Casual End of the Year Friday

Dec 21, 2018 | Blog, Casual Friday

Here we are at the end of 2018—already! Hard to believe, isn’t it? I suspect that your calendar looks about as full as mine these days, so I won’t overload this final edition of Casual Friday for the year. As you celebrate the Incarnation, as you enjoy the Advent season, as you relish all that Christmas is to you, don’t forget your friends out there in other lands. In whatever way God warms you heart this next week, find some way to pass it on. Some of these resources may get you started.



Larry McCrary, over at Upstream Collective, has just made available a handy PDF checklist for those who are leaving the country soon. Pass this along to those you know who are preparing to go soon.



Is pressure a liability or an asset on the mission field? It depends, says C. Anderson in this post, which includes ways to turn liabilities into assets.



How does one nurture a concept of home when life is so mobile? Michele Phoenix knows.

Home is kaleidoscopic for us.

Read this to increase your understanding of how TCKs feel—and thus enhance your interaction with them and your prayers for them.



If you have children on the mission field, you might be interested in this unique retreat designed just for you. Coming up soon (mid-January) in the Dallas area. Tell the other POMs (parents of missionaries) you know about it, too.


The ReBoot MK re-entry programs for 2019 are now open for registration. These are for Canadians and are hosted in Canada. Know anyone who might be interested?


Missio Nexus will be hosting a webinar in on the topic of partnering between senders and sent ones. You may want to have your entire missions committee watch this. Register now for this January 17 event.


Barnabas Zentrum has posted their schedule of debriefing opportunities for 2019, beginning in February. If you know anyone who is returning to the U.S. between now and then, you might want to direct them to this site. Early registration is advised. Maybe you could cover the cost for someone? While you’re visiting their site, check out the other services they offer to cross-cultural workers.


Believe it or not, it’s already time to register for the annual Midwest Conference on Missionary Care. Held in Minneapolis, on February 15-16, this year’s theme will be “Living in the Tension Between Rest and Risk.” This is a great opportunity for networking with other church members who are involved in missionary care.


Far too many missionaries are driven by shame, and many more suffer from its effect on their ministry. Potter’s Inn is sponsoring a one-day seminar by Dr. Curt Thompson, author of The Soul of Shame, January 25, in Colorado Springs. You may be interested in expanding your understanding of this topic and learning ways to deal with it.


The folks at Thrive have opened registration for their July, 2019 women’s retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Who could you host for the exceptional deal? Want to volunteer to help at the retreat? There’s opportunity for that, too (scroll down a bit on the page).


It’s not too early to register for the ABIDE re-entry debriefing coming up in February. In fact, TRAIN International, the host, is offering 2018 prices for this and their ORIENT pre-field program scheduled for April. Who could you bless by paying their way to one of these events?



The folks at To Every Tribe, in their recently published magazine, Ekballo, offer two helpful articles for your church missions committee. The first is about how to develop church-based missionary support teams. The second is called Protecting Your Missionaries in a Digital Age. You’ll want to take a look at both.

The latest edition of Postings from Catalyst Services is a list of the best missions books of 2018. You and your missions committee should take a look. Note that there are a couple of missionary care books included.



Missionaries are not immune to mental health problems, or even to substance abuse. How do you know if the missionary you care about is suffering from these? Mental Health First Aid USA wants everyone to be equipped to recognize and respond to this challenge. (Note: This is in no way meant to be an alternative to professional help. But early detection can go a long way toward preventing the damage that comes from unaddressed issues.)


This is the final Casual Friday for 2018. I’ll be taking a short break to spend the holidays with family. The next post will be on January 11, 2019(!). Merry Christmas, everyone!


New on my bookshelf:

  • Take Care of Yourself: Survive and thrive in Christian ministry, by Pablo Martinez
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
  • The Path of a Peacemaker, by P. Brian Noble
  • Vantage Point: A new view of rest, rhythm, and the work of God, by Brenda Jank
  • Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton
  • Crafting a Rule of Life, by Steve Macchia
  • The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith
  • All Stressed Up and Everywhere to Go! by Gaylyn and Ken Williams
  • The Sacred Echo: Hearing God’s Voice in Every Area of Your Life, by Margaret Feinberg

What I’m reading this week:

  • Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems
  • Comfort Ye My People, by Kay Bruner
  • Those Who Wait, by Tanya Marlow
  • Celebrating Abundance, by Walter Brueggemann
  • 25 Days of Advent, by Kenneth Boa
  • Good News of Great Joy, by John Piper
  • Dragging Baggage: A Guide for Those Struggling on the Mission Field, by Alice Young

Recently finished reading:

  • Cosmic Christmas, by Max Lucado
  • The Innkeeper, by John Piper
  • The Birth, by Gene Edwards
  • Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again, by Rachel Evans
  • Making Space for Millennials: A Blueprint for your Culture, Ministry, Leadership and Facilities, by Barna
  • The Greatest Christmas Stories of All Time, by various authors
  • The Glory of Christmas, by assorted authors

Up next:

  • The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns
  • Formed for the Glory of God, by Kyle Strobel
  • Receiving Them Well, by Lisa Ennis & Lori Bryan
  • Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith