Strengthening Missionary Families Through Member Care By The Sending Church
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The purpose of this dissertation is to help sending churches of all sizes confidently reclaim their biblical role of member care to the missionary families they send. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of member care and establishes the local church as primary care giver in missions. It also shows the purpose, definitions, limitations and delimitations, and research methodology. Chapter 2 looks at the history of member care starting with William Carey and Lottie Moon and the beginnings of Baptist missionary care. The chapter then looks at the past fifty years of member care. This chapter also looks at preventable and non-preventable attrition and special issues in care including re-entry and the missionary kid. Chapter 3 surveys the Scriptures to build a case for a biblical mandate for care to its sent ones. It starts by looking at biblical precedent for such care using the churches at Antioch and Philippi as examples. Chapter 4 examines six leading member care churches in the US and surveys their best practices in care culture to families. Through the research obtained in these interviews, I offer a list of best practices in care ministry to families. Chapter 5 offers suggestions for sending churches to start care well by accessing, training, and mobilizing families with care in mind. In this chapter I summarize the research and make recommendations for the twenty-first century sending church.