*This post was originally published on August 19, 2020 and updated on June 22, 2020.
Canada's myriad of mission sending organizations, churches, businesses and non-government organizations all work with a specific ministry focus. Why consider working closely together? What are the advantages and benefits?
Why Is Collaboration Important?
To understand why collaboration is so important we need to consider our history.
Our North American mission history indicates we’ve spent most of our funds on mobilization and keeping our workers on assignment. We’ve spent far less on repatriation.
The implications of this decision meant repatriating workers and their families were not offered what they needed due to lack of funding, programs, and support infrastructure; Member Care departments did not exist or were insufficiently staffed; gifted care personnel were assigned to mobilization or other tasks; no formal training was offered; and so, those we’d mobilized were not well cared for on their return.
And if they were offered substantive repatriation care it was only available in the USA. Asking our Cross-Cultural Workers and Missionary Kids to go into the USA meant they had to first learn a new culture with different values than their own. While they benefitted, we could have done far better.
The work of supporting CCWs and MKs was largely reactive. For example, something difficult happens such as an accident, and then medical help is sought or reactive care is provided. There was little proactive member care.
Healthy Transitions for Cross-Cultural Workers
Yet as we evaluated the experiences of repatriating Cross-Cultural Workers (CWWs), they shared almost without exception: “The toughest transition in our entire assignment was repatriating to our passport country!” This is counterintuitive.
Our Missionary Kids (MKs) responded in a similar fashion identifying their transition from home (aka mission field) to Canada, saying: “I thought it would be easy as I speak the language and know the culture. I had no idea how difficult it really would be!”
We know through experience that repatriating CCWs will resist investing in their own transition, even though it will contribute hugely to their personal wellbeing and long-term resiliency. Why? They think the costs outweigh the benefits. They would rather place available funds towards their children’s education, their own housing, their own further education, or all of the above.
Yet studies and experience indicate there is a substantial need for proper debriefing and transition support provided by knowledgeable, trained caregivers. When the time was taken and funds spent, Cross-Cultural Workers' ability to step into their next assignment (with God there’s always a next assignment) was enhanced dramatically.
14 Benefits to Collaboration
So, what does this have to do with collaboration? Just this: If we work closely together, we will be able to provide the level of supportive care required for resiliency and long-term health. So, what are the benefits of working together?
- We have enough participants (critical mass) enabling us to provide retreats.
- We are formally committing ourselves to resource and care for CCWs and MKs together!
- Our actions communicate to CCWs that we care about them as a family.
- We resource and strengthen our organizations. When our CCWs & MKs do well, we grow and strengthen.
- We are motivated through collaboration. Together we are more creative, synergy strengthens, and best practices are developed.
- We dare to go in new directions as we sense God’s calling!
- We have a voice at the table influencing our future.
- We need each other. It’s a biblical principle. We have a “call a friend” in raising awareness of what exists, what is forming, and what is needed.
- We learn from each other. We replicate great ideas and improve on them.
- We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We build momentum. We’re stronger together accomplishing what we could not do on our own.
- We support and contribute to the sustainability of member care.
- We stand in the gap. As personnel retire or transfer, momentum is not lost.
- We bring resources to Canada versus asking workers to seek them across borders.
- We provide support in a Canadian way, helping them understand Canadian culture and values.
MORE Network: Collaboration for Member Care
The best place to care for Canadian Cross-Cultural Workers and Missionary Kids is in Canada. There exists today a Canada-wide ministry that provides for and encourages collaboration in supportive care. MORE Network and the Canadian MK Network facilitate and support care in a variety of ways for CCWs and MKs.
Today MORE, a ministry of Outreach Canada, is a ministry with 33 member organizations serving CCWs and MKs associated with 40+ organizations. It truly is a cooperative affair with many helping to start it, volunteer, give finances, prayer and encouragement. Many expect MORE will continue to provide these services.
The strength of MORE is not buildings, full-time staff or strong administrative systems, although all are needed. MORE’s strength is in its relationships within every sending organization.
MORE provides a common platform across Canada for Member Care. Required among its members is unity, expertise, passion, willingness to share and work together, and an understanding this is different than Human Resources or Personnel.
When we collaborate, we have
- A Canada wide training & member care resource
- A place to go for resources in key areas of Member Care
- A Resource Library of materials
- Access to well equipped and well experienced personnel available to resource CCWs & MKs.
We have people committed to the MORE Network not for the our sake but for the sake of CCWs & MKs, caring for them together!
Collaboration is Key
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Unless we do this together, it will not get done. Unless we lead and rally and challenge and encourage each other, we will NOT accomplish what God has called us to do.
The success and vibrancy of MORE depends not on people leaving one organization to join it, but rather, staying within their organization and doing what God has called them to do while cooperating with numerous other organizations through MORE.
And what are the risks of not collaborating? We are unable to serve our CCWs and their children as effectively as we could if we did it together.
“And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!” Philippians 2:5-8 TPT
Join the Story
What can you do about it? Connect with us, let us know how we can serve you, and offer to serve with us!
You can contact me (Paul Dyck) at email@example.com or call 778-549-6063 for more information about how to collaborate with the MORE Network. You can also find out more information about the MORE Network by visiting the MORE Network website.
Paul is the National Team Leader for the MORE Network (Missionary Opportunities for Resourcing & Equipping) and the CMKN (Canadian Missionary Kid Network), filling a role of Ministry Ambassador and Champion across Canada, working with Church & Mission leaders involved with caring for cross-cultural workers (singles & couples) and MKs. Paul is an MK and has experience in Member Care, Pastoring, Banking and Business Leadership. Paul & his wife Carol life in Abbotsford, BC.