QUESTION From: Richard Reid <rick_reid@MENTORG.COM> Does anybody know what the stats on the number of missionairies moving into retirement are compared to the number who are entering the career? Is this something we should be concerned with?

ANSWER From: Student Foreign Mission Fellowship materials developed in the late 1980's state that "up to half of the evangelical missions force will retire within the next 10 years." If I remember correctly something I heard while on staff with the SFMF, there was a large number of the "Builder" generation involved in missions because of their exposure to other countries through the world wars, but many of that generation are at retirement age, and there apparently hasn't been as great an interest in world missions in the succeeding generations. (Will it take another world war to interest the younger generations?)

I wonder what percentage of those retiring missionaries need their posts filled with church developers/leadership trainers and what percentage leaves a church that is mature enbough to function on its own without needing a replacement missionary?


REMAP (Missionary Attrition)
In 1995, a mission attrition survey was undertaken across 14 countries and 453 missionary sending societies under the auspices of the WEF Missions commission...Reducing missionary attrition requires a wholistic approach which starts with the selection phase and follows on through each step of the training and sending process and onto the field through increased field member care and supervision... Following are ReMAP Report Highlights:

-One career missionary in six leaves the mission field before the end of their first term for preventable reasons.... -Top reasons missionaries from Old Sending Nations are leaving the field: 24% Normal Retirement 24% children 20% Job Change 20% Health Problems 12% On-Field Peer Problems (This represents the top five attrition reasons, accounting for a total of 46% of the reasons reported. The remaining 54% break down into numerous reported reasons.)

-Top reasons missionaries from New Sending Nations are leaving the field: 23% Lack of Home support 23% Lack of Clear Call 20% Inadequate Commitment 17% On-field Peer Problems 17% Disagreements with Sending Agency (This represents the top five attrition reasons, accounting for a total of 35% of the reasons reported. The remaining 65% break down into numerous reported reasons.)

-Distribution of people leaving the field: 59% Married Couples 27% Single Women 14% Single Men

For the full ReMAP report, send $25 to World Evangelical Fellowship, P.O. Box WEF, Wheaton, IL 60189


ANSWER From: I did a quick, off-the-cuff tally of the number of long-term missionaries (4+ years) from the United States, listed for each country in the 1993 MARC Mission Handbook, and came up with a grand total of 32,700. (I'm not a numbers man, so you may want to double-check it.) Perhaps MARC could give you more information from other years. (Just for kicks, I noted that the only countries with more than 1,000 U.S. long-term missionaries listed in the Handbook are: Brazil, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and the Phillipines.) MARC's address: 121 E. Huntington Dr., Monrovia, CA 91016


The help missionaries say the most appreciate: Housing (provision or recommendations)
Vehicle (Provision or assistance in selection)
Information on schools and recreation programs for children
Household goods and clothing (gifts, loaned items, shopping tips)
Assistance in fitting into home-church ministry (clear communication of expectations and goals)
Information and recommendations for day-to-day life in the local community (maps, recommended doctors, mechanics, restaurants, shops, etc.)
Updates on the latest everything!
--From Vol. 1, #3, IN FOCUS, P.O. Box 2727, Huntington Bch, CA 92647