One of the tragedies of our day is the high attrition rate among missionaries. Sincere young adults give their lives to take the Gospel to a waiting world, only to return home permanently for preventable reasons.

Though they went out to the field with high motivation, 75% of “career” missionaries return within 10 years, feeling disillusioned and defeated. A recent survey in a difficult unreached people group area showed the average tenure was 28 months! Preventable missionary attrition is worse than the casualty rate of US military forces at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Local churches can step up in their biblical role of support and encouragement of these dear workers sent out to the unreached. We encourage the formation of a specialized group within the church to focus on one missionary / one missionary family as a “Barnabas Team.”  They meet together monthly to pray for “their” missionary and discuss how they can assist and propel them through the tough life of a missionary to continue on the field.  This one key means of encouragement can prevent so much of the missionary attrition we see.


The Barnabas Team gives attention and expertise to practical help and encouragement to missionaries in these areas:

  1. Personal moral support/encouragement

  2. Logistical support – planning, moving, shipping, resourcing

  3. Financial assistance – fund-raising, accounting, banking, management

  4. Missionary children’s education – choices, curriculum, resources

  5. Security & contingency– preventative, planning, equipping

  6. Technology – training, maintaining, assistance

  7. Prayer – propagating, promoting, and participating in prayer for them

  8. Communication – newsletters, Internet, direct

  9. Field visits – pastoral care, marriage and family support, ministry projects

  10. Re-entry support – for “furlough” or “home assignment, refresh, recuperation, reporting, reintegrating

Propempo can train your church to do these things! We exist to help churches be more effective, biblical, and strategic in raising, sending, and shepherding their people to reach the last peoples of the earth to fulfill the Great Commission for the glory of Jesus Christ.

David C. Meade

David is the founder and General Director of Propempo International. He has over forty years' experience in church planting, pioneering field ministry among UPGs, and leadership both on the field and in non-profit organizations. He is local-church-oriented, serving as missions pastor/elder for over twenty years. He loves teaching and mentoring church leaders and missionaries preparing for service in the tough places of the world.

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