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Engage! How do we keep cross-cultural missionaries motivated?

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Engage is a cooperative, confidential survey of field missionaries designed to reveal key factors that impact missionary engagement. To sign up for the 2014 Engage Survey please visit www.gmi.org/engage


Download the 2007 Executive Summary from the first Engage Study HERE.

1,000 Missionaries Tell What Helps Keep them on the Field

What can 1,000 missionaries do? A tremendous amount of Kingdom work – if they stay on the mission field.

More than 1,000 cross-cultural missionaries from 10 North American sending agencies recently indicated what motivates them and helps them remain on the field. In one of the broadest single studies of field missionaries ever, GMI is partnering with three other organizations to produce Engage!, the ongoing research initiative gleaning this information.

A valuable tool to effect change

Missions participating in Engage! receive research results like these specific to their agency.

Preliminary results from Engage! have provided a wealth of information for individual agencies. Each agency received a detailed report about key factors in missionary service. In addition, those results were compared to aggregated results from other participating agencies, indicating relative strengths and areas that could be improved.


Engage! has been a valuable tool for our leadership team,” said Greg Gripentrog, President of OC International. “It has helped us to better understand our missionaries and has shown us how we need to change to better serve and support them.”

Unique partnership harnesses power of Internet surveys

Engage! was initiated by the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance. GMI coordinates the partnership, working with mission leaders to design the survey. Best Christian Workplaces Institute provides the online resources to minimize work for participating missions. Follow-up surveys are administered to former missionaries to gain insight into factors leading to attrition. Generating Change, a UK-based organization specializing in change management, formulates the follow-up questions.

What have we learned?

Engage! is uncovering several meaningful links to missionary engagement. Even more exciting, researchers discovered six key factors influencing missionary retention:

  • How agencies select, assign, promote and re-assign people
  • How senior leadership sets the pace in terms of vision and character 
  • How well agencies prepare missionaries to integrate into the field
  • How well agencies involve missionaries in key decisions
  • How purposeful and fruitful the ministry is in the eyes of the missionaries
  • How consistently supervisors provide feedback to missionaries on their work

Mission agencies have a tremendous investment in Kingdom workers and resources. How mission leaders and administrators exercise stewardship of resources has major impact. We’re helping agencies to verify the positive difference they make and to prioritize their efforts in improving member care and development.