ICYMI: 12 of Our Most Read Articles in 2017

Here at the IMB, we partner with local churches to send missionary teams to the ends of the earth. This site is an important part of that partnership. This year, we dove into the missions conversation with content on a wide range of missiological issues—from theological and educational perspectives to practical topics such as short-term trips and parenting. In case you missed it, below are some of this year’s most popular titles.

A Tribute to Mothers Who Send Their Children Into Missions

Although most of us recognize the sacrifice missionaries make when they pick up their lives and move their families overseas, many of us forget to consider the sacrifices made by the families left behind. Mothers of missionaries play an invaluable role in the Great Commission. In the most widely read post of the year, Lori McDaniel honored mothers who have sent their children to take the gospel to the nations, all the while counting the cost.

5 Lies People Believe about Missionaries

Stereotypes come easy in regard to just about any group of people, and missionaries are no exception. Samantha Conners certainly thought missionary stereotypes were true . . . until she became a missionary herself. In this article, Samantha dispels the myths she believed about missionaries and helps us see that missionaries are just normal people trying to obey God’s command to make disciples of all nations.

Parents: Prepare Your Children for Missions, Even When It’s Risky

It is a natural inclination for parents to want to protect their children. But what if a parent’s desires to guard their children do not line up with God’s plan to use them? Ed Stetzer understands these competing desires well as he considers the futures of his own daughters. He presents an empathetic, yet challenging, perspective to other parents who may be wrestling with God’s plan for their children.

5 Ways Not to Return from a Mission Trip

One thing we can learn from history is that most people who go on a short-term mission trip are likely to come back with a changed or renewed vision for missions. However, whether intentionally or subconsciously, many return home with a misunderstanding of what the short-term trip was meant to accomplish. Elliot Clark presents five common, but mistaken, personas short-term teams tend to take on when they return home.

5 Missions Books that Belong on Every Pastor’s Bookshelf

There is a seemingly endless supply of resources available to pastors. This article lists five recommendations from missiologists, pastors, and theologians on the one missions book they would encourage all pastors to read.

Redeemed to Go: A Rescued Refugee Returns to Africa with the Gospel

The refugee crisis is heartbreaking, but it has also provided an enormous opportunity for believers to share the gospel with those who may never hear otherwise. This is the story of Abuk, a refugee in Amarillo, Texas. The Lord saved Abuk and her family, and now she is taking the gospel back to Africa.

5 Mistakes that Could Derail Your Short-Term Mission Trip

Short-term trips are life changing. They provide an open window into the life and work of long-term missionaries and opportunity to join in that work. However, there are common mistakes short-term teams make in the way they approach mission trips. Although some mistakes are minor, other mistakes may go so far as to jeopardize the work of long-term missionary teams. Caleb Crider explains these mistakes and gives helpful tips on how to avoid them.

Should We Care about Safety on Short-Term Mission Trips?

Mission trips are often taken to places we—American Christians—do not consider “safe.” But the Bible calls us to more than safety—it calls us to take the gospel to the nations. So, how do we think about our own safety in light of this calling? Andy Johnson presents a biblical and balanced perspective on safety and mission trips.

The Number One Reason Missionaries Go Home

Missionary attrition is an unfortunate and measurable attribute. There are many reasons missionaries may leave the field, but team conflict is the number one reason. Paul Akin explores the challenges all missionary teams face and presents five solutions to help relieve these challenges and strengthen teams.

People Are Going to Hell. Do I Really Need Seminary Training?

Varying perspectives abound in regard to the necessity of seminary training for missionaries. David Sills believes theological training is vital for missionaries. They will encounter numerous situations in which theological education is valuable—from teaching new believers to training pastors to encountering spiritual warfare. Regardless of the method, David encourages all missionaries to receive theological education in some way.

If Mr. Right Never Comes Along: A Single Woman on the Mission Field

Single women make up a large portion of the missionary force. Emily Stockton is a single woman serving as a long-term missionary. She understands the challenges single women face on the field, but she also knows the advantages singleness provides in mission work. Her words encourage other single women who are serving or considering service on the mission field. Her story also help all readers understand the value of serving with people in different life stages.

How Dinner with a Jihadi Changed My View of Missions

When Rachel Cohen was eating dinner with fellow believers in South Asia, she wasn’t expecting to find out that one of them was a jihadist—or used to be. This is the story of how God saved a potential terrorist and a tangible example of God’s power to save anyone. But it is also the story of how this radical salvation gave Rachel new perspective on missions.

Meredith Cook is a content editor for the International Mission Board. She has an MDiv in missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband in Houston, Texas. Find her on Twitter @MeredithCook716.