Casual Dog Days of Summer Friday

Aug 2, 2019 | Blog, Casual Friday

Ah, the dog days of summer. Life seems to slow way down, even as the days have already started getting shorter. Sorry if you came looking for fresh Casual Friday content last week. We lost our internet connection for nearly a week. That reminded me of what life was like on the mission field back in the days when there was no internet. How quickly we are spoiled. Anyway, I trust this batch of resources will compensate you for the wait.  



When it comes to missions and missionary care, there is no such thing as a dumb question. The folks at Pioneers realize that many people have basic questions, and they have put together some short videos to provide some answers. You may enjoy all of these, but look particularly at the one titled Why Do I Need a Sending Church?


Never underestimate the power of an invitation. That’s Kaitlyn Bouchillon’s admonition in this thought-provoking piece. Whether you are the one extending the invitation or accepting it, there is pregnant potential in being asked to participate.

Will you share your story of what God has done in, through, and around you?

Ponder this piece. What invitation might you extend to your missionary friend? How will you respond when you’re asked to share your story with them?


Serving as senders. Have you ever considered the importance of that concept? Neal Pirolo, author of a classic book by that title, begins a series of posts at the Upstream Collective about the strategic value of those who do not go to the mission field. As in people like you. Maybe you can share this with others at your church who share your heart for missionary care. And don’t forget to continue the series through the links at the bottom of the page.


Ever wonder why some missionaries require such a high cost-of-living allowance? Cross-cultural economics are difficult to explain. You need to understand the complex nuances of foreign living expenses, and Heather Pubols can help.



Margin. It’s great in theory, yet difficult to achieve in reality. Yet one of the keys to resiliency is margin. So how’s a field worker supposed to build it into her life? Maybe not in the way you’d think.

What if realistic margin is right in front of you?

Ruth offers some intriguing thoughts on the subject. How might you encourage missionaries to build margin into their (typically) overloaded schedules?


There’s no question that the way time is perceived and utilized on the mission field is often quite different from how it is “back home.” In an effort to be more efficient with what we perceive to be a shortage of time in U.S. culture, we often turn to time management techniques. But are those tactics biblical? And are they at all helpful on the mission field? Mike Glenn challenges both concepts in this thoughtful piece. How could you incorporate his suggestive insights into your interaction with missionaries?


Stress is a given for all of us. But stress levels for cross-cultural workers are often many times higher than for the rest of us. How can we help them mitigate the effects? This breathing technique, recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, may be just the ticket.


Have you ever wondered how Jesus managed to be so incredibly productive? How was he able to cram so much into a few short years of ministry without burning out? Kevin DeYoung thinks he knows.

Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important.

Missionaries work within a context in which the laborers are few. There is always more work to do than there are people to do it. The temptation is to try and do everything. Pray about what this article has to say, then ask the Lord of the harvest to guide you in sharing your thoughts with those field workers you know and love.


The second year slump. That’s how Taylor May describes life between the overcoming of culture shock to the anticipation of one’s first home assignment. 

In all the ways it’s exhausting, it’s just as much enlightening.

A whole different set of challenges that you can be praying for when your missionary friends are in that season of life.


Life on the mission field is characterized by change. Constant change. That requires global workers to adopt a new way of making plans. Mallory Brooks’ post will give you helpful ideas about how to pray for those you know who must cope with an approach to life very different to what they’ve previously known.


What if God sends people around the world more for the purpose of healing their souls than for rescuing the souls of others? God’s purposes are not either/or, but both/and. His plans are not simply about what he can do through global workers, but what he can do in them as well.

All of us come to the field with a ready-made set of baggage.

Sometimes the internal work that God is doing is hindered by theological baggage. Joy Smalley’s musings will have you thinking deeply yourself. How will they affect your prayers for the missionaries you know?



Much is written about returning from the mission field. But returning TO the mission field? Not so much. Kris Gnuse describes what that’s like where she ministers in Costa Rica. Her article will provide you with a lot of ideas about how to pray for those you know who are returning to their place of service.


Expectations—particularly unmet expectations—are a leading source of disappointment, discouragement, and depression on the mission field. The ladies over at Taking Route have posted a podcast about expectations. They will help you understand some of the unrealistic hopes your missionary friend might have. Or how to help them hold those expectations lightly while God unfolds his plans. If you want to dig deeper into the subject, get a copy of Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission.



Traveling with kids—especially young kids over long distances—can be exasperating, to say the least. But it is part-and-parcel of most missionaries’ lives. Ashley Felder offers some field-tested advice to help smooth out the bumps. Who do you know who would benefit from this post?



Sending and supporting the work of missions is complex and multifaceted. That’s why the folks at sixteen:fifteen will be hosting The Sending Triangle webinar on August 28. It’s free, and you can register here.


Many of us have come to appreciate the value of having a spiritual director in our lives. It’s a growing practice in missions and missionary care. Missio Nexus is hosting a webinar on the subject on August 22. I believe it would be well-worth the $25 fee (for non-members) to gain an understanding of this important topic. Maybe you can add spiritual direction to your list of missionary care skills?


If you’ve ever wanted to know more about missionary care in general; if you’ve ever wanted to network with those who have been doing the work for decades; if you’ve ever wanted to add to your own skill set in caring for sent ones—then PTM (Pastoral Training in Membercare) is for you. Coming up the first week of October, it’s time to register soon. This year they will be celebrating 30 years of this valuable conference, giving you all the more reason to be there.


Marriage counseling is not just for couples who are experiencing problems. Any marriage can be enriched and revitalized through a good marriage retreat, like the one offered by Alongside. Coming up September 30-October 4. Who could you bless with the gift of this event?


Are you working with someone in the early stages of determining their calling? The Journey Deepens offers a weekend retreat designed to help people discern their next step. You might want to consider attending along with the person you are mentoring. Coming up in September, in Indianapolis.


Also coming in September: Traction—a men’s retreat in Switzerland. “Traction is focused on helping men navigate their roles to regain spiritual footing and momentum to move forward.” Lots of opportunity for recreation and relaxation in a breath-taking environment.


Who could you send to this six-day retreat? ELIM Retreats is a ministry of Barnabas International and is devoted to caring for the hearts of global workers. September 15-20 in Eagle, Wisconsin.



We often joke about needing a caffeine fix, or a chocolate fix. Now there’s “scientific evidence” that both can actually contribute to increased cognitive function. That’s right – chocolate and coffee can make you smarter! Who knew, right? So for the missionaries you know who are slogging away at language learning—maybe a little care package would be in order. Just sayin’.



Here’s a touchy subject (pun intended): How do we safely and appropriately incorporate touch into our care for others? Granted, it may not always be appropriate, but when it is…? Rebecca Reynolds offers “a few awkward thoughts” on the subject that are worth 3 minutes of your time to read, and at least ten times that amount to ponder.


As always, thank you for making yourself available to be used by God in caring for sent ones. May he richly bless all your interactions with those who have gone out for the sake of his name.


New on my bookshelf:

  • Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck, by Jamie George
  • Innovation in Mission, by Jim Reapsome and Jon Hirst


What I’m reading this week:

  • Serving Well, by Elizabeth & Jonathan Trotter
  • Summer, A Spiritual Biography of the Season, Gary Schmidt ed.
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel


Recently finished reading:

  • The Return of the King, by JRR Tolkien
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
  • Never Quit: How I Became a Pararescue Jumper, by Jimmy
  • Beloved Dust, by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel
  • Invitation to Retreat, by Ruth Haley Barton


Up next:

  • Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller