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Education Topics

Plenary Sessions

A Call for the End of Toxic Leadership | Presented by Ted Esler, PhD
As leaders, we are often told that we must start with the “end in mind.” Unfortunately, leadership goes astray when we fail to see what spiritual leadership says about “the end.” 2,000 years ago a letter slipped into a mailbag bound for Colossae. That short letter is a blueprint for a Kingdom paradigm that negates toxic patterns of leadership.

What We Wish Mission Organizations did to Prepare their HCMs to Serve Where Nationals are the Leaders | Presented by Tirtha Thapa, PhD / Faith Lelei, MD
The dynamics of leadership and followership across cultures is complex. Add financial relationships, reporting expectations, language barriers, and highly principled type A Western missionaries to the mix, and it’s not surprising that challenges often arise in the context of indigenous leaders working with missionaries. This plenary will be a discussion with two national leaders who will help us explore this dynamic. It will help us grow collectively in preparing our missionaries to serve with humility, wisdom, and cultural sensitivity with and under colleagues in their host countries.

Curses, Spirit Possession and VooDoo | Presented by Pastor Tony Weedor
How can we better help healthcare missionaries understand the supernatural world of their patients? Most Western medics arrive at their mission field thinking that curses, spirit possession and voodoo are just superstitions, and have no real role in the conditions of their patients. But sooner or later, these same medics encounter clear manifestations of the spirit world and feel unequipped to respond. Tony Weedor, who grew up as a Muslim in Liberia, will lead an interactive discussion of the biblical and manifest reality of the spirit world. We will explore ways to prepare our healthcare missionaries for greater confidence and even spiritual fruit in this unfamiliar fight.

The Leader as Follower (How healthy followership impacts your global leadership) | Presented by Reverend Bert Jones
Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fill-A once said, “To excel at leadership you must first master followership." The absence of a healthy view of followership in our culture is a limiting factor in our impact and influence in leadership. Join Reverend Bert Jones as he addresses this critical subject as we seek to serve as servant leaders missionally in a global context.

Breakout Sessions

Understanding How Cultural Values Impact Education - Leadership/Followership Relationships Across the Cultural/Educational Landscape  | Presented by David Narita, MD and  Sharon Falkenheimer, MD
This session will use case studies and involve attendees in discussing the characteristics of effective teachers, learners, their culture, and systems and techniques to consider which may be effective in different settings to overcome cross-cultural issues and differences.

Community Health Evangelism and Healthcare Missions Beyond the Walls of the Hospital Compound   | Presented by Victor Chen, MD
Biblical concepts of sozo and shalom have strengthened healthcare missions with a deeper understanding of wholistic healing and community transformation. Frameworks like the global multidimensional poverty index and social determinants of health have helped nuance the interplay between health and poverty as well as the importance of community. In this session, we will discuss healthcare missions through the strategy of community health evangelism and other community-based examples that emphasize community ownership, the use of local resources and networks, a focus on prevention, multiplication and wholistic discipleship. This will also be an opportunity for participants to share their experiences with effective healthcare mission "outside the walls of the hospital compound.

Preparation and Support of Healthcare Missionaries through Pre-Field Orientation and 5:11 Virtual Missionary Support Groups | Presented by Doug Lindberg, MD
We all know that healthcare missionaries enjoy unique opportunities and face unique challenges. CMDA has been running Pre-Field Orientation for New Healthcare Missionaries for nearly 20 years, seeking to equip our colleagues with knowledge and tools to help them thrive. In 2022, we launched virtual healthcare missionary support groups, known as 5:11 Groups (based on 1 Thes 5:11). These groups touch on many of the same themes as Pre-Field, while providing a safe and supportive space for honest reflection, struggle, and growth. During this session, we’ll discuss both of these programs, along with seeking your input about what we can do to enhance them and make them more accessible and relevant to your missionaries.

The Importance of the Interdisciplinary Healthcare Team in Missions | Presented by Caroline Mrowiec, OTR/L
The importance of the interdisciplinary team has been emphasized in the training and workplace of most healthcare professionals. When it comes to medical mission work though, the interdisciplinary team is still in development, especially when it comes to allied health team members. This session will explore the needs and barriers for allied health on the mission field. We will also explore the unique roles and opportunities available to allied health professionals that build upon or differ from that of primary care team members. Come to both learn and share on the interdisciplinary team in medical missions and how, together, we can expand and support our mission teams to more effectively reach the hearts of others in the name of Jesus.

MedSend Longevity Project vs. Program | Presented by Jim Ritchie, MD
The experience of healthcare missionaries includes unique, profound burdens which often adversely affect longevity on the field and joy in service. MedSend has launched the Longevity Project, which is a spiritually-centered multiple-component program to prepare and support healthcare missionaries in their challenging setting. During this session, we will describe the components of the program, the means of accessing the program, and the financial benefits of participating. If you send or support healthcare missionaries, you'll want to know about the Longevity Project!

Role of the Church - Incorporating the Church into Healthcare Ministry? | Presented by Tirtha Thapa, PhD
This session seeks to explore how Nepali Churches and Nepali Christian Organizations have helped come alongside mission hospitals and helped them to survive and thrive. Dr. Thapa will provide insight from his roles as both a church leader as well from his experience of leadership in the national and international agencies.

How do you Reach People Where They are Spiritually | Presented by Pastor Tony Weedor
Detailed description coming soon.

Close Integrations of Chaplaincy and Medical Teams Within a Mission Hospital | Presented by Paul Opare-Addo, MD, MPH
There is hardly a more relevant way to show others the love of God than by caring for their physical and spiritual needs; Jesus was the paragon of this. Too often we have limited the way we view and practice medical missions because of the vast need, the institutional structures in place, and the way the culture of Western medicine has influenced our perspective. As cross-cultural workers, often we are more aware than many of the ways our culture has shaped our own views, but frequently we still miss it. Seeking to realign our worldview with a Biblical one, and the spiritual realities it reflects, has great value and can lead to much fruitfulness where we serve, both spiritually and medically. Our hospital has been very blessed with a strong chaplaincy team, which has been key to fostering this in our own institution. The many fabulous stories which have emerged from their ministry in conjunction with the medical team are an attestation to the power of this partnership.

2nd Chair Leadership- Western Missionaries Leading Nationals and Expatriates | Presented by Mike Chupp, MD

“I (Mike Chupp) have been asked from time to time what lessons that I learned over the course of a 20 year missionary career that I wish had been explained to me before I started my career in Africa as a general surgeon. One of those primary lessons would be the power of example coming from a second chair leader who effectively demonstrates how to be a trustworthy and diligent follower. This is especially true if the first chair leader is a national responsible for the institution or ministry we are serving.

Whether you are an institutional, organizational, or departmental in-charge or a subordinate leader in a healthcare missions ministry, you appreciate the incredible advantage of management teams with subordinate leaders who use their influence for good throughout the organization. Health care professionals who follow Christ have the greatest role model for using influence in a way that honors God but we have come from a culture that recognizes power, politics, and position. In this talk we will discuss principles for thriving in a subordinate leadership position in order to bring glory to the Father, even if our first chair leader isn’t a believer or a great team leader.”

Shifting Sands - The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Missions and the Implication for Sending Agencies and Missionaries  | Presented by Faith Lelei, MD 
There have been changes in the last decade within missions, healthcare provision, and even geopolitically. This session seeks to explore and discuss these changes from a national's perspective, and their implications on missionaries and mission-sending agencies.