MOP-up = Member Orientation Program under pressure
Needs of first-term missionaries:
- First-term missionaries often reach an emotional low-point midway through their first term.
- The transition from the structure and clear expectations of language school to the relatively unstructured nature of a church planting assignment results in frustration and a lack of a sense of accomplishment for many first term missionaries.
- The principles learned in MOP regarding effective cross-cultural transition and ministry are often forgotten by the time that a missionary arrives on the field, and even more so by the time that a missionary has been there a year or two. A refresher or reminder is needed to ensure that the new missionary builds their ministry upon these principles.
- A clear sense of personal calling and maintaining a healthy personal spiritual life are primary factors believed to reduce missionary attrition. These can be strengthened by appropriate encouragement and coaching.
- Some first-term missionaries need a clearer understanding of their accountability to mission leadership for productive use of their time.
- Timing. First term missionaries will be assigned to MOP-up by their field leadership after at least one year but no longer than two years on the field.
- Coaching. Each first term missionary will be coached for a period of no less than 6 coaching sessions (i.e. 3 month period). The coach will be assigned by SEND U. The coach will ask questions to help the missionary to complete the written self-assessment. The missionary can also use the coaching sessions to discuss any issues they are facing in their adjustment.
- Review of MOP training. They will review the MOP handouts on the SEND U wiki. This review will be a self-study, but questions arising from the MOP materials can be addressed in the coaching sessions.
- A Self-Assessment. After reviewing MOP materials, the missionary will be asked to write a personal assessment, addressing the following topics. The completed assessment will be sent to their coach.
- The health of their personal devotional life
- What they have learned about their host culture
- Emotional health/ relationships.
- A re-evaluation of their stated definition of success for their first term.
- Plan for growth. Together with the coach, the first-term missionary will develop an individual growth plan for the coming year. This plan will outline what the missionary plans to do to keep learning and growing as a new missionary. This plan will also be shared with the missionary’s team leader.
The Desired Outcomes:
- Reduction of attrition in missionaries
- Greater awareness, appreciation and use of coaching by missionaries who are not in leadership roles
- Significantly higher conscious application of MOP principles, resulting in more effective cross-cultural ministry, and reduced stress in cross-cultural living
- Each first-term missionary will have an individual development plan.
- SEND first-term missionaries will affirm the statement that SEND is supporting and enabling them in their transition from language school to their cross-cultural ministry assignment.