When I recently read an article about four common characteristics among pastors who experienced moral failure (infidelity), it struck me that the lessons to be learned from their failure are very applicable to missionaries as well. The issues that pastors and missionaries face are not exactly the same but there is a lot of crossover. You can read the whole article here.
In this post, I have listed the four characteristics and drawn out what lessons missionaries can learn in order to protect themselves from moral compromise. The warnings here are mostly for men, but I am sure that many women will be able to find value in these observations as well, if not for themselves directly, then at least for the men in their lives.
In a study of 246 men in full-time ministry who experienced moral failure in a given two years period, Dr. Howard Hendricks found the following four common characteristics:
1. None of the men were involved in any kind of real personal accountability.
2. Each of the men had all but ceased having a daily time of personal prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
3. Over 80% of the men became sexually involved with the other woman after spending significant time with her, often in counseling situations.
4. Without exception, each of the 246 had been convinced that sort of fall “would never happen to me.”
Now let me offer some comments on each of these in order to help missionaries (especially male missionaries) to think about how to avoid ending up in this kind of disaster.