25 Years of Member Care
13 Dec 2023
Constant Change – Constant Father
While change is a constant, in the care of Pioneers workers some things have remained the same. Our Heavenly Father’s care has not changed. His supply of enabling grace is always the same. His powerful love, comforting compassion and enduring faithfulness toward our members has stood the test of time. His provision of pastorally gifted carers serving on our team has been constant. Our need for and dependence on the Lord are unchanged.
But the care we extend to our members serving throughout the world has progressed over the years. Pioneers was birthed at a time when missionary member care was considered a vital component of the modern missionary enterprise. Extensive research through studies such as the “Reducing Missionary Attrition Project” (ReMAP I & II) examined structures and organisational practices that keep missionaries serving in their contexts, and helped determine what makes cross-cultural ministry fruitful. “Doing member care well helps us to do missions well. It strengthens missionaries so that they can effectively love, evangelize, and disciple people groups; endure hardship; and grow as people … is a direct and strategic way to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12, along with both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.” This and other research reshaped member care posture and practises. Member care is not just a personnel department but a characteristic attitude that permeates our operations. Member care is about the Shepherd’s heart. And it is impossible to separate our member care practices from our mobilisation, training, administration, and finance efforts. We serve as a cohesive team from beginning to end.
Shortly after Pioneers Australia began following the merger of other organisations, Shirley DeBoer and Rod White pioneered our can-do caring culture. Then David and Margaret Price, together with an amazing team, developed an interactive journey to build healthy evidenced-based member care practices saturated in our core values such as Passion for God, Innovation and Flexibility, and Local Church Partnerships. This focus further enhanced our selection, preparation and care practices, including the ongoing use of psychosocial and medical reviews, and seeking to develop capacity in cross-cultural living and team dynamics. Our practices were thoughtfully honed again under Brent Allred leadership of our member care team.
Adding to this in more recent years, Pioneers has developed a mission formation mentoring journey designed to help build habits of resilience. Today, each of our member carers maintains a personal connection in the journey our members walk in their calling to serve unreached peoples around the world through constant and inevitable change and challenge. Home assignments (times when members periodically visit Australia) are opportunities for deliberate reflection, careful debriefing, important medical reviews, rest and refreshment, and reporting to finance and prayer partners, and serving within their sending churches.
While our caring has incrementally changed over the years, our Heavenly Father has remained constant. To Him be all glory, honour and praise!
Paul Rayside | Member Care Team Leader
 (pp. 9-10). Doing Member Care Well: Perspectives and Practices from Around the World (2002)