Quito, Ecuador, October 17-20, 2019. The cool thing is that they help make it affordable for workers by raising Haven Scholarships. Check out Azmera and register at


1) Pastoral Training in Member Care Conference

It will all take place in Asheville, NC, October 8–11. The Pastoral Training in MemberCare (PTM) Conference is an excellent resource for anyone involved in caring for God’s global workers. This US-based conference brings together caregivers from sending churches, missions agencies, and member care organizations, and provides a place for networking, mutual encouragement, skill-building, and spiritual refreshment. Registration closes September 10, so please sign up soon. For more information, email Abby at

ptmatbarnabasdotorg  (ptmatbarnabasdotorg)   with questions, or see their web site


1) FREE Counseling and Psychiatric Assessments in August

GRC understands August is fraught with transitions personally and professionally. With transition comes stress. GRC wants to help. To get your Fall off to a fresh start, GRC is offering FREE initial assessments for counseling and psychiatric care. Complete a Service Request Intake Form during August. The assessment can take place in September. Let GRC help with your transition. They have time slots available. You don’t have to wait. Register today at…


9) Still Time to Register for "Traction Men’s Conference" (Sept. 2019)

You still might have time to register for the Traction Men’s Conference, a 6-day experience designed to encourage global workers serving cross-culturally. You’ll learn about managing stress, solation, and opposition, reconnecting with God through prayer, cultivating the character of authentic leadership, navigating difficulties with grace, honoring God in all things, and persevering with courage and trust in the face of challenges. Learn more — and register — at …


(Thanks again, Jenny!)


9) Malenovice: A Great Place to Stage Your Next Retreat

Our org just staged an event at Malenovice, a retreat center in Czech operated by Josiah Venture. They don’t know yet that we’re mentioning their retreat center in Brigada. But the truth is — it was a great site. In fact, for groups of up to 100 adults or so, it would be perfect. Because our event grew to double that size, we had to involve additional properties for overflow housing. We also had to double-shift our meal times. But if your group will max out at 100 or so (or less), Malenovice would be perfect. It’s affordable, the staff are incredibly servant-hearted, the facilities are top-class clean (no bugs), and the setting is amazing ( Learn more at…


7) Could This be True? "Spiritual Encouragement and Counseling, Free?"

And get this — it’s not via Zoom. This is reportedly “providing on-site emergency, active, and pro-active.” Has anyone used this service and, if so, could you anonymously or otherwise share how it went? Remember — you don’t have to leave your name in a comment and the email address will only be seen by the Brigada editing team (two of us) and we won’t tell. Promise. Just seems … unreal. That they’ll like… parachute in to help you, if you have a problem serious enough to call them? That’s so WILD! Testimony anyone?


Note that they can also help with staff retreats. (Thanks for the tip, Jenny!)


10) Married in Mission: For Couples in Cross-Cultural Service

“Married in Mission” is a guide for couples called to the complex yet fulfilling world of cross-cultural humanitarian work. With a total of twenty-one interactive exercises concerning marriage and service, this handbook is a means for individuals to purposefully engage with their vocational roles as both spouses and missioners. Now you can get free shipping for this resource at…


1) Free Initial Assessment during May (Mental Health Awareness Month)

May 2019 is the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. So GRC is supporting efforts to bring awareness to the need by offering free initial assessments to global workers who complete an intake form during the month of May. Appointments are available now. All you have to do is complete an intake form at:


1) Reentry Books For Children And Parents: Free Download

Elementary-age children may find reentry difficult and their parents may not know what to do to help. “We’re Going Home” (108 pages) is for children ages 6-12 who are returning to their passport countries. Written at a third grade level, “We’re Going Home” includes the story of a family returning to its passport culture. Each chapter also has activities such as scrambled words, crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, and codes. “I Don’t Want to Go Home” (54 pages) is a companion volume for parents. Each chapter in the parent’s book has information about TCKs in the Bible, children’s TCK issues today, and suggestions to help children reenter well.  The books are available to download free of charge as .doc, .pdf, or .zip files for your computer and as .mobi or .epub files for your Kindle or Nook. You can’t beat the price. Find them at…


(Can we just say — these Missionary Care people… they assemble all these resources and they never charge the missionary community to use them. I just hope and pray that God will bless them because — they really have a cool spirit about them. Seriously.)

2) Free Initial Assessment during Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2019 is the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. GRC is pleased to recognize and support efforts to bring awareness to this need. To support this effort , GRC is offering FREE initial assessments to global workers who complete an intake form during the month of May.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Appointments are available now. Complete an intake at

7) Learn about Family Factors in Missionary Attrition

Curious about the impact of factors such as singleness, having children, marital issues, children’s education, aging/ailing parents, adult children, grandchildren, etc., on return decisions for cross-cultural workers? Wonder no more. Read Andrea Sears’ full report at…


Perhaps you won’t be surprised by the outcomes — that “Educational options for the children and having aging/ailing parents that need care are the two strongest family factors in making a decision to return to the passport country, according to the weighting of responses given.”


(Thanks to Jenny in her April “Member Care Newsletter,” citing Andrea’s report in “A Life Overseas.”)

11) New "Serving Well" Book is Worth the Read

Talented writers, Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter, have just released their new book, “Serving Well: Help for the Wannabe, Newbie, or Weary Cross-cultural Christian Worker.” It retails for $25 on Amazon at…


but you can get it for just $20 at…


Michael Pollock (co-author of Third Culture Kids) said, of Serving Well, “Serving Well is an important voice in the search for honest, experienced conversation on living and working cross-culturally in a healthy and sustainable way. Dig in!”

(Thanks for catching this, Jenny!)

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