Thriving! 2 Caring for People So They Last!

A Member Care Course

Part A:  Forthcoming—Foundations of Member Care

Part B:  International Perspectives

Who? Why We Care

Dr. Lois Dodds describes the “who” of member care, and the reasons why we care. She gives a brief history of Heartstream Resources as one of the first organizations to provide for and train others in member care.

What is Member Care?

Dr. Lois Dodds defines “Member Care” and uses a visual “house” illustration to show all it encompasses. She emphasizes 3 “building” principles: foundation (the personal integrity of practitioner), bricks of knowledge, and bricks of skills, which are accumulated through training and life-long learning.

Why Care? Philosophy of Care

Dr. Dodds illustrates member care philosophy of “Thriving, not just Surviving,” which is an emphasis developed in the relatively new field of member care. She compares a “living organism” to “just physical” (or non-living) as the way to view persons.

Why Care? Biblical Basis of Member Care

Counselor Shum Ho, of Heartstream Resources, layouts out the reasons which Scripture gives for us for caring for one another. He relates stories from the Bible and his experience providing care to cross-cultural workers, especially in Asia.

Why Care? Am I Still Me? Identity Change Hurts

Dr. Dodds emphasizes that appropriate identity change is one of the most crucial aspects of effective ministry. Identity is severely challenged when one enters a new culture. It is a hidden aspect of the immense stress we face, a painful but essential change.

Why Care? Stressed from Core to Cosmos Part 1

Dr. Dodds explores the extreme stresses encountered in cross-cultural and multicultural life, which include the internal stresses of identity change (including self-esteem), the visible, external (environmental) changes, and our “cosmos” understanding of who God is and who we are to Him.

Why Care? Stressed from Core to Cosmos Part 2

Dr. Dodds zeroes in on the cosmos level of stress: challenges of cross-cultural ministry related to faith and , the cognitive and emotional underpinnings of our relationship to God. This relates to how the super-human expectations of ourselves and others create additional, usually hidden, stresses.

Universal Human Needs Part 1

Dr. Dodds explains how an understanding of Universal Human Needs can give us confidence to care for people of other cultures even if we don’t know all about the other culture. She describes these needs and shows how different cultures address meeting the needs, which are universal.

Universal Human Needs Part 2

Dr. Dodds teaches why understanding theories of human development helps the member care facilitator have many “windows” for interpreting others’ behaviors and needs. Knowing stages of life and ministry stages is also vital to a correct assessment of persons and families and their changing needs throughout their lives and service.

5 Kinds of Care Needed

Dr. Dodds unfolds 5 dimensions of human development, and 5 kinds of resources for needs related to those dimensions. She shows the interaction between the 5 dimensions and life and ministry stages. The “cascade downward” and loss of function which result from unattended needs take a huge toll on effectiveness and longevity.

Who Practices Missionary Member Care?

Dr. Eunjung Um of Heartstream Korea describes who practices Member Care, looking at five practice groupings which coincide with “levels” of practicing care. These include grassroots, primary care in an agency (leaders), specialized role of Member Care Facilitator, professionals (such as physicians and counselors), and Specialist Organizations. Collaboration creates synergy to provide the best care.

Missionaries in Crisis Part 1 – Causes, Kinds, and Strategies for Care

Dr. Dodds examines 10 causes for crises, 6 kinds of crises, and strategies for assisting members in crisis. She describes various levels of interventions needed, which coincide with the “levels” in the “house” illustration of member care.

Primary Care intervention is pro-active and attempts to avert problems which might develop into crises if not attended to early.

Missionaries in Crisis Part 2

Levels of Intervention & Intervention for Burnout

Dr. Dodds further illustrates the various levels of care and interventions which are like the “stories” in the house image of member care. She focuses on intervention for burnout, a frequent crisis which is slow to develop but can have extreme consequences.

Member Care Facilitator—Who is Best Suited? With examples from Korean culture and missionaries.

Dr. Eunjung Um of Heartstream Korea discusses who is bested suited to provide member care within an agency. She describes the role of a Member Care Facilitator (MCF) and the qualities and qualifications a person appointed to this role would ideally have. She also suggests ways agencies can meet the needs of their members if they are too small for a designated MCF.

Most Important Attitudes and Skill Needs

Dr. Dodds defines from her experience and the literature what attitudes and skills are crucial for anyone working across cultures or in multicultural teams. These relate to the “worker” as well as to leaders and to member care persons. Intentional teaching and modeling in 3 directions is vital: upward to leaders, horizontally to peers, and downward to members of the agency.

Most Common Ways M. C. Helps

Dr. Dodds defines what “proactive” and “preventive” mean and why these approaches are crucial foundations in member care work. Specialized tasks of assessment, intervention, debriefing, counseling, pastoral care, and policy development are defined in relationship to their impact on provisions of member care.

Resiliency: Part 1 The Secret of Longevity and Effectiveness in Ministry

Dr. Lois Dodds teaches what resiliency is and how we acquire it in life. Resiliency is one of the most important factors which makes a person effective, enables one to recover from hardship and set-backs. 10 factors in life create resiliency; 10 factors make us vulnerable so that we don’t “bounce back” after extreme stresses.

Resiliency: Part 2 Resilient Community & Practical Steps and Beyond

Communities, such as a mission “family” or entity, can be resilient, as members learn to help and rely upon each other and to pool and draw upon their strengths. Fostering community resiliency is one role of member care persons. Having basic trust in God and in His goodness, exercising faith, and practicing “one another’s” of the New Testament are foundations for community resiliency.

Why Do We Debrief?

Debriefing has the primary purpose of helping individuals and groups review and assess their experience. It is vital to conduct debriefings at various times in the ministry life of an individual, family, or group. These may be routine, such as at the end of a field term, or for “critical” incidents such as traumatic events.

Debriefings enable persons and groups to “make sense of” periods of time or events, especially traumatic ones.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

Dr. Dodds lays out the important process and facets of debriefing after a “critical incident.” By definition these are highly stressful, traumatic experiences, usually uninvited and unexpected. Appropriate debriefing can prevent the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), enabling persons to “make sense of” events and to organize memories and responses.

A Debriefing Session

This is a real life debriefing of a young woman about her family’s trauma when her young brother was kidnapped and held for ransom—on her wedding day! She recounts her own emotions, distresses, and losses, especially juxtaposed with her hopes as a new bride. Dr. Dodds helps her identify family strengths and affirms her resilience in going through the trauma.

Promoting and Organizing Member Care, Philippines and Middle East

Dr. Margaret Grace Alag, Philippines

Dr. Alag shares universal principles of missionary member care and describes the movement in the Philippines and beyond as Filipinos serve in over 100 countries. She describes unique challenges and solutions they have created.

Member Care for Korean and Asian Missionaries

Dr. Elizabeth Eunjung Um, Korea

Dr. Um describes the needs of missionaries from Korea, with attention to what has been learned by avoiding errors of the Western missionary effort a century ago.  She portrays the four parties who ideally share the care as a symphonic quartet.

Member Care Development for Filipino Workers and Asia and Beyond

Dr. Margaret Grace Alag, Philippines

Dr. Alag emphasizes universal challenges of extreme stresses, hardships, wars, violence and the diversity of life situations and roles, and attends to unique challenges of Filipino missionaries and other overseas workers.

Spiritual Care and Formation

Pastors Stephen and Jocelyn Head, New Zealand


The Heads recount their own experience and discovery of why spiritual care and formation are crucial to the care of missionaries.  They explain the diversity of spiritual needs and how they can be attended to by pastors and other member care personnel.

Member Care in New Zealand

Pastors Stephen and Jocelyn Head, New Zealand


The Heads use their own journey of discovery of spiritual resources while in mission service for decades as a basis for caring for the spiritual needs of others.  They offer specific methods which enrich the spiritual lives of missionaries.

Member Care Outreach from Malaga, Spain

Pastors Richard and Susan Steward, Malaga, Spain

The Stewards share their journey in ministry and what they have learned about ministering to missionaries internationally.  They are researching and exploring ways to serve missionaries in Europe and other continents which have easy access to Spain.