What Missionaries Ought to Know About Member Care

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 10 minutes

What Missionaries Ought to Know does not mean that the author sat down and decided what missionaries ought to know, but rather that missionaries themselves asked about these topics. During the author's 35 years of college teaching, he learned that if one person asks a question, others probably want to know the same thing—and if two people ask, it was certainly a topic that others need to know about. These are things missionaries need to know because several missionaries have asked about each of them at one time or another.

To read more from the What Missionaries Ought to Know series


Resource Description


You keep hearing about member care, but wonder about it. You are doing all right and wonder why anyone would need help. What is member care anyway? Since God cares for them, why would missionaries need member care from other people? If missionaries did need it, who would give it to them? How would missionaries go about getting such care, if they ever did need it? Let us consider some of these questions about member care.

What is member care?

Many words can be used to describe what takes place in member care. Some of those words are friendship, encouragement, affirmation, help, and fellowship as well as sharing, communicating, visiting, guiding, comforting, counseling and debriefing. All of these, and more, are facets of member care given by someone who understands the special needs of missionaries.

Of course, all Christians have the care given by the Holy Spirit, the one whom Jesus promised in John 14-16. Translated “comforter,” “counselor,” or “advocate,” the Greek word (paraclete) literally means one called or sent for to assist another, someone who has been invited to stand by our side.

In addition to the Holy Spirit, God often uses other people to come alongside and help us, whether we are missionaries or in other vocations. Most people in your passport country have others they can call on for help, whether pastor, counselor, or friends in a small group-such as a Bible study group. Among missionaries who are members of some mission agency or church, the term used for this process of having someone come alongside to offer help is “member care.” This may be something as routine as a regularly scheduled visit from a pastor asking, “How are you doing?” Or it may be as rare as a psychologist rushing to get to you within a couple days for a trauma debriefing to help prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.


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