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.