Assessing Families (Not Just Individuals) for Missionary Service

Volume 44
Winter 2016
Assessing Families (Not Just Individuals) for Missionary Service

The assessment of missionaries tends to focus on the adult members of the family unit being approved for service. Yet, the family is the one consistent relational network that missionaries are connected to throughout the prefield, on the field, and post-field phases of mission service. In addition, throughout the history of missions sending bodies have struggled to balance the needs of the missions context, the ministry gifts that the adult members of the family bring to the field, and the dynamics of their marital and family relationships. While the literature on missionary children has grown significantly, adopting a perspective that prioritizes the family unit as the unit being “sent” may result in helpful information regarding missionary attrition and longevity. Therefore, assessing missionary families, not only the individual members of the family, at the various stages of missionary service is warranted. Using concepts and techniques from systems theory, a model and logistical factors for assessing missionary families are presented, along with suggestions for whom to assess, what to assess, and how to conduct family assessment. Resources and possible assessment techniques are also provided.

Dr. F.C. Gingrich
329 - 347
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