Like many of you I’ve been facing the challenges of navigating and leading during this crisis. You probably realised a while ago that the plan can’t be to just ‘sit this out’ or ‘weather the storm’ until life returns to normal. We have to accept that some things won’t be the way they were. The world has changed. People are talking about BC and AC – Before Corona and After Corona.Read more
One of the advantages of having been in mission leadership is that I have taken a number of courses and workshops in crisis management. You never know when some background in hostage negotiation might come in handy. Though given that in one role-playing exercise, I managed to have a school and all of the hostages blown up, you may not want to engage me as a negotiator.
However, I have picked up some things which may be useful to people during the current slow-burn crisis that we are living through and I thought I’d share them.Read more
I’ve noticed a tendency in me recently, whenever I have an idle moment, to head outside and do some gardening. Maybe it’s just the sunnier days and the warmer weather encouraging me out of doors, but I think it could be something deeper.Read more
Being helpful is a notable Christian trait, though something we often carry to excess. Even more so for mission workers. We care, and we hope to change things. We see people hurting and our compassion drives us to improve things for them. We want to solve problems. We want to make things better. We need to see healing. It’s a trap we can easily fall into. One of the hardest things for compassionate people to do is sit and watch someone struggle with pain, confusion and need.Read more
Much frustration, confusion, anger and loss is incurred by mission workers who find their plans thwarted.
Perhaps a family need draws us back home from the field. Some of us inexplicably lose visas and are given 48 hours to leave a country we’ve lived in for 20 years. The risk of terrorism forces our evacuation. A sending agency decides to pull out of a given location. Our funding falls to an unsustainable level. The list goes on.Read more
We have written about the challenges of re-entry on a number of occasions but so far we have not introduced our readers to the RAFT. This helpful analogy was introduced by David Pollock who was an expert in transition. His point was that the RAFT helps us leave well, so that we don’t feel we have unfinished business when we arrive back in our passport country.
Conflict is one of the principle avoidable reasons for mission workers leaving the field, whether conflict within their own team or with their agency leadership. This issue is a chronic festering ulcer in the missions world, which has existed since the dawn of missions nearly 2000 years ago (Acts 15:39), and will in all probability continue till its end, though that is no reason to not to try to resolve the situation.
I’ve recently met with a lot of people going through transition. Whether they are leaving a posting, parting company with their sending agency, closing a ministry, going to a new country… people in mission relocate frequently and are no strangers to change.
18 years ago, I began my journey into HR and member care in a mission organisation in Nepal. I thought it would be a walk in the park compared to HR in the NHS. Surely there would be no workplace disputes or team issues?! How wrong I was. However, I’m clearly not the only one who recognises that conflict is alive and causing dysfunction in mission today, given the full house at the recent GC Member Care Forum which looked at ‘Differences and Disagreements’.
When we think of multi-cultural teams it is often tempting to focus on nationality or heart language, but there are also many other factors that contribute to the cultures that individuals bring into a team, like ecclesiology, socio-economic background, gender, marital status, level of education and generation. These all affect the often-unconscious assumptions people bring to how things should be done, and what is valued.Read more