Mike Frisby, Birgitta Johansson
We considered the general principles of how churches should support families going overseas and the specific support of TCKs during preparation, while overseas and on re-entry to the passport country. Children need to be involved in the preparation process and someone from the church support team needs to build a relationship with them.
- The Sunday School or Youth Group members need to be prepared and ongoing interest and relationships need to be facilitated. There is a need for ongoing quality contact during this time of changing relationships. Gifts such as books and CDs may enable TCKs to keep abreast of cultural changes at “home”.
- Churches need to work in partnership with missions to be educated about the issues affecting families and TCKs going abroad.
- TCKs need to be treated as individuals and churches need to listen to what is important to them.
- There need to be mechanisms for TCKs to share their developing knowledge and experience with the church and peers back in the passport country. Keep both sides connected.
- The whole church needs to be prepared in advance for the family’s re-entry.
- Someone needs to be available to answer the TCK’s questions about changes while they were away. They also need to be available to help out on “first time back” activities such as youth group meetings or unfamiliar practical tasks.
- Allow TCKs to take on board the elements of change in culture that they are at ease with, but also let their lifestyle challenge peers at the home base.