Cross Cultural Leaders Networks

Every year one in 20 long-term missionaries leave the field prematurely, and 70% of this loss is avoidable. The reasons vary— burnout, loss of vision, conflict with co-workers, moral failure— but the result is the same: after years of learning language and culture, building relationships with nationals and engaging in ministry on the field, a strategic missionary leader suddenly leaves.

Not only can this attrition devastate the departing missionary and his or her family, but it can be especially hurtful to the national church and its leaders.

In 2007, our team of four veteran missionaries was invited to come to Cambodia to study missionary attrition and to create a system to address the problem. As a result we started a yearlong peer learning community for 25 leaders from missionary, aid and development, and NGO organizations in Cambodia. The goal was to adapt CRM’s leadership development and spiritual formation principles to address the specific needs of cross-cultural ministry leaders, to reduce unnecessary attrition among key missionary leaders. This training could then be adapted to reproduce healthy spiritual practices and leadership development for leaders in the national church.

Over the past 10 years, CCLN networks have continued to grow as they focus on helping leaders re-clarify their calling, create intentional systems of self-care, and especially to embrace practices to increase intimacy with God. Each network involves 25-40 mission leaders committing to be part of a yearlong cohort:

  • 1. Meeting as a whole group for two-day training retreats 4 times each year
  • 2. Monthly small group gatherings to process their learning and go deeper in "safe community"
  • 3. Monthly coaching with a member of our leadership team

Key distinctions of the CCLN process include:

  • Integration of leadership development and spiritual formation
  • Learning through on-going relational networks and coaching that encourage lifelong learning, accountability and personal integrity (it’s a process not a program)
  • An intentional lifelong developmental framework (member development not just member care)
  • Helping leaders to see how the Lord has worked in our lives and uniquely shaped us. We will be able to clearly articulate our vision and values for life and work
  • Reproducibility - giving leaders tools for developing others in their mission organizations and national church leaders

CCLN is currently facilitating networks in Phnom Penh Cambodia, Siem Reap Cambodia, and South Asia. Over the past 10 years, we have facilitated training for 380 missionary leaders from 87 difference agencies & NGO's. In the next two years we hope to expand to other locations where there are few resources available and where the presence of cross-cultural missionaries is critical to the health and development of the national church.