Sending agency surveyed 299 long-term missionaries.
A few years ago the founder of our training program said, “We have a lot of people who come to us with a desire to serve God internationally, but not all end up overseas. How can we help people get to the mission field? What things are helpful? What things hinder? How can we help address these issues?” These simple questions led to a search for how to appropriately steward the gifts and resources of people God has called and support them all the way into long-term missions. Out of these simple questions, the LAUNCH Survey was born.
There is no question that retention of missionaries once they reach the field is an essential issue when considering stewardship of missions mobilization. Thanks to the work of others, the missions community has studies on how to effectively retain missionaries on the field (Blocher 2005).
However, little has been published to understand the factors that help and hinder those who aspire to become long-term missionaries in the first place. The LAUNCH Survey aimed to investigate factors long-term missionaries attribute as being helpful or hindering to beginning their journey of working alongside Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.
Additionally, the survey considered whether or not generational differences exist about which factors were most helpful and which were not. The results include the most frequent positive factors leading to service, interesting generational differences that can impact future mobilization, and more questions than answers for which hindrances most get in the way of reaching the field.
The LAUNCH Survey was created following a preliminary open-ended survey of twenty respondents. From the qualitative answers of the preliminary survey, potential factors were …