What is the number one reason missionaries pick up, pack up their bags and head back to their home country?
Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with finances, homesickness or cultural exhaustion.
The number one reason missionaries go home is conflict with other missionaries.
There are some great articles on why this is the case, but it is overwhelmingly clear that learning to overcome team conflict is a priority for long-term mission work.
Because of this, we incorporate a deep dive into team dynamics into every program we run. We definitely do not have to “create” conflict in order to work through this lesson. Whenever you place a group of human beings in a foreign country (or any country for that matter) for an extended amount of time, conflict will inevitably ensue. Whether it’s a major conflict or learning to overcome petty differences in personalities, a portion of each semester is given to the importance of team unity.
The beauty of encountering conflict during our program is that students are able to work it out under the leadership of a mentor. We steward this opportunity to teach them how to recognize conflict and appropriately address it in a Christ-honoring way.
It’s a privilege to be able to walk with future missionaries through conflict now so that they can thrive further and longer in the years to come.
“Living with a team and being on a strict buddy system creates more opportunity for conflict to arise than otherwise would, and part of creating a healthy team culture is to work through interpersonal conflict. The spiritual growth that our team and I have seen in this past week is in our ability to be vulnerable with each other. This is no easy task and requires humility – to accept and acknowledge weakness, to admit and share with others where we have failed, and to ask them for help in growing through the situation. I believe these three concepts are difficult for most of society to exercise, and the inability to do so is rooted in pride. But the wonderful part about this process is that, when the ones involved work together through such conflict, there is an incredible deepening of relationship with others and a strengthening of character. It also makes the next inevitable bump in the road with my brother easier to manage now that there is experience, trust, and a deeper knowledge and understanding of each other.” - Cafe 1040 Student
Interested in learning more about team conflict? Check out this article from The Gospel Coalition.
When a team is committed to sacrificing for the sake of unity, great things seem to happen. Check out this quote from a student realizing the importance of team:
"I wouldn’t still be here without this team." They’re incredible. In the past few weeks as I have seen so much of my heart revealed, they have chosen to forgive my faults and stay committed to unity. The Father has given us one vision: to push towards passion and unity in proclaiming His name in this city. I’ve seen how no sin or opposition can come against that, but instead we pull together in light as ransomed and redeemed children. I keep learning more about JC through their passion for Him."