Our current top-shelf topic is missionary self-care. Missionary care, that is training and sharing resources for churches to provide excellent missionary care is in our DNA at Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. A huge component to rounding out excellent missionary care is the participation of missionaries, themselves, in routine missionary self-care.
Would Jesus pause for self-care? Pastor Jeff Jackson makes the case that He did in this article, an upcoming podcast (download the next Facilitating the Mission podcast to hear Jeff make his case), and in a recent group email to missionaries where he writes, “I’m convinced that Jesus was the ultimate missionary and that His life and ministry provide truths, principles, and practices that the small percentage of His disciples He also calls to be missionaries should follow.” Here are some other principles he pulls from John 12:27, 28 and Matt 26:37-46:
- ● In the John text, He took the initiative to be transparent and express a portion of His inner struggles with a small group of those He came to reach who had chosen to enter into a meaningful and trust-filled relationship with Him.
- ● Later, as Matthew records, at the most crucial and crushing moment of His life and ministry, He took His three-person inner circle away from the others that composed His core team, and He once again unveiled His inner struggle with them.
- ● But He also invited them to participate in helping Him during this crushing moment through watchfulness and prayer – knowing that they would be of almost no real help for Him.
What follows below are nine more useful resources to help a missionary shape a missionary self-care lifestyle routine. These articles, essays, and lists explore the topic through a biblical theological grid while finding practical implementations that builds up the missionary in spirit, body, and mind through an unhindered connection to Jesus.
Make self-care a priority
There are many reasons care for self as missionaries is low on the missionary to do list. Missionaries are motivated by work. Missionaries are others focused. Care of self is anathema. In A Life Overseas Ask a Counselor series, this question is handled well.
A Grace Dependency
Harriet Hill wrote the following quote in a piece for Fuller Seminary on the topic of missionary self care.
“I love missionaries because they get the job done. Against all odds.
But missionaries and their families are human. All these challenges take their toll. I have yet to meet a missionary who was not stretched beyond his or her limits. Bravado gradually gives way over time to humble perseverance, relying on God’s grace.”
Self-care Through Conflict
You can download a free missionary self-care ebook written by Sarita Hartz when you sign up for her mailing list. Hartz draws on experience gained through ministry in a conflict zone in Uganda. Her 50 page book can be easily read in under two hours and is jam-packed with practical examples and planning tools for your own self-care.
This downloadable PDF is a two page resource with lists, scripture references, and a book list. It could be handy to have around to refer to and hand out to fellow missionaries.
Stewardship of Self
This list of articles and brochures cover topics like anxiety, depression, internet immorality, sleep, stress, and time-management in both time-oriented and event-oriented cultures.
Self-care on the Field
This downloadable PDF is a handout from an Urbana conference missionary self-care seminar. It explains what missionary self-care is and is not.
This short article takes a holistic approach to missionary self-care. It makes the case that self-care is stewardship of what God has given you as a physical, spiritual, and emotional being.
Missionary Pressures Deconstructed
This piece by Michele Phoenix deconstructs the unrealistic pressure placed on missionaries by themselves and other outside influences and gives the missionary permission to be human and flawed.
Healing the Heart
This landing page links to some great resources, articles and books on the topic.
Time with God
“How is your prayer life? How have you been carving out time away from ‘doing’ to spend in solitude before the Lord?” These are the questions Resonate Global Missions attempts to answer with the solid resources linked to in this blog post about missionary self-care.
photo by Jan Phoenix on Unsplash.com