Christian Life Coaching Bookstore

The 7 Best Practices, by Tim Olson

Aug 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Missions Coaching - Guest Posts

timolsonface1An alarming trend: “Over the past 20 years there has been an increasing number of people leaving the mission field for reasons that could have been potentially prevented or avoided!”

What are these “potentially preventable reasons” and what are the best practices to retain personnel?

In a reliable study on missionary retention and the ability of a mission agency to keep its people, the reasons given for leaving were generally stated as:

  • work or team related
  • dismissal by the agency
  • personal reasons
  • agency reasons.

The study compares high and low retention agencies and identifies seven best practices high retention agencies are doing to increase the retention of their personnel. They are

1.     Higher emphasis on prayer

2.     Greater emphasis on screening of new applicants

3.     More pre-field training

4.     Effective communication of plans and job descriptions

5.     Opportunities provided for ongoing personnel training and development

6.     Emphasis on growth in one’s personal spiritual life

7.     Good leadership practices, i.e.,

– On field supervision

– Identifying and acting on problems

– Conducting annual ministry reviews

This list demonstrates the impact when leadership understands and deals with the needs and issues of those in their care. Unfortunately, the higher retention agencies represent only about a third of the 65 agencies working in 22 nations included in the study. While coaching individual missionaries is vital, this study underscores the increased trickle down impact of coaching at the leadership level.

VanMeter, Dr.Jim, 7 Best Practices, Paraclete Perspectives, Vol.5 No.2


Located in New Hope, Minnesota, Tim Olson has his own business as a personal life coach after years as a pastor, teacher, school principal, business owner and missionary. In addition, for 1/5th of his time, he serves as a leadership coach for the National Fathering Ministry staff both in the US and in Ukraine. Tim received his training in the Christian track of Institute for Life Coach Training, is a member of Christian Coaches Network and co-founded Mission Coaches Network. For more, see


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.