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Resources for Missionary Care
“Missionary care is simply the application of the biblical ‘one-another’ concepts to the context of missionary life.” In Churches of Christ, missionary care is the responsibility of the stewarding and supporting churches. Care means that the church will provide, as much as it is able, the things that would allow its missionary the necessary tools, education, training, and equipping that would make him or her an effective disciple maker in rigorous cross-cultural works. Missionary care is ongoing. It begins pre-field with the commitment of a church to support a missionary and continues through reentry and/or retirement post-field. Ideally care will be provided for every supported missionary or missionary family—and sometimes for other individuals or families on a team, or often even for converts. The purpose of care is to develop resilience, skills, and virtue, which are the means to helping missionaries stay healthy and effective in their work. Care involves both developing inner resources (such as perseverance and stress tolerance) and providing external resources (such as team building, logistical support, and skill training). Missionary care allows missionaries to remain on the field long-term and to fulfill the purpose for their going: to complete the task of the Great Commission so that every tribe, every people, ever tongue, and every race may learn the good news of Christ.
Missionary care resources can be organized roughly according to four domains: pre-field, on-field, home-assignment (furlough), and post-field care. Naturally, many resources address more than one of these. Organizations that specialize in various dimensions of missionary care are therefore the best place to begin.
Organizations Offering Multiple Resources
In addition to the resources and recommendations these organizations can provide, a variety of others deserve mention.
Pre-Field Care Resources
The provision of spiritual and psychological assessment, along with missions training, is the fundamental component of pre-field care.
On-Field Care Resources
Missionary Self-Care and Mutual Care
Self-care is the basic ingredient of well-being and longevity. Missionaries should especially take care of themselves spiritually.
Missionaries should stay informed about the political situation in their location and always register with their embassy.
Other services can also help churches and missionaries stay informed about possible violence that might require evacuation. Daily reports can be obtained from sites such as:
Resources Available Worldwide
Children’s Education Options
A number of sites provide explanations of primary and secondary education options for missionary children.
One recognized option for online secondary schooling is:
For study at the university level without earning credit, free online college courses are available.
Home Assignment Care Resources
Various organizations offer missionaries retreats at little to no cost. These are times of spiritual refreshment rather than just vacation, but missionaries, with permission from the sponsoring organization, may choose to participate in extracurricular activities.
Residential Counseling Programs
Post-Field Missionary Care Resources
MK Reentry Retreats
Recommended Missionary Care Websites
Missionary Care Resources
An Abbreviated List of Counseling Resources Associated with Churches of Christ for Missionaries and Their Stewarding Churches in the United States
Stephen Allison, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Dan Altman, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Clifton E. Davis, EdD – Clinical Psychologist
Mark DeYoung, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Mark Gomez, MEd – Licensed Professional Counselor
Dale Hawley, PhD – Marriage and Family Therapist
Cathy Hernbeck, MS – Licensed Psychological Examiner
Jeff Holland, MS – Marriage and Family Therapist
Kenneth Hobby, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Rebecca K. Holton, PhD – Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor; Mental Health Practitioner
Chris Johnson, MS – Licensed Professional Counselor
Gordon MacKinnon, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
David McAnulty, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Tom Moore, PhD – Marriage and Family Therapist
Mike Parker, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Eddie Parish, PhD – Marriage and Family Therapist
Dorris Schulz, PhD – Marriage and Family Therapist; Professional Counselor; Mental Health Practitioner
Vann Rackley, PhD – Marriage and Family Therapist
Marilyn Stinson, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Brian Stogner, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Ben Walker, MS – Licensed Professional Counselor
Gary Walker, PhD – Clinical Psychologist
Dottie Schulz is Director for Missionary Care at Missions Resource Network. She served with her late husband, Tom, as a missionary in Amsterdam from 1962 to 1971 and 1972 to 1977. Dottie earned her MS in Human Development and the Family and her PhD in Community and Human Resources, both from the University of Nebraska. Her dissertation was on missionary reentry. She holds licensure from the State of Nebraska Department of Health as a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, Certified Professional Counselor, and Certified Marriage and Family Therapist. Dottie has worked as adjunct faculty in the Department of Human Development and the Family at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and served as Assessment Director of the Human Resources Management Program at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where she was also Associate Professor of Family Therapy and Human Services/Psychology. Dottie had worked at York College in York, Nebraska, before earning her doctorate and returned there in 1991, where she was Professor of Psychology and Family Studies and Director of the Cornhusker Center for Human Development until coming to Missions Resource Network in 2004.
1 “What Is Missionary Care?,” .
2 This article is written with a congregational model of missionary care in mind, particularly that of Churches of Christ.
3 Kelly O’Donnell, “An Agenda for Member Care in Frontier Missions,” International Journal of Frontier Missions 9, no. 3 (July 1992): 108–11.
5 This is highly recommended for older adults and families in middle years with older children who have had no cross-cultural experience.
6 Necessity for hidden missionaries and missionaries working in dangerous places.