The title of this book points to a feature—the missionary family—often considered to be a distinctive of the Protestant missionary movement. Certainly the presence of missionary families in the field has been a central factor in enabling, configuring, and restricting Protestant missionary outreach. What special concerns does sending missionary families raise for the conduct of mission? What means are available for extending care and support to missionary families? These issues are the focus of the chapters in part 1 of this book.
In recent years an increasing number of reports have surfaced of sexual abuse in mission settings. Some reports have been based on “recovered memories,” the assessment of which raises difficult questions. Clearly sexual abuse in mission settings and how to understand allegations of abuse based on recovered memories are matters of grave concern to mission agencies and mission supporters as well as to missionary families. Part 2 serves the mission community by scrutinizing such matters, offering legal, historical, and psychological perspectives on the topic.
In a new feature, “Forum on Sexual Orientation and Mission: An Evangelical Discussion,” the Evangelical Missiological Society takes up a pressing issue of our day. Fourteen evangelical scholars participate in the discussion found in part 3. Far from being the final word, this forum is presented with the prayer that it will serve as an opening to and basis for ongoing missiological conversation about an urgent and timely topic.