This Update explores member care history, emphasizing several of the milestones over the past 50 years. Reviewing our past, including successes and failures (re-member care), is crucial to guide our current work and the future relevance of the member care field. Part One features a new article on member care history, The Missional Heart of Member Care (April 2015, IBMR). Part Two includes two thematic pieces (core historical excerpts) on a) member care friendships/consultations and b) member care and unreached peoples. We finish with a personal reflection on what lies ahead for the member care field.
Warm greetings from Geneva,
Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell
Therefore, every scribe that has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven
is like a head of a household, who beings forth out of his treasure things new and old. Matthew 13:52
The Missional Heart of Member Care
Notes and Quotes
Launch of the Global Member Care Task Force (MemCa) September 1998.
Photo taken in front of the C.S. Lewis house, near Oxford, UK
"This article is an historical journey through several professional publications, organizations, and conferences surrounding the practice of member care. Starting in the pre-1960 era and traveling into the mid-2010s, I highlight trends in member care development. This chronology blends my own commentary around a selection of core quotes from different authors. Knowing our history (re-member care) provides important perspectives for supporting the Church endeavors to share the good news and good works among all peoples.
This survey of materials reflects the initial predominance of English-speaking, internationally experienced Americans, often males, and many with mental health backgrounds. These demographics largely shifted stating in the 2000s as member care increasingly globalized into a multidisciplinary, culturally-contextualized field. Many outstanding colleagues have contributed to developing this field, but space here only allows for a sampling. Their exemplary lives of faith in action and the compelling voices in their writings still speak clearly and powerfully to us today (Hebrews 11:4)."
The Missional Heart of Member Care (April 2015). International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 39(2), pp. 91-96. Click here to read/download:
(journal issue: http://www.internationalbulletin.org/)
Friendships, Consultations, UPGs
Notes and Quotes
International Member Care Retreat, November 2000--the first of its kind.
It followed the Mental Health and Missions Conference in Indiana, USA
Here are two thematic pieces written by Kelly to help you probe further into member care history. How can the past inform your current and future work in member care, especially in view of the many new challenges and opportunities in our world?
Member Care--Friendships and Consultations
Core excerpts (1992-2012) related to developing the member care field, focusing on quality friendships (colleagues) and strategic projects (consultations). There are also several group photos.
Member Care and Unreached Peoples
Core excerpts (1984-current) related to the emphasis on unreached people groups within the developing member care field. A related emphasis has been prioritizing member care for workers/senders from the A4 Regions (Asia, Africa, Arabic-Turkic, America-Latina).
Past foundations and future relevance
"What lies ahead for the member care field, and indeed for our world at large? What are our future challenges and opportunities for member care in mission/aid and beyond, into all humanity care?
Our developing field needs “good learners-practitioners” who are growing in their character (virtues), competency (skills), and compassion (love). We need to be willing to integrate our lives more globally: to cross many new boundaries, work cooperatively across sectors, and journey through “deserts” (our internal and external places of difficulty). We must grow together through the hard times, inspired by the vision to see member care develop globally in culturally relevant ways—for all peoples and from all peoples.
As a diverse, resilient, international community of member care workers, we will need to have clear ethical commitments in order to provide/develop quality services to mission/aid workers in many settings, often in unstable locations permeated with conflict, calamity, and corruption. And as earthen vessels we must develop the personal resiliency and mature faith that can sustain us as we take risks to do good and to resolutely confront evil in its many forms.
The material in this book and the historical flow of our field are intentionally heading us towards an ultimate destination. Our destination is also the foundation and motivation for our field: resilient love. Sacrificial and celebratory love. Love flowing from duty and desire. Agape.”
Afterword, Global Member Care (Vol. 2): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity, p. 381
More MCA Resources
Global Portal for Good Practice (website)
Reflections, Research, and Resources for Good Practice (weblog)
Global Mental Health: A Global Map for a Global Movement (website)
Global Integration: Connecting and Contributing (updates, materials, webinars)
Global Member Care: (volume one): The Pearls and Perils of Good Practice (2011)
Our latest book! Global Member Care (volume two): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (November 2013) The e-book version is available on Amazon
Actively integrating our lives (connecting and contributing) with global realities
(skillfully addressing the major issues facing humanity and promoting well being)
in light of our core values (e.g., ethical imperatives, commitment to humanity, faith-based).