Staying Well

This article is based on “Factors Affecting Attrition and Retention in Japan,” Janet Dallman’s thesis for the MA in Member Care from Redcliffe College and her book Staying Well. She researched not only why missionaries left Japan—attrition—but what helped them to stay put—retention.


Janet Dallman is married to Peter and they have served as OMF missionaries in Japan since 1998. After studying Japanese language and culture, they worked in church planting and student ministry in Sapporo city, before welcoming and caring for new missionaries at OMF’s Japanese Language and Culture Center. Janet currently serves as Member Care Advisor for OMF Japan and is author of Out on a Limb, a devotional book for missionaries.

This article is based on “Factors Affecting Attrition and Retention in Japan,” Janet’s thesis for the MA in Member Care from Redcliffe College and her book Staying Well. For more information, see Staying Well, available on Amazon. To receive a copy of her thesis, contact the author at



Staying Well

Mission Round Table 17:1 (January–April 2022): 4–10


As a missionary to Japan with OMF since 1998, I have seen lots of missionaries come—and go. Indeed, my husband and I have also struggled, simply to “stay” in Japan, as well as to “stay well” in Japan.

Maybe such struggles shouldn’t be a surprise. We are warned, after all, to keep alert and be of sober mind, for we have an enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). The devil is not happy when missionaries share the saving news of Jesus. Is it any wonder it’s a struggle to stay? No, we can expect it. Rather, the issue is how we can “stay well” in missionary service for as long as God calls us.

So, what about all those missionaries who have left Japan? Undoubtedly, some left for sound reasons. But I’ve always wondered whether there were any who might have been prevented from leaving had better care or help been available or appropriately utilised.

Connected to the possible early departure of missionaries—attrition—is the issue of effectiveness. This concept is captured by Loss when he says,

The same factors which drive about one out of four to terminate before finishing ten years of service … cause an additional two out of four to limp along at … reduced efficiency.[1]

The issue is not just preventing attrition, but promoting thriving, effective service. The questions of how to prevent missionary attrition as well as how to enable thriving, effective service are pertinent to all missionaries and mission organisations, in Japan and elsewhere.

In the context of mission to Japan, overall missionary numbers have declined from 2,800 in the mid-1980s to 1,700 in 2016—a drop of 39 percent in thirty years.[2] Moreover, the Japanese are the world’s second largest unevangelised people group and evangelical Christians number less than one percent of the entire population.[3]Therefore, fewer new missionaries and the possible early exit of trained and experienced missionaries are of major concern for the evangelisation of Japan, as well as for missionaries’ well-being.

My story

My story began in the Democratic Republic of Congo where I was born to missionary parents. It continued as I served briefly with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Senegal and with Pioneers in the UK, before I joined OMF. For these reasons, I’ve always been concerned about missionaries’ welfare. As a result, as part of my master’s studies in missionary member care at Redcliffe College, which I finished in July 2019, I researched not just why missionaries left Japan—attrition—but what helped them to stay put—retention![4]

Considerable research has been conducted on missionary attrition and retention. Two of the important studies are ReMAP I—Reducing Missionary Attrition Project, which was carried out in 1995, and ReMAP II—Retaining Missionaries: Agency Practices, launched in 2002. Similar studies have examined missionary attrition of specific nationalities (e.g., the “Engage” study; Good and Faithful by Hudson Deane) and in specific agencies (e.g., Toughing it Out for OMF by Back and Johnson).[5] Research concerning missionaries’ mental ill-health possibly contributing to attrition has also been conducted.[6] However, to my knowledge, no research before my own focused on missionaries in Japan across a variety of agencies. As noted by Thompson:

ReMAP focuses on … reasons for attrition, ReMAP II looks at … organizational practices that lead to retention. Both are excellent … add(ing) up to a more complete picture…. But something is still missing—the viewpoints of returned missionaries.[7]

Most of you will be reading this from outside the context of Japan. How does the research presented here apply to missionaries serving in other countries? Taylor says,

we urgently need to hear the … voice of those who returned home early … from mission service…. But we also want to study … retention of missionaries. What makes them stick?[8]

How can missionaries themselves and their agencies enable thriving, long-term service—benefitting the missionaries themselves and God’s kingdom?

My research

To answer this question, I examined the Japanese context and carried out a desk-based literature review in the areas of attrition and retention. I then conducted an online survey, which collected 218 responses, and carried out fifteen semi-structured interviews. The survey and interviews were conducted amongst missionaries to Japan—both current and former missionaries—from a range of ages, nationalities, and mission agencies, with differing lengths of service.

My discoveries

Before I consider in greater depth five key topics for missionary retention both in Japan and worldwide, allow me to highlight a few discoveries, both positive and negative, thrown up by my research amongst missionaries to Japan.

  • Firstly, I was amazed to discover how long some missionaries served in Japan! Eleven percent of those surveyed had served between 31 and 35 years! Overall, however, the survey respondents’ average length of service is/was 16.5 years. This contrasts with the ReMAP II study where length of service ranged from 6.3 to 10 years amongst Newer Sending Countries (Africa, Asian and Latin America),[9] to 7.9 to 15.5 years amongst Older Sending Countries (Europe and North America).[10] These figures are encouraging in respect of missionaries’ longevity and potential effectiveness in Japan.
  • On the other side of the coin, 40 percent of those surveyed left Japan within a decade, and the majority of those had served between 6 and 10 years, arguably just as they were starting to gain experience and become most effective.[11]
  • In regard to pre-field training that enabled them to stay in Japan, 26 percent of the survey respondents ranked seminary/Bible training top (“5” on a scale of 1–5 with “5” being the highest) and 58 percent ranked it “4” or “5”. These high rankings concur with the findings of ReMAP I, which confirmed that higher minimal training requirements correlate with higher retention.[12]
  • In regard to on-field training factors enabling them to stay in Japan, 29 percent of the respondents ranked initial language learning uppermost at “5”, while 73 percent ranked it “4” or “5”. Ongoing language learning was placed at “5” by 25 percent of the respondents, and “4” or “5” by 70 percent. These figures affirm ReMAP II’s findings that initial and ongoing language and culture study are highly correlated with retention.[13] We will consider the topic of language and culture learning in greater detail later.

  • One surprising finding was how many missionaries left Japan to support adult children in their passport countries. Writing as someone who is not a parent, I had expected parents would have to leave for the sake of younger children’s education, but not to help adult children settle in university, life, and work. This has implications for missionary families as they strive to help their children flourish in two or more worlds. It also means that agencies need to proactively and creatively engage families about this issue before arrival, during missionary service, and on home assignment.
  • Also unexpected was that survey respondents ranked “ongoing culture learning” more highly than “initial culture learning” in assisting them to stay in Japan. I wonder if the reason for that is the fact that when many missionaries first come to Japan, they are overwhelmed by language learning, so culture learning takes a back seat. But the longer missionaries remain in Japan, the more they realise they don’t just need language, but culture too. This will be considered further below.
  • Unhappily, “Ministry Mismatch” was ranked fifth overall amongst factors that influenced missionaries’ decisions to leave Japan. Moreover, survey respondents who served between 0 and 10 years ranked it top, indicating the need for honesty in mobilisation and recruitment by mission agencies, as well as candidates’ thoughtful agency selection. Therefore, agencies need to consider their mobilisation strategies and priorities very wisely, being careful not simply to recruit anyone who’s interested, without considering the reality “on the ground.” It also highlights the need for healthy expectations and ongoing discussions in regard to ministry focus and location for missionaries already on the field.
  • In regard to their agency’s on-field support that enabled them to stay in Japan, the top-ranked factor was pastoral support by missionary colleagues. This is corroborated by the findings of previous research into the value of supportive communities[14] and was also borne out in the interviews in my study. We will consider this in more detail later.
  • The high ranking of agencies’ mission, vision, and values in regard to agencies’ on-field support factors that enabled missionaries to stay in Japan surprised me, although the importance of an agency’s doctrinal statement was mentioned in the results of ReMAP I.[15] Therefore, this requires agencies to be transparent during recruitment and beyond. Agency mismatch leads to dissent and hurt on both sides, and can lead to early, even acrimonious, departure if unresolved.
  • Finally, I think the biggest surprise of all was that so many respondents mentioned the importance of “self-awareness”—that missionaries need to know themselves well, what causes them stress, how they relax, and so on. We will address this later.

Results and recommendations

I will highlight five of the most significant results of my research and their implications for mission agencies and missionaries in Japan and elsewhere.

1. God’s call

Seventy-three percent of the survey respondents, supported by many interviewees, highlighted the supreme importance of God’s call, both to serve in Japan and to leave.

Although opinions differ regarding the concept of God’s call to mission—with some emphasising the missionary-nature of every Christian’s life and others viewing missionary life as a form of vocation[16]—the sense of my question and, I believe, most survey participants’ responses largely focused on the need to be certain of God’s specific call (in this case, to Japan), because of the attendant challenges of overseas mission.

For example, one interviewee said: “Make sure you know deep in your core that God has called you to Japan, and you’re not going to keep wobbling … when it gets hard.” Another commented: “Having a clear purpose and knowledge of God’s leading is essential.” Yet another said that “without the assurance of God’s call, I probably would have left in the first year.” One ninety-year-old respondent said God’s call remained important and vibrant, having now served in Japan for sixty-six years. Meanwhile, one former missionary said:

We never intended to leave … but obviously God … had other plans. We … never regretted our decision to live and work in Japan, but neither do we regret following God’s call to [another ministry].

These comments correspond to conclusions by Fullerton, Brown, and Brierley and endorse my own experience.[17] When things are tough, assurance of and obedience to God’s call is paramount.

These results have weighty implications for missionaries and agencies worldwide. For example, prospective missionaries should be encouraged to carefully examine and test God’s call, while acknowledging differing theological views on calling. Equally, agencies should require a clear account of an individual’s leading to missionary work as well as an account of an individual’s leading to missionary work in a specific context—location, people, and/or agency. Furthermore, current missionaries should be encouraged to regularly reflect on God’s call, perhaps enabled through organisational reviews/interviews, and/or personal retreats and contemplation.

Brown says: “Ensuring a firm call at the beginning seems to contribute to resiliency…”[18] Therefore, an assurance of God’s call, both initially and subsequently, which holds firm during dark times, is needed if missionaries are to remain or if God calls them to leave.

2. Spiritual life

Survey respondents ranked a missionary’s devotional or spiritual life second in factors that helped them remain in Japan. One survey respondent said:

many times I doubt[ed] my call and/or usefulness—at those times especially my personal relationship with Jesus was/is of utmost importance.

Another interviewee commented that “Strategy’s good … but … the number one strategy is you get your people on fire.”

These results and comments correspond with the findings of ReMAP II, which identified missionaries’ spiritual life among the top three missionary retention factors.[19] Prins and Willemse, and Selvey also highlight spiritual formation, spiritual character, and healthy spirituality as retention-boosting factors for missionaries.[20]

In the light of this, then, how can both missionaries and mission agencies (1) enable continuing growth in spiritual maturity, (2) aim to persistently cultivate personal and corporate devotional practices, and (3) develop a proper understanding of spiritual warfare?

Firstly, agencies must carefully assess candidates’ spiritual vitality and resiliency and accept only those candidates who demonstrate spiritual growth and maturity along with a willingness to develop further. It may also be pertinent to consider the role of Bible training/seminary in this process. Is such training “required”—and if so, how much and to what level?—or simply “desired”? Spiritually immature new missionaries facing transition, and often with poor language ability, will struggle to feed themselves spiritually and to maintain spiritual vitality, especially in a harsh spiritual climate. Commenting on new missionaries, Bosch says:

Some missionaries are going to the field too early, without … the right foundation in Christ. … Who you are at home is who you will be on the field, but with added stress … that widen(s) existing cracks.[21]

Secondly, mission agencies need to consider how to encourage and enable ongoing spiritual vitality for all missionaries. For example, spiritual development could be facilitated through training in spiritual formation and self-awareness, regular fellowship, agencies’ retreats/conferences, regular reviews and policies regarding sabbaticals, and/or leave for spiritual refreshment.

Missionaries, for their part, must take every opportunity to spend time with Christ and his people, intentionally cultivating their personal and corporate spiritual life through things like Bible studies, prayer triplets, prayer meetings, conferences, and retreats.

Finally, missionaries and agencies need to be aware of the reality of spiritual warfare, its expressions, and strategies for handling it. One interviewee cautions that we must “always be aware that it is a battle field and … you might get … taken out if you’re not careful.”

3. Self-awareness and self-care

In their advice to prospective/new missionaries, interviewees ranked self-awareness third.

One former missionary lamented: “I wish we’d … had a deeper insight to ourselves.” Another said that “self-awareness is very important; knowing yourself in relation to … God … and your identity in Jesus.”

Yet another commented that you need to

know what works for you before you come … you don’t become a different person when you come to the field … for ministry practice … as well as … how we relate to God … know yourself, know what you need.

Closely linked to healthy levels of self-awareness is self-care.

In regard to overall survey results concerning factors that influenced missionaries to leave Japan, participants ranked poor physical health fourth, stress sixth, overwork ninth, and poor mental health twelfth. However, in regard to factors that helped them stay in Japan, survey respondents rated holidays as the twelfth most important retention factor. Furthermore, twelve interviewees mentioned a healthy lifestyle more than fifty times; and in their advice to new missionaries, seven interviewees recommended a healthy lifestyle more than thirty times.

Both Bosch and Eenigenburg stress the importance of self-care for missionary retention and effective, thriving service. If self-awareness and, linked to that, self-care are ranked so highly, how can missionaries grow in these areas?[22]

Firstly, greater self-awareness can be developed through a varied life and ministry experience before beginning missionary service. Interestingly, this was also mentioned by many survey respondents as part of the pre-field training that enabled them to stay in Japan. This highlights the value of life and work experience in the home country, as well as home church teaching and discipling, and opportunities to serve. This may mean that more attention should be given to these areas during candidacy, and that coming to missionary service somewhat later (but not too late!) might be advantageous.

Secondly, missionaries and agencies should consider how to develop missionaries’ character and self-awareness, empowering them to more adequately live a healthy lifestyle, which consists of physical, mental, emotional, and vocational health, and includes hobbies and holidays. Ideally, such education will have been taught in churches, but should also be provided during Bible/missionary training. However, opportunities for reflection and learning should be ongoing, with intentional self-reflection, perhaps through personal retreats, reviews and so forth, along with tools, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DISC Personality Test, etc.[23] While recognising that not all such tools are beneficial in all situations with every person, some means of understanding and evaluating one’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of others and how to get along together in life and ministry, is surely vital for flourishing missionary service.

Thirdly, mission agency policies, procedures, and practices should be informed and developed according to the needs of self-awareness and self-care, ensuring also that they are put into practice. Discussing Sabbath-taking, one interviewee said: “I think … leaders could have modelled it better.” Agencies urgently need to address missionary “busyness,” with leaders setting the pace by demonstrating self-care. Another respondent commented on the inability of missionaries to take a real break due to a lack of vacation cover. This, while understandable, is unhelpful in sustaining long-term ministry. Agencies have a duty to care by providing adequate leave for missionaries, including holidays, sabbaticals, and family leave.

However, teaching by churches, seminaries, and agencies, along with life-giving mission policies and procedures can only facilitate what is needed. Missionaries themselves must prioritise and practice self-awareness and self-care. A healthy lifestyle—self-care—alone, won’t solve all the problems, but it will assist missionaries to cope with high levels of stress, to operate in cultures where language and cultural demands are difficult, to manage time and ministry demands, and so forth.

4. Christian community

Interviewees ranked Christian community second in their advice to new/prospective missionaries and in the area of self-care, with one advising:

try and develop a friendship with at least one other missionary … or someone that you can relate to … take the time … to develop that relationship … it is a personal discipline.

Meanwhile, survey respondents ranked “missionary community” seventh in factors that helped them stay in Japan.

Luthar encapsulates the importance of community, saying, “Resilience rests, fundamentally, on relationships.”[24] Good relationships with colleagues was placed in the hierarchy of retention factors in ReMAP I and Brown identifies “sturdy relationships” between missionaries as vital.[25] Wilson and Hoffman comment simply: “God created us for … community,” while Nelson correlates good community life with missionary retention.[26]

Firstly, therefore, agencies need to consider how to assist missionaries in establishing and maintaining good relationships and helpful communication practices (e.g., prayer letters, Zoom, WhatsApp, visits, etc.) with their global community, including financial supporters, churches, family, friends, etc. This process should begin before arrival and be reviewed regularly. Simultaneously, missionaries’ self-care must include regular and appropriately open communication with supporters, family, and friends that is neither too frequent nor non-existent.

Secondly, although supportive friendships develop organically, mission agencies should reflect on how to facilitate and encourage opportunities for missionaries to get to know—and, therefore, support—one another. Such “sturdy relationships” can be nurtured through regular fellowship (virtual and actual), regular visits to and from other missionaries, and, ideally, by placing missionaries in teams.[27] Agencies could establish a “caring community” through “mission family” time and perhaps through basic training in member care for everyone. However, precisely because friendships develop organically, self-care demands that missionaries be proactive in reaching out to colleagues—those who value and intentionally build community are more likely to remain. Building deep relationships takes time; it may feel “risky” and may cost money. However, unless community is prioritised, missionary retention is threatened.

Thirdly, interviewees, and survey respondents to some extent, highlighted the need to purposefully establish satisfying local Christian community (as well as non-Christian friends) as much as possible. One interviewee commented that

the longer I’ve been in Japan, more of the communal elements of my faith have been able to shift to a Japanese context. I still appreciate the English context … but I’m able to, both through Japanese sermons and interactions with Japanese Christians, be encouraged.

This point is perhaps especially important to emphasise, because it is now so easy to communicate with friends in the home country using electronic means. Perhaps this trend has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when worldwide communication moved online. It has always been easy to neglect local relationships, due to fear and lack of language ability and cultural understanding, but now it is perhaps even easier not to make time to really get involved with people locally. This is something to watch out for. The ease of communication and travel (in non-pandemic times) also means that missionaries’ “rootedness” needs to be given careful thought—not travelling or communicating too easily or quickly. What does it mean to live “in” a country and not “on” it?

5. Language and culture learning

Survey respondents ranked an initial period of language learning third in factors that helped them to stay in Japan, with ongoing language and culture study also ranked among the top ten. Conversely, struggles with the Japanese language featured in the top ten reasons for missionaries to leave Japan. Interviewees, too, commented on the challenge of learning Japanese language and culture.

ReMAP I (Reducing Missionary Attrition Project) ranked language and cultural adaptation fourth in ways to reduce attrition.[28] Selvey notes: “effective cross-cultural ministry … requires … understanding … the customs, thinking and beliefs of the host culture.”[29] Personalities, family background, and culture are created and given by God, but appropriate enculturation, not simply language learning, is needed if we are to reach people’s hearts.[30]

Therefore, perhaps particularly relevant in a country like Japan that has a highly complex language and culture, these results suggest that an initial, exclusive period of language study is helpful, and also highlight the importance of ongoing language and culture study.

Mission agencies, therefore, need to ensure deliberate, ongoing language and culture study opportunities for their missionaries, while missionaries need to be intentional and enduring in their learning. Furthermore, in regard to previous comments on self-care, missionaries need to be enthusiastically deliberate in their study of their host culture, exploring new places and trying new experiences. Agencies, meanwhile, may want to consider establishing “culture workshops”, particularly for new missionaries. These may be developed independently or in collaboration with other agencies, and could be accessed locally or remotely.

Final words and “over to you”

To conclude then, my research shows that the following major topics (amongst many others) are vital for retention for missionaries to Japan:

  • the centrality of God’s call
  • a flourishing spiritual life
  • high levels of self-awareness and self-care
  • Christian community (missionary, local, and global)
  • excellent and ongoing language and culture training

But of course, these issues don’t just apply to missionaries to Japan! Any missionary, anywhere in the world, would benefit from ensuring these factors are adequately met. And any mission agency, anywhere in the world, should surely strive to see these areas met on behalf of their missionaries and for the sake of God’s kingdom advancement.

  • How could you apply this research to yourself, your missionaries, and your agency? I close with some questions for your consideration:
  • How do you evaluate God’s call on your life, and how could you help other missionaries assess and re-assess their call?
  • How could you and your agency encourage spiritual growth amongst yourselves? Allow yourself to dream!
  • How do you care for yourself, and how could/does your organisation enable you and others in this?
  • How are you participating in Christian community, and what would you like to see amongst your missionary community?
  • How could you and others in your agency learn about, engage with, and enjoy the language and culture of your host nation?

In conclusion, let me repeat the wise words that “Missionary retention among cross-cultural workers is a marathon not a sprint.”[31]All missionaries, and the agencies with whom they work, need to be intentional about building retention-boosting practices into their lives, ministries, and organisations.


[1] Myron Loss, Culture Shock: Dealing with Stress in Cross-Cultural Living (Middleburg, PA: M. Loss, 1983), 3, quoted in David L. Shepherd, “Promoting Missionary Mutual Care Through Spiritual Community” (DMin thesis, George Fox University, 2014), (accessed 24 February 2022), 33–34.

[2] John Mehn, Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil (Pasadena: William Carey, 2017), 4.

[3]Joshua Project, “Unreached: 100 Largest,” (accessed 24 February 2022).

[4] Janet Dallman, “Factors Affecting Attrition and Retention in Japan” (MA thesis, Redcliffe College, 2019).

[5] James Nelson, “The Engage! Study: Executive Summary,” EMQ 46, no. 3 (July 2010): 288–97, (accessed 7 April 2022); Hudson Deane, Good and Faithful—New Zealand Missionaries and Their Experience of Attrition (Mairangi Bay, NZ: Daystar, 2008); Phil Back and Angela Johnson, Toughing It Out? A Study of Missionary Orientation and Attrition (Bromley, UK: MARC Europe, 1988).

[6] Mark A. Strand et al., “Mental Health of Cross-Cultural Healthcare Missionaries,” Journal of Psychology and Theology 43, no. 4 (December 2015): 283–93.

[7] Craig Thompson, “Is Conflict with Teammates Really the Top Reason for Missionaries Leaving the Field?,” A Life Overseas (blog), 28 July 2017, (accessed 24 February 2022).

[8] William D. Taylor, “Revisiting a Provocative Theme: The Attrition of Longer-Term Missionaries,” Missiology 30, no. 1 (January 2002): 79.

[9] Hailie Rains, “ReMAP II—Retaining Missionaries—Agency Practices: Newer Sending Countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America,” (accessed 6 April 2022), slide 30.

[10] Mavis O’Connor, “ReMAP II—Retaining Missionaries—Agency Practices: Older Sending Countries in Europe and North America,” (accessed 6 April 2022), slide 31.

[11] Susan Plumb Takamoto, “Liminality and the North American Missionary Adjustment Process in Japan” (PhD dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2003), 127.

[12] Rob Hay et al., eds., Worth Keeping: Global Perspectives on Best Practices in Missionary Retention (Pasadena: William Carey, 2007), 18.

[13] Hay et al., Worth Keeping, 120.

[14] John Fawcett, ed., Stress and Trauma Handbook: Strategies for Flourishing in Demanding Environments (Monrovia, CA: World Vision International, 2003), 127–28.

[15] Hay et al., Worth Keeping, 16–17.

[16] Walter McConnell, “The Missionary Call: A Biblical and Practical Appraisal,” E MQ 43, no. 2, (April 2007): 210, (accessed 6 April 2022).

[17] Mark A. Fullerton, “A Missional Reading of the Psalms of Lament: Exploring the Implications of the Lamenting Psalms as Preventative Measure for Western Missionary Attrition in the 21st Century” (unpublished thesis, Redcliffe College, 2010), 16; Ron Brown, “Preparing for the Realities of Missions in a Changing World,” E MQ 42, no. 4 (October 2006): 488–92, (accessed 8 April 2022); Peter Brierley, Mission Attrition: Why Missionaries Return Home (London: Christian Research, 2006), 39.

[18] Brown, “Preparing for the Realities of Missions,” 492.

[19] Hay et al., Worth Keeping,14–15.

[20] Marina Prins and Braam Willemse, Member Care for Missionaries: A Practical Guide for Senders (Strand, South Africa: Member Care Southern Africa, 2002), 124; David Selvey, “Missionary Retention,” Faith Global Missions blog, 7 November 2015, (accessed 24 February 2022).

[21] Brenda Bosch, Thriving in Difficult Places: Member Care for Yourself and Others, Vol. 1 (n.p.: Brenda Bosch, 2014), 273.

[22] Brenda Bosch, Thriving in Difficult Places: Member Care for Yourself and Others, Vol. 2 (n.p.: Brenda Bosch, 2014), 207; Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss, Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission (Pasadena: William Carey, 2014), 194–95.

[23] The Myers and Briggs Foundation, “MBTI Basics”,; 123 Test, “DISC personality,” 19 November 2020, (accessed 24 February 2022).

[24] Suniya S. Luthar, “Resilience in Development: A Synthesis of Research across Five Decades,” in Developmental Psychopathology: Risk, Disorder, and Adaptation, ed. Dante Cicchetti and Donald J. Cohen (New York: Wiley, 2006), 760, quoted in Martha Kent, Mary C. Davis, and John W. Reich, eds., The Resilience Handbook: Approaches to Stress and Trauma (New York: Routledge, 2006), 199.

[25] Hay et al., Worth Keeping,14–15; Ron Brown, “Resilience in Ministry Despite Trauma,” 1, (accessed 16 March 2022).

[26] Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman, Preventing Ministry Failure: A Shepherd Care Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 44; James Nelson, “Excellence in Missions: Four Ways to Improve Field Staff Retention,” E MQ 51, no. 4 (October 2015): 440–45, (accessed 24 February 2022).

[27] See Lois A. Dodds and Lawrence E. Dodds, “Love and Survival: In Life, In Missions”in Collected Papers on the Care of Missionaries (Liverpool, PA: Heartstream Resources, 2000), 5–9.

[28] Hay et al., Worth Keeping,15.

[29] Duane Elmer, Cross Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in around the World (Downers Grove: IVP, 2002); William D. Taylor, ed., Too Valuable to Lose: Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition (Pasadena: William Carey, 1997), referenced in David Selvey, “The Truth of Missionary Attrition,” Faith Global Missions blog, 24 October 2015, (accessed 8 April 2022).

[30] Hay et al., Worth Keeping, 108.

[31] Kurtis Amundson, “Going the Distance: Missionary Retention,” Missio Nexus, 26 June 2017, (accessed 25 February 2022).

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