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Clyde Neal Austin (1931–2014): Pioneer in Missionary Care among North American Churches of Christ

Author: C. Philip Slate
Published: February 2015

MD 6.1

Article Type: Text Article

The author presents a biographical sketch of Clyde N. Austin’s work and enduring influence in the field of missionary care. Austin’s legacy encompasses the academy, the leading practitioners of member care whom he mentored, the missionaries who continue to benefit from his work, and the organizations that he inspired to excellence in missionary care.


During his middle- and high- school years Clyde N. Austin lived in a small, inconspicuous town in southeast Texas. Through his education and faith development, however, he earned an international reputation. In missionary circles he is known for his work in missionary care. In United States embassies, the headquarters of numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international businesses he is known for his work on cross-cultural reentry. More than any other person he was responsible for bringing into North American Churches of Christ more orderly and extensive processes of screening missionaries, providing care for them on the field, and facilitating their reentry into their home country.

Though born in Karnes City, TX, in 1931, Clyde grew up in and graduated from high school in nearby Kenedy in 1949. Because that town had witnessed many gunfights in the past, by the early 1900s Kenedy was called “Six Shooter Junction.” During World War II, when Clyde was in his early teens, his hometown hosted an alien detention camp for Germans, Italians, and Japanese deported from Latin America, and for several Japanese who were long-time residents in the USA. In 1944 it became a POW camp that was closed the following year. In short, Kenedy was hardly known as a seedbed for producing people who become known worldwide. During his early years Austin was shaped and formed by the Kenedy school system, his family, and the small congregation (started in c. 1890) of the Church of Christ he attended with his mother and older sister.

Clyde studied at Abilene Christian College (ACC) and graduated in 1953. Subsequently, he earned both MS and PhD degrees in psychology and returned to his alma mater for a 41-year relationship. From the 1960s through the 1990s Austin’s interests and work gradually shifted from personnel services to gerontology to evangelism and missionary care. He helped missionaries with pre-field screening, maintenance on the field, and reentry to the original culture; wrote articles and books on these subjects; founded a chair of psychology and intercultural studies; and played an important role in the development of Missions Resource Network (MRN). Dr. Austin died on March 7, 2014, at age 82, and a memorial service was conducted for him a month later, on April 5. Though he was a classroom teacher, an active churchman, and a director of research, the focus of this essay is on the contributions he made to missionary care among Churches of Christ and, more broadly, to understanding the phenomenon of cross-cultural reentry.

Education and Early Career

While at ACC Austin served as president of the Students’ Association, was elected to Who’s Who among American University and College Students, and graduated magna cum laude. There he met Sheila Hunter, a classmate from Dodge City, KS, whom he married in her hometown in July 1951. She became his coworker in service to missionaries. They had four children (Jan, Marcia, Joanne, and Stephen), all of whom have served in missions in one way or another. Steve spent an extended period of time out of the country (Argentina, 1990–97).

After graduation from ACC the Austins moved to Boulder, CO, where Clyde earned a master’s degree in Personnel Service from the University of Colorado (1954). They moved then to San Antonio where he taught biology, science, and history (1954–55) at North East High School.1 During the Korean War Clyde served an army assignment (1955–56), and while at Ft. Hood, TX, he preached at the nearby Copperas Cove Church of Christ. Over the next several years he continued to preach for small-town churches. He returned to his alma mater in 1956 as an instructor of psychology, served as Director of Placement (1957–59) and Director of Admissions and Placement (1961–69). During those years he utilized his position and expertise to assist the Exodus Movement within the USA.2 Except for an eighteen-month absence in Argentina and another to work on his doctorate, Austin’s work with ACU spanned 41 years.3 At one time his friend Seth Cowan said to him, “Don’t you know you could make a lot more money in industry than in teaching here since your degree is in industrial psychology?” Austin replied tersely, “I plan to teach here at ACU.” His decisiveness “marked the end of our conversation” on that subject, Cowan said.4 Though his PhD from the University of Houston was in the field of Industrial Psychology, early in his career he developed an interest in gerontology and did postdoctoral work in that field at the University of Southern California. He gave a presentation on the subject in the 1963 ACC lectures.5 Already in the 1960s, however, Clyde gradually developed an interest in the application of psychology to the initial screening and ongoing care of missionaries, matters that were to grip him the balance of his life.

Moving from Gerontology to Missions/Intercultural Studies

There was no decisive moment at which Austin became passionately concerned about missions and intercultural studies. As with many missionaries, Austin’s interests and commitments developed from several influences over a period of time. It is clear that he took his faith seriously early in life and sustained it. Royce Money, ACU Chancellor, stated that “While he was an excellent psychologist and classroom teacher, Clyde was always a missionary at heart. . . . He was a humble and talented servant of the Lord whose reach went far beyond his presence.”6

Although Austin had a general interest in evangelization, several experiences increased his growing concern about cross-cultural missionary work. For example, in the early 1960s, while doing his doctoral work at the University of Houston, Clyde and Sheila worshiped with Howard and Jane Norton at the McGregor Park Church of Christ. The Nortons were part of a large mission team then planning their move to São Paulo, Brazil, in 1961. Through their long friendship Austin’s interest in various dimensions of cross-cultural evangelization was significantly informed and sharpened. Further, Austin had contact with missionary candidates as he worked with Paul Faulkner in conducting small groups in ACC’s Summer Seminar in Missions as early as 1968.7

Austin gained further insight through his work with the Exodus Movement groups. A church in Fort Worth began to make plans in 1962 to mobilize a group of Christians to move to Bay Short, Long Island, NY, in 1963 to plant a church while supporting themselves.8 That was the first of several such movements during the 1960s and 70s. Austin stated, “I was personnel director for Exodus Bay Shore, Exodus New Jersey, Target ’66 (Connecticut), and Megalopolis (Delaware). I conducted information sessions for the person who was personnel director for Exodus Burlington. Other groups sought information from the ACC Admissions and Placement Office.”9 Austin became deeply involved in that work; he did much more than organize occupation fairs. In 1970 Roy McCown wrote Austin a letter from Warrington, PA, enquiring about the possibility of his assisting a church there in an Exodus program. McCown stated that when he was in touch with the church in Newark, DL, about the movement that had taken place there, “They assured me that the success of the effort was about 110% due to the efforts of Clyde Austin.” It is hard to estimate the extent to which involvement with the Exodus groups sharpened Austin’s interest in evangelism, but it was unquestionably an important aspect of his transition to a focus on missions and missionary care.

The Exodus Movement in the 1960s involved domestic evangelism, but Austin increasingly developed interest in international evangelism. During the late 1960s he would routinely have lunch with colleagues at ACC and the College Church (now University Church of Christ in Abilene). Among them were Ed Brown (former missionary to Japan), Roy Willingham, Lowell Perry, and others, all members of the College Church. Perry had returned in 1967 from a two-year residence in Brazil in connection with an effort to purchase radio stations. During that time he interacted with and was impressed by the large mission team that had gone from ACC to São Paulo in 1961. While vacationing in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Perrys met Pablo Lasaga who, along with five others, had been brought to Christ through the work of D. M. Hadwin and family during 1952–54.10 Lasaga had taken training in hotel administration in Buenos Aires and spoke to the Perrys about the need for evangelizing in that huge city. The Perry family took the hydrofoil to Buenos Aires for a visit and became convinced that an evangelistic effort was needed there like the one in São Paulo. Thus, when the Perrys returned to Abilene, Lowell had a commitment to help develop a mission team for Buenos Aires.11 Austin, who had experience working with groups going to the northeastern part of the USA, became keenly interested in the proposal for Argentina. His interest in that possibility went beyond the lunches, and he pursued the matter vigorously. Earline Perry commented, “The Austins were in our home so often that our children thought we were related to them.”12 Out of those discussions Austin decided he would seek employment in Buenos Aires in order to acquire the information a mission team would need to move there and live for an extended period.

Austin obtained employment as the guidance counselor for the Asociación Escuelas Lincoln, a bilingual private school in Buenos Aires, and moved his family there in June 1970. During those eighteen months in Buenos Aires, Austin investigated housing and other living needs, along with checking on government requirements for expatriates and church groups.13 They learned much from friends in other missionary groups in Argentina, notably Jim and Georgia Teel of the Southern Baptist Church. The Austins returned to Abilene in December 1971. Living cross-culturally sensitized Clyde to the importance of appropriate preparation, the needs of missionary children, and other factors involved in working outside one’s native culture.

The College Church in Abilene, where Austin, Willingham, Perry, and Brown were members, decided to send a team to Buenos Aires. Austin worked with the original team members, all supported by the College Church: Ted and Ellen Presley, George and Bertha Roggendorff, Dick and Barbara Treat, and two singles, Joel Banks and Yolanda Andrade. They arrived in Buenos Aires on December 25, 1972.14 Others joined the team a little later: the Jacob Vincents, Reese Mitchells, Jay Abels, and a single worker, Marilyn McBroom.15 Steve Allison, first a student of Austin’s, then a colleague, and now his successor in Psychology and Intercultural Studies at ACU, concluded that Austin’s interaction with the 1972 team further sensitized him to the needs of cross-cultural workers.16

As time passed Austin began dealing with students who had been trained at ACC, went out to serve, and then returned. He began both screening and debriefing young missionaries. Several years later Austin showed Allison a file containing 45 cases of missionaries who had experienced serious mental health issues in cross-cultural work.17 Austin’s mounting concern for missionaries and their problems prodded him to discover what other groups had learned through their experiences in sending out and bringing back cross-cultural workers. His determination to help the situation led to his further education, both formally and informally, in areas where he felt his background in psychology could be brought to bear on the whole range of cross-cultural workers’ needs. Furthermore, he knew of no one else in Churches of Christ who was doing the kind of work he envisioned.18 Austin knew he had to take his psychological training into additional dimensions of service.

Others had already done work in both screening and evaluating missionaries. In 1973, psychology professor C. R. Thayer pointed out that “the use of psychological test scores for the selection of missionaries is of at least four decades’ standing.”19 Additionally, the famous American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions had done a follow-up study in 1957 of 200 of their missionary candidates.20 The Southern Baptists had used psychology in their screening of missionary candidates since 1937. This information, however, seems to have been unknown (and certainly not used) among Churches of Christ in North America. Thus Austin began his quest for information and further training.

Continuing Education

Initially, Austin contacted a number of groups that were sending personnel to other cultures to work. He contacted officials who dealt with military families and the Lyndquists at Link Care in California.21 He went to Provo, UT, to see what the Mormons were doing as they deployed (mostly young) people throughout the world.22 Austin visited the Assemblies of God. He sought information from the Wycliffe Bible Translators, who by then already had a significant history of sending out and returning many cross-cultural workers.23 He found particular help from Laura Mae Gardner, who served with both Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics as the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Personnel and as International Personnel Consultant and Trainer.

In 1979 Rochelle Lechleiter asked for Austin’s assistance with her team, because she knew of his earlier work with Exodus groups. In a letter to her he explained that he, Sheila, and two of their children were spending the summer in “Philly” where he was doing “post-doctoral study in family therapy.” He continued:

In part, my further study has been prompted by our [ACU’s] new graduate program in family studies and family therapy. Also, Sheila and I have been profoundly affected by the sizeable number of missionary families with mental health difficulties. In the Church of Christ there is a growing number of people trained to do individual psychotherapy. However, few of us are adequately trained to work with entire families.24

His studies were in the Hahnemann Medical College and the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, both in what Hawley describes as “a hotbed of development during the early days of family therapy.”25 Austin could see the need for working with families, since a number of the problems he observed among missionaries involved family relationships, not just individual problems.

As early as the 1970s Austin began researching the psychological assessment of missionary candidates. He learned that the Southern Baptists had been using some form of assessment since 1937, so he made contact with Bill O’Brien, then Executive Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Foreign Missions Board in Richmond, VA.26 Additionally, in the early 1980s Austin began attending the meetings of the Mental Health and Missions conference in Indiana, as well as the international meetings regarding missionary kids.27 Thus, through both reading available materials and interacting with many people experienced in sending out cross-cultural workers, Austin developed his own expertise and became a valuable resource person in his own right.

Mentoring and Helping Others

Clyde Austin was a serious researcher, but he also interacted willingly with students and inquirers. The collection of his papers in ACU’s Brown Library Archives (14 boxes) consists of many tabulated articles. Researchers have come from many educational institutions and churches to use these materials, even while Austin was still teaching.

Steve Allison, who returned to ACU to teach in 1984, reported that Austin gradually brought him into activities that involved either screening and working with mission teams or doing evaluations. At times he asked Allison to do testing. Clyde “modeled for me the way to stand along with students” as they developed over the years, said Allison.28 He is now Austin’s successor in the Department of Psychology and holds the Robert and Mary Ann Hall Chair of Psychology and Intercultural Studies that Austin founded.

Tommy and Dottie Schulz returned to York College to teach following their missionary service in the Netherlands. In time both Tommy and Dottie enrolled in PhD programs at the University of Nebraska, focusing on reentry issues for families. They traveled to Lubbock Christian University to attend the World Mission Workshop for college and university students and there they got to know Austin. He began to work with both of them and encouraged them as they continued their studies. Later, when Austin was planning to attend the international conference on missionary kids he invited Dottie to attend. Tommy had died of cancer, but Austin had called upon Dottie, then with her PhD, to help with several projects through the years. When the American Baptists asked Austin to debrief and counsel some of their missionaries who had been evacuated from both Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and later Haiti, he asked Schulz to accompany him to work with the women.29 Schulz now works with Missions Resource Network.

Bob Waldron, former missionary to Guatemala and first head of Missions Resource Network, had a long association with Austin. Waldron said that “apart from my mother Clyde was the most important mentor in my life.”30 As Austin was developing his own expertise he often brought Waldron into the activities. Another resource person for missionary care with MRN is Dale Hawley. He wrote of Clyde that “He is my link to missions. I wouldn’t be involved with mission teams were it not for Clyde’s gracious invitations (and sometimes gentle pushes) to get me involved.”31

Austin also offered encouragement internationally. Australians Susan and Derrick Selby currently work in Mwanza, Tanzania, as medical missionaries. Susan assists a psychiatrist and her husband teaches anesthesiology at the Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza. There they met a couple of ACU-trained missionaries, Aaron and Marisa Bailey. When the Baileys mentioned that they knew Austin, Selby was delighted and related to them how Austin had been a great help to her just through e-mail. Prior to involvement with medical missions Susan was a family physician and medical tutor in Adelaide. One of her tasks was to “coordinate medical care in my state (South Australia) for missionaries with the largest Protestant mission in Australia (CMS).” Through that work she “realized quite early that I was out of my depth with their psychological issues on reentry. I started doing some research and came across Clyde Austin’s work.” She was encouraged by one of her colleagues, Sheila Clark, to enter a master’s program in that area of study. After a year of study her supervisor suggested she do PhD work. She felt very inadequate to the task since she lacked research experience and would be able to work on the project only part-time. Finally her supervisor, Clark, urged her to send an e-mail message to Austin. Selby was intimidated by the thought. She felt out of her depth and “in need of an Aaron”; if her project were to be done it would “have to be powered by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit completely.” She “finally plucked up enough courage to email Dr. Austin.” “Unfortunately I think I no longer have his reply,” she wrote, but it was “amazing.”

He thanked me for my concern and interest in undertaking this research. It was as if I was doing a tremendous favour for him! At that point he would have been one of the most prominent people in this area. He was very encouraging and it was the signal I needed to proceed. Without his encouragement nothing would have happened.32

Selby felt she had been helped by God’s gift of encouragement found in Austin. “So this is a wonderful story,” she wrote, “about Dr. Austin’s power of encouragement through one email.”33

Austin’s relationship with Continent of Great Cities (now Great Cities Ministries) was a crucial link for his interest in international work. That ministry, directed by Ellis Long, began in September 1976 and was housed on campus in the Center for Missions Education at Abilene Christian University.34 In its first six years, it helped prepare and place six multi-family mission teams in Brazil’s largest cities.35 Meanwhile, Long and Austin, classmates during their college days at ACC, rekindled their friendship and often conversed about ways to improve the missions outreach of Churches of Christ. By that time Austin was gaining considerable knowledge about the need for pre-field assessment of missionaries, but he had not yet actually engaged in assessing missionaries. Long, on the other hand, was struggling with missionaries and teams who were experiencing serious psychological and moral issues—conditions that might have been prevented with pre-field assessments. So the two friends and colleagues decided in 1980 to initiate pre-field screening with the ten-family team preparing for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Waldron reported that some years later he and Gary Sorrells, then co-directors of Great Cities Ministries, were sitting in a South American airport with “time on our hands” and began to reflect on their experiences with Great Cities missionaries. Before inaugurating psychological screening they knew of several very serious problems among some of those who had been sent out; but that after the front-end screenings and evaluations the number of problems dropped dramatically. Indeed, they were not aware of a single serious issue. They were grateful to God for Austin’s pursuing what he knew was right.36

As Austin gained further information, insight, and expertise he was eager to bring others into the work. At one point Waldron and Sorrells, knowing of Clyde’s contact with the Southern Baptist Board of Missions in Richmond, VA, asked Clyde to take a group of people to Richmond to see what they were doing.37 Clyde put together a group of seventeen opinion leaders and “movers and shakers,” people he felt would benefit from such a trip. Among those people were Ian Fair (Dean of the College of Biblical Studies at ACU and former missionary), Dale Brown and Jack McGraw (elders of the Golf Course Road church in Midland, TX), Gary Sorrells and Bob Waldron (Continent of Great Cities), Seth Cowan (physician friend of Clyde Austin), Keith Robinson (former missionary to Italy and preacher at Austin St. in Garland, TX), Charles Marler (Journalism dept. at ACU, previously active in the Exodus Movement), Victor Allen and Glyn Withrow (elders at Austin St.), Roy Willingham (elder of College church in Abilene), and others. The trip was a means of giving thoughtful people a broader vision of what needed to be done with and for the missionary force in Churches of Christ.

Clyde Austin and the Roots of Missions Resource Network

After serving in Guatemala, Bob Waldron began teaching missions at the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver (1978–86). With the help of Gary Sorrells and Ellis Long of Great Cities Ministries, he had developed a team of missionary candidates planning to go to Curitiba, Brazil. Long and Sorrells asked Clyde and Sheila Austin to travel to Denver in 1984 to administer pre-field screening work with the group. During that visit the Austins stayed with the Waldrons and the two couples discovered they had much in common. They spent many hours discussing the needs and opportunities in global missions, including Waldron’s efforts to begin the McCaleb Institute for Missions Education, “a ministry to better equip local churches for effective and faithful missions outreach.”38 That visit to Denver resulted in “a lifelong partnership in advancing world missions.”39

Prior to the Denver trip, Austin had processed enough documents, consulted enough resource persons, visited enough evangelical missions agencies, and attended enough professional conferences that he saw huge gaps in both missionary care and the planning, administration, and execution of global evangelization by Churches of Christ with which he was familiar. Convinced that more was needed than the typical, good training then provided by the missions department at ACU, Harding School of Theology, and other schools associated with Churches of Christ, “he developed an overall strategic plan that included subdivisions for church equipping, missionary care, recruiting and church planting for each geographic region of the world fashioned after Great Cities Ministries,” an approach he felt would enable churches to be better stewards of their international outreach.40 He believed Waldon’s McCaleb Institute could fill the church-equipping slot.

Austin had the capacity to see and develop both the big picture and the details necessary to fill it out. When Austin returned home from Denver he was convinced Abilene would be a good place to inaugurate such a plan. Thus, he shared his vision with Bill Teague, then president of ACU. One of Teague’s early responses, at Austin’s urging, was to invite Bob Waldron to bring his church equipping ministry to Abilene, serve as its director, and be a missionary-in-residence.

Waldron moved to Abilene in 1986 and renewed his relationship with Austin, Sorrells, and Long. In 1988 Waldron became co-director of Great Cities Ministries. By this time Royce Money was President of ACU, and through the work of Austin and Continent of Great Cities, and especially through the time Money had spent with missionaries in Brazil, he became convinced that more needed to be done both to serve the needs of missionaries and to help churches in their global efforts. In October 1994 he convened the first of five (1994–98) Missions Strategy Conferences that were attended by more than 150 church leaders. The outcome of those meetings was the formation of a stand-alone ministry called Missions Resource Network (MRN) with Waldron as its executive director and Austin as board chairman.41

Historically, Churches of Christ have rejected the use of formal missionary societies on the grounds that they tended to supplant and even control local churches.42 So, how could such an entity as MRN not only affirm the validity of the local church but enhance and accent its church-sponsored work as well? Money, with his background in church history, guarded against a missionary society, but felt there was a place for an entity that could both affirm and enhance the work of the local church without controlling, otherwise harming, or hindering it in any way. Thus the entity was called Missions Resource Network, and it was intended to be just that: an organization that would facilitate a network of resources and resource persons who would serve churches in their missions endeavors. It would be for the churches a handmaiden that assists churches while neither hiring, supporting, nor maintaining missionaries.

The full story of MRN needs to be documented. In many respects, MRN was the triumph of Austin’s years of probing, researching, developing, and practicing the kind of things that are important—even essential—for the overall equipping of and caring for missionaries. His work was not intended to supplant or substitute for adequate academic training (which he heartily affirmed) in cross-cultural message formation, encountering different worldviews, evangelizing, deliberate forming and maturing of churches, developing indigenous leaders, and so on. Rather, it was to assure that those persons who seek to execute those tasks are emotionally qualified for and sufficiently sustained in their important work.

Cross-Cultural Reentry

It is likely that Clyde Austin is best known worldwide for his work in cross-cultural reentry. Prior to his work in that field, insufficient attention had been given to reentry phenomena. As L. Robert Kohls stated in 1986, “There must be at least two or three times as much written on culture shock as there has been on reverse culture shock.”43 It is difficult to detect exactly when Austin recognized the special problems that often occur when workers for different kinds of organizations reenter their original culture. He did an annotated bibliography on the subject in 1983, and in 1986 produced a reader on reentry.44 A significant feature of the reader, and the factor that made it of worldwide interest, is that it crossed institutional divides. In addition to works on missionary reentry, the readings dealt with people in government service, medical and other workers for non-governmental organizations, military personnel, and workers in industry. The reader is in most US embassies throughout the world. It is to the benefit of both the workers and their sending agents for the returnees to readjust with minimal difficulty. Austin’s book of readings is an invaluable resource for that purpose. God alone knows the ultimate rippling effect of Austin’s work on cross-cultural reentry.

The Hall Chair of Intercultural Studies

Another enduring creation of Austin’s is the Robert and Mary Hall Chair of Psychology and Intercultural Studies at ACU. In the early 1990s Austin decided to create a position at ACU that would “guarantee a more permanent interface between psychology and missionary endeavors.”45 He sought and received the help of ACU’s president and others. Accordingly, in 1995, he founded and was the first occupant of the Robert and Mary Ann Hall Chair of Psychology and Intercultural Studies, a position he held until his retirement in 1997. Hall had been Austin’s roommate when the two were undergraduates at ACC, and since Hall was a significant benefactor of the Chair Austin named it after him and his wife. That legacy continues as an enduring contribution Austin made to missionary welfare.


The boy who grew up in Kenedy, TX, “Six Shooter Junction,” became a man of stature, known worldwide especially for his work in cross-cultural reentry. His expertise in missionary care and cross-cultural reentry brought him notoriety and respect in both Churches of Christ and in the evangelical world. It must have been a satisfaction to Austin, who remained lucid until the end,46 to see his influence continuing through his students, the work of MRN, the Hall Chair of Psychology and Intercultural Studies, and his writings47 to an ever-increasing number of churches and individuals who are benefiting along the whole gamut of missionary care. Like Abel, “through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Heb 11:4c; ESV).

C. Philip Slate is a missions consultant for Churches of Christ worldwide and an adjunct teacher at Harding School of Theology. He holds a DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary and has authored and co-authored numerous popular and scholarly works. Dr. Slate was a missionary in Great Britain for over a decade. He has also served as the dean of Harding School of Theology and subsequently as chair of the department of missions at Abilene Christian University.


20th Century Christian 25, no. 6 (June 1963).

Austin, Clyde N. “ ‘The Best Is Yet to Be:’ The Christian in His Last Years.” In Abilene Christian College Bible Lectures, 221–29. Abilene, TX: ACC Student Exchange, 1963.

________. Cross-Cultural Reentry: An Annotated Bibliography. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1983.

________. “The Missionary Family, the Sponsoring Church, and the Christian Psychologist.” In Perspectives on Worldwide Evangelization, ed. C. Philip Slate, 67–92. Searcy, AR: Resource Publications, 1988.

Austin, Clyde N., ed. Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1986.

Austin Papers. Brown Library Archives. Abilene Christian University. Abilene, TX.

Hadfield, Ron. “ACU Remembers: Dr. Clyde Austin.” ACU Today: The Alumni Magazine of Abilene Christian University, March 12, 2014.

Kohls, L. Robert. Foreword to Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings, by Clyde Austin, xix-xxi. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1986.

Smith, P. Kent. “Exodus Movement of the 1960s.” In The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. Douglas Foster, et al., 324–25. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

Sorrells, Gary. Make Your Vision Go Viral: Taking Christ to Great Cities—A Proven 5-Step Plan that Really Works. Bedford, TX: Creative Enterprises Studio, 2013.

Thayer, C. R. “The Relationship between Clinical Judgments of Missionary Fitness and Subsequent Ratings of Actual Field Adjustment.” Review of Religious Research 14, no. 2 (Winter 1973): 112–16.

Treat, J. W. “Latin America.” The Harvest Field: 1958 Edition, ed. Howard L. Schug, J. W. Treat, and Robert L. Johnson, 106–7. Athens, AL: C. E. I. Publishing Co., 1958.

Waldron, Bob. “An Urban Strategy for Montevideo, Uruguay.” Paper presented at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, November 1989.

West, Earl Irvin. The Search for the Ancient Order: A History of the Restoration Movement. Vol. 2. 1866–1906. Indianapolis, IN: Religious Book Service, 1950.

Wilson, Roy. “Qualifications—Emotional Screening.” In Abilene Christian College Bible Lectures, 189–201. Abilene, TX: ACC Bookstore, 1971.

1 Ron Hadfield, “ACU Remembers: Dr. Clyde Austin,” ACU Today: The Alumni Magazine of Abilene Christian University, March 12, 2014,

2 The Exodus Movement was a domestic missions effort in which numerous members of Churches of Christ in the south moved in groups to select cities in the northeastern USA for the purpose of planting new churches. Most participants were self-supporting. See P. Kent Smith, “Exodus Movement of the 1960s,” in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. Douglas Foster, et al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 324–25.

3 Hadfield. ACC became Abilene Christian University (ACU) in 1976.

4 Seth Cowan, interview by Philip Slate, November 29, 2014.

5 Clyde Austin, “ ‘The Best Is Yet to Be:’ The Christian in His Last Years,” in Abilene Christian College Bible Lectures (Abilene, TX: ACC Student Exchange, 1963), 221–29.

6 Quoted in Hadfield.

7 Dale Hawley, e-mail message to the author, December 6, 2014.

8 20th Century Christian 25, no. 6 (June 1963). The entire issue was devoted to the Bay Shore Exodus plan.

9 Clyde Austin, “Exodus Movement in Churches of Christ” (paper, Austin Papers, Brown Library Archives, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, n.d.).

10 See the brief account of the Hadwins in J. W. Treat, “Latin America,” The Harvest Field: 1958 Edition, ed. Howard L. Schug, J. W. Treat, and Robert L. Johnson Jr. (Athens, AL: C. E. I. Publishing Co., 1958): 106–7. See also Bob Waldron, “An Urban Strategy for Montevideo, Uruguay” (paper, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, November 1989).

11 Bob Waldron, e-mail message to the author, November 28, 2014.

12 Earline Perry, interview by Philip Slate, December 5, 2014.

13 Interestingly, while Austin was still in Argentina, Roy Wilson, psychiatrist and elder in a church in Springfield, MO, gave a presentation on missionary screening at the ACC lectures. Roy Wilson, “Qualifications—Emotional Screening,” in Abilene Christian College Bible Lectures (Abilene, TX: ACC Bookstore, 1971): 189–201. One wonders whether Austin was involved in arranging that presentation.

14 Stephen Austin, interview by Philip Slate, November 20, 2014; Waldron, e-mail.

15 Waldron, email.

16 Steve Allison, interview by Philip Slate, November 19, 2014.

17 Allison, interview. Allison did not indicate that he read the cases—only that Austin showed him the folder that contained the cases.

18 He knew of Roy Wilson’s work as a psychiatrist in Springfield, MO, since he had been on the ACC lectures. Austin had a vision, however, of more aggressive and focused work with cross-cultural workers, including family needs.

19 C. R. Thayer, “The Relationship between Clinical Judgments of Missionary Fitness and Subsequent Ratings of Actual Field Adjustment,” Review of Religious Research 14, no. 2 (Winter 1973): 112–16. Thayer was Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Davis and Elkins College. His 1951 doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburg was on “The Relationship of Certain Psychological Test Scores to Subsequent Ratings of Missionary Field Success.”

20 Thayer, 116.

21 Austin, interview.

22 Cowan, interview.

23 Allison, interview.

24 Clyde Austin, to Rochelle Lechleiter (Austin Papers, Brown Library Archives, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, n.d.).

25 Dale Hawley, e-mail message to the author, December 5, 2014.

26 Waldron, e-mail.

27 Dottie Schulz, interview by Philip Slate, December 1, 2014. The Mental Health and Missions conference began in 1980 and continues to the present; mental health professionals and specialists consider the applications of mental health to the various dimensions of missionary life.

28 Allison, interview.

29 Schulz, interview; Dottie Schulz, “Report on Work—April 2007.”

30 Bob Waldron, interview by Philip Slate, December 2, 2014.

31 Hawley, e-mail.

32 That would have been about 2002 or 2003, since she took eight years to complete the dissertation in 2011. See Susan Selby, “Back Home: Distress in Re-entering Cross-Cultural Missionary Workers and the Development of a Theoretical Framework for Clinical Management” (PhD dissertation, University of Adelaide, 2011),

33 Susan Selby, e-mail message to the author, October 28, 2014.

34 Gary Sorrells, Make Your Vision Go Viral: Taking Christ to Great Cities—A Proven 5-Step Plan that Really Works (Bedford, TX: Creative Enterprises Studio, 2013), 70.

35 Sorrells, 124–26.

36 The substance of this paragraph is based on Waldron, interview, and Waldron, e-mail.

37 Waldron, interview.

38 The institute was named after J. M. McCaleb, missionary of Churches of Christ in Japan (1892–1941).

39 Waldron, interview; Waldron e-mail.

40 Waldron, e-mail.

41 Waldron, e-mail; Seth Cowan, e-mail message to the author, December 9, 2014.

42 For one treatment of this issue, see Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order: A History of the Restoration Movement, vol. 2, 1866–1906 (Indianapolis, IN: Religious Book Service, 1950), 45–73.

43 L. Robert Kohls, foreword to Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings, by Clyde N. Austin (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1986), xx.

44 Clyde N. Austin, Cross-Cultural Reentry: An Annotated Bibliography (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1983); Clyde N. Austin, ed., Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University, 1986).

45 Austin, interview.

46 Although he had a heart attack in the 1990s, he died from cancer after living about half a year following the diagnosis.

47 Perhaps Austin’s clearest published statement about the service a Christian psychologist can be to a church in its missionary endeavors is found in Clyde N. Austin, “The Missionary Family, the Sponsoring Church, and the Christian Psychologist,” in Perspectives on Worldwide Evangelization, ed. C. Philip Slate (Searcy, AR: Resource Publications, 1988): 67–92.

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