5 Challenges Missionaries Face—and How Your Church Can Help

Mark Pfuetze | August 28, 2017

As a Christian counselor and seminary professor I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous missionaries over the years. All have unique experiences, but in my work I’ve identified common challenges they face. My hope is that churches will address these challenges and come alongside the missionaries they support. 

Here are five common challenges missionaries face.

1. Interpersonal Conflict

Missionaries often struggle with conflict with team members. Unfortunately, these conflicts easily grow and either slow down the mission work or shut down a whole team. 

It’s vital that missionary teams are trained to deal with conflict. I’ve seen some mission agencies do this well, but many haven’t set up a safe structure to effectively mediate conflict or help preempt these situations with conflict resolution training and personal counseling. Missionaries need counseling and training before they deploy. It will increase self-awareness and emotional intelligence, equipping them to handle future conflicts.

2. Emotionally Abusive Leaders

Emotionally and spiritually abusive team leaders can cause great harm to mission teams. Their tactics can be hard to identify, often exacerbating confusion and doubt among team members. The team, far from their home and support systems, can feel trapped with no way to deal with the heavy-handed leader. This dynamic shouldn’t surprise us if…

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