Global Analysis

March 2024 Issue Overview

Loun Ling Lee Mar 2024

The focus of this LGA issue is on member care, defined by the Global Member Care Network as ‘the ongoing preparation, equipping, and empowering of mission personnel for effective and sustainable life, ministry, and work.’

In ‘Self-Care: An essential tool for member care or a passing fad?’, Sarah Hay begins by looking at ‘what member care and self-care are, some of the resistance to self-care, and how member care can seek to promote better self-care practices amongst missionaries.’ She highlights the seemingly misunderstood theology of self-care as opposed to self-sacrifice by reflecting on Jesus’s attitude towards rest in the gospel. This misunderstanding often leads to burnout in missionary service. In conclusion, she stresses how important it is ‘to recognize that meaningful self-care is not a selfish practice, but an essential part of a missionary’s tool kit and one which the member care practitioner should encourage.’

‘Burnout among mission workers and sending organizations is on the rise,’ writes Billy Drum in ‘Burnout among Missionaries: Systemic issues leading to burnout’. These systemic issues in organizations could be identified in the six main causes of burnout as explained by the author with reference to Maslach and Leiter’s The Truth about Burnout. He challenges organization leadership ‘to take a closer look at the practices and policies in place for care of mission workers in cross-cultural settings,’ and ‘affect change proactively, working toward prevention and creating a healthier and more resilient missionary workforce.’ Mission-sending organizations would do better in member care by considering the preventive measures recommended by the author.

How does culture influence the experience of burnout? Anisa Mooza explores this question in ‘Burnout in Zambian Women in Ministry and Humanitarian Work: How culture influences the burnout experience and implications for member care’. She highlights four aspects where Zambian culture influences burnout particularly in women: hierarchical challenges, extended family and community support, the spiritual dimension in burnout, and keeping up appearances. ‘Christian ministries and humanitarian organizations could benefit from taking into consideration cultural influences on burnout in their staff and employees to create culturally appropriate burnout interventions,’ she concludes.

For missionaries in another culture, the experience of shame is more prominent than burnout. Faith Stephens in ‘Shame in the Lives of Missionaries: Women serving in Central Asia’ shows the negative aspects of shame that could harm missionaries, ‘hindering connection with God and others, which ultimately impacts ministry.’ Her personal experience of shame as a missionary enables her to offer ‘tools to equip missionaries to effectively deal with shame.’ She suggests some helpful ways to engage with shame—‘to recognize shame,’ ‘to reach out to God and others when they experience shame,’ and ‘to recognize and cope with shame messages within each culture that they participate in.’

Lausanne Global Analysis is also available in PortugueseSpanishFrench, and Korean. Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue will be released in May 2024.

Author's Bio

Loun Ling Lee

Loun Ling Lee is the editor of Lausanne Global Analysis. She teaches ‘Missional Reading of the Bible’ and ‘Engaging with the World’s Religions’ in Malaysia and the UK. Formerly a lecturer in mission at Redcliffe College, UK, training director of AsiaCMS based in Malaysia, mission mobiliser with OMF, and pastor at Grace Singapore Chinese Church, she serves on the board of OMF UK.