Working in cross-cultural ministry is a worthy calling, but it is one that is fraught with difficulty.
Moving to a new country means learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture– a challenging task for anyone. But when your goal is to share the gospel, there’s a deeper resistance and often spiritual oppression at work. In these high-pressure situations, the work can magnify personal issues or create conflict. In addition, workers sometimes find themselves faced with natural disasters, family issues, or in-country turmoil, and difficult decisions need to be made quickly.
This is where Steve Bailey and the Member Care team come in.
Encompass has always given a form of member care to staff, but in recent years, the organization saw the need to refine itself to better send and care for its “goers.” In 2014, Steve became the director of the newly structured Member Care team and began recruiting others with the heart and experience necessary to care for cross-cultural workers in the thick of the fight.
Steve knows the tremendous joy and very real discouragement that comes with living and serving cross-culturally because he’s experienced it firsthand. He and his wife Wilma worked in Argentina for more than 20 years, first as church planters and then as Regional Director for Latin America. Nearly all of Steve’s member care volunteers have cross-cultural ministry experience, as well. Together, they provide ongoing encouragement and prayer to staff around the world.
The Member Care team helps Encompass Global Workers using a three-fold approach:
Send Them Prepared:
Steve is part of the hiring process for all new workers, asking questions about their spiritual life, conflict-resolution history, and what he calls their unity track record, how well they’ve gotten along with people in the past. During their pre-field training, he spends time with each person or couple to develop a relationship with them. He also reviews each appointee’s psychological and personality assessments to flag issues and recommends resources when needed.
Serve Their Immediate Needs:
This involves coordinating critical care for workers, including evacuations, health issues, helping with stateside family members (such as care for aging parents), and addressing team or marital conflict.
Sustain Them to Continue Serving:
Steve does regular check-ins with Encompass workers through Skype, and visits them on the field when he can–including attendance at every missional network gathering. He receives all prayer letters and is committed to praying regularly through every request. The Member Care team joins him in that, as well as personally contacting and encouraging workers on a regular basis.
“Ultimately, we want our staff members serving from a place of sustained vitality. That means they can remain committed to their calling, see fruit from their ministries, and truly enjoy the work God has given them to do.” –Steve Bailey
Join us in praying for Steve and the entire Member Care team as they provide our cross-cultural workers with the support they need to thrive as they carry the seeds of the gospel throughout the world.
Contact a missionary that you know or support and let them know that you care. Write them an uplifting letter or let them know you are praying for their ministry. There is no bad timing for encouragement.