Soul Care, Self-Care, Community Care
Last week we gave a presentation to the Board of International Ministries about the member care initiatives we’ve been strategizing for IM. We’ve been focusing on the spiritual care aspects of excellence in three areas of member care: My relationship with God: Soul Care; My relationship with Self: Self-care; and My relationship with Community: Mutual care. For each of these areas we have designed a Biblical foundation, a best practice, a commitment statement for IM as a mission agency, and a commitment statement for the individual staff and global servants. The IM Board enthusiastically responded to our presentation! We ask for prayers of clarity and confidence as we continue this ministry initiative.
Leaders Who Zoom Out
We’re celebrating the graduation of several cohorts this summer in the Masters of Theological Education. Mexicali 1 graduated at the beginning of June. (The photo captured their graduation enthusiasm!) Brazil 1 graduates at the end of August. August marks the third-year anniversary of the program. At our faculty meeting in June, Professor Jose Norat proposed that we re-format the nature of our faculty gatherings to include intentional pieces of spiritual formation and theological reflection. He suggested that administrative pieces be handled more succinctly via emails. We all loved this idea! And we want to celebrate Jose’s wisdom and perspective. He was able to zoom out and realize that the faculty no longer needed to get mired in administrative details. The program was maturing, and thus, our discussion as the spiritual leaders of the program needed to mature as well. We hope you have a Jose in your life, too. A respected, authentic leader who can call people back to what gives and sustains life.
Evangelical Round Table
As we branch out into the spiritual care components of member care, we are seeking ways to dialogue with other mission agencies to learn what they’re doing. In early May, we flew to Chicago to join representatives from 12 other Evangelical mission agencies to discuss the spiritual care of global servants. Global servants (aka: missionaries) are a unique set of people. Cross-cultural environments lend to specific sets of stressors and transitions. Issues of loss, grief, isolation, culture shock, language acquisition, extreme geographical living conditions, establishing new friendship circles, etc. can overwhelm a person’s usual coping mechanisms. Doubts, fear, and anxiety can rise to the surface very quickly. This impacts a person’s spiritual life in dramatic and critical ways. This group discussed how our mission agencies ministered to global servants. Where were we getting it right? Where were we missing the mark? A surprise for us was that except for one person, everyone—like ourselves—was also a trained spiritual director. Because of this common ground, we also talked about how do we teach spiritual formation from an evangelical viewpoint? What are our Biblical touch stones? This was important to all of us in order to maintain integrity with our evangelical roots.
Spiritual Leadership Retreat
David led a retreat for the staff and Board of Directors of Deborah’s House in Tecate, Mexico a week ago. Missionary colleague Deliris Carrion extended the invitation. It was an opportunity to deepen understanding of what spiritual leadership looks like, what did Jesus and other Biblical leaders model for us, and then how to apply spiritual leadership to the ministry context of a shelter for abused women and children. This is another extension of our work as we provide resources not only for other global servants, but also for the Baptist partners with whom they minister.
You’re Part of Our Family
Thank you for the myriad ways you support us: prayer, financial gifts, notes of encouragement, unexpected gifts that show up in our mailbox. We are blessed by your partnership. And please know that we pray for each one of you, too. We cannot be involved in ministry by ourselves. We are part of a family. Thank you for being our family!
Your ambassadors for Christ,
David and Joyce