The Number One Reason Missionaries Go Home

Paul Akin | June 15, 2017

The most common reason missionaries go home isn’t due to lack of money, illness, terrorism, homesickness, or even a lack of fruit or response to the gospel.

Regretfully, the number one reason is conflict with other missionaries.

Yes, you read that correctly.

From my own experience on the field and after five years of training, equipping, and sending missionaries, I have witnessed this truth firsthand. In all my travels around the world, I’ve spent countless days with missionary teams of all types, sizes, and makeups, and one reality remains true: All of them are deeply flawed.

Toward the end of the 20th century the World Evangelical Alliance released a significant study that found “conflict with peers” the top reason North American missionaries leave the mission field.

Why Teams?

In light of the seemingly inevitable conflict with other missionaries, why emphasize teams at all? The simple answer is that it’s the example and model we see in the New Testament. Jesus and his disciples lived and did ministry together. Paul and Barnabas—set apart by the Holy Spirit and the church in Antioch—went out together on the first missionary journey.

Conflict within missionary teams is inevitable in a fallen world.

We see further evidence…

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