The last 100 years of missionary medicine have seen great successes in much of the world. The strategies we have used and the strengths we have focused on have brought physical and spiritual health and healing to millions. The future demands answers to many questions: “Where do we go from here?” “How do go together where God wants us to go?” “How do we most wisely use personnel, partnerships and resources?” “Am I willing to share my knowledge, lessons learned and skills with others and am I willing to learn from them?” and “Will we spend adequate time in prayer seeking God’s direction for the future?”
We have several challenges for the coming years. There is no doubt that missionary healthcare is still one of the most effective means of impacting lives worldwide and for bringing about biblical transformational change in individuals and communities. God has, and always will, use wholistic healthcare to heal lives and bring people to Him.
Will the same strategies we have so effectively used in the last several decades work in the 10/40 window? Reaching the unreached, ministering in very difficult areas of the world, caring in the urban slums and caring for others, like the urban elite, will require new strategies and direction. In today’s world, nobody lives or works in a vacuum. We are destined to fail in healthcare ministry if we operate as if we do. Crucial to the future is a very intentional unity in strategic thinking, planning, work and support of one another.
We must call for our mission leaders to develop a greater sense of teamwork and partnership. We must encourage our organizations and projects to draw on the strengths of each other. We must have a forum to freely share ideas and develop strategies; a “think-tank” for medical missions and international healthcare. CMM will actively support and encourage this type of development.
Medical missions has accomplished great things; we must not rest on our laurels but continue to move forward in response to God’s call. We have entered an age of information, best practices and evidence-based medicine. In our settings in international healthcare, research, data collection and networking is becoming of great importance. We must be willing to examine what we do, evaluate our effectiveness, learn from others and be willing to change. We can only do this as we have good information available.
Individual donors and funding agencies are also looking more and more for evidence-based best practices. Their decisions on funding of our programs and projects will be based on our ability to show good data. We must develop networks, materials and tools to encourage you and help you to be most effective.
Finally, Center for Medical Missions is actively working towards and seeking partnerships with our international cohorts in CMF International, International Christian Medical & Dental Associations and others so we can most effectively serve you and meet your needs.