How to prepare medical missionaries

We polled about 100 of our SIM medical doctors, nurses and health professionals, asking them how they would prepare new medical workers for cross cultural mission.  Here are some of their responses:

  • Emphasize language learning; too many medical workers do not get adequate language — and it becomes a career weakness!
  • Prepare them for teamwork including multicultural team training
  • Help them build a good theological and missiological foundation for medical missions, including a robust biblical theology of suffering
  • Emphasize the importance of building healthy marriages and families (for the married ones) and healthy relationships for all
  • Burnout prevention; maintaining margins
  • Developing ministry vision
  • Help them articulate how medical missions is a calling (“real ministry”) and thus begin to form a new ‘identity’ as medical missionaries or healthcare workers
  • Explore with them options for ministry that may be beyond the usual preparation of medical professionals; for example simple ideas such as using home visits to minister to others physically and spiritually
  • Impart to them a vision for eventually becoming leaders in healthcare missions, and learning leadership together with local believers in the context of ‘doing’ mission

Do you have other suggestions from your perspective? I’d love to hear from you.

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