After we have felt the feelings and admitted the reactions we experience when someone leaves our team, ministry, or church, we can then focus on how to respond well. I now offer six responses (from the upcoming book) we can implement to help us stay well when others go.
In our pre-departure orientation at Christar, I teach a workshop on change, specifically the changes one needs to expect when choosing the cross-cultural life. I begin the session by creating a timeline on a large white board. I add initials to the timeline as I recount the comings and goings of my overseas team. Over the span of ten years, our team experienced fifteen team changes, not including the normal ebb and flow of home assignment (which is difficult enough on its own). In our upcoming book, I have identified some common reactions felt by those who say goodbye to exiting teammates. I offer them here as a sneak peak.
By now you probably know that my colleague, Sue Eenigenburg and I are co-authoring a book. Our working title is “Grit and Grace in Cross-Cultural Ministry” but that may change.