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TCK Ministry

We love Third Culture Kids!

In fact, several of us who serve with the GYFM are adult Third Culture Kids ourselves! It’s our joy and privilege to come alongside MTW mission kids and their families by providing resources, training, care, and counsel for these Third Culture Kids and their parents.  We build relationships with MKs even as we work to create and capitalize on strategic opportunities to encourage and empower MKs in their relationship with Christ, His people, and His Kingdom call on their lives.

Our work extends through MTW as God continues to open doors for us to minister to TCKs from all walks of life.  In fact, as the TCK experience becomes more and more common in the wake of globalization, high mobility and inter-cultural realities, we pray God enables us to engage this unique global population with the gospel.

Our Goals for this ministry include:

    1. Supporting & celebrating TCK’s and their families through the unique opportunities and challenges of adolescence and the TCK experience.
    2. Facilitating retreats, conferences, and mission trips as opportunities for MKs to be together, be known, and to experience the love of God through redemptive relationships, authentic worship, and engaging God’s Word.  Click here to see our upcoming events.
    3. Educating, equipping and encouraging MTW departments, leadership, and parents in reaching the next generation.
    4. Enlisting churches and individuals to pray, participate, and partner with the ministry.  Click here to partner with us.


What is a Third Culture Kid?
According to Dave Pollock and Ruth VanReken (authors of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds), a TCK is:

“An individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than the parents’ culture, develops a sense of relationship to all of the cultures while not having full ownership in any. Elements from each culture are incorporated into the life experience, but the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar experience.”

In other words, having left culture #1 (the passport culture), they land in culture #2 (the host culture or cultures), and finding they’re home in neither they connect in culture #3 (“Third Culture”)—a culture not defined by nationality or geography, but made up of others who’ve grown up cross-culturally.

“Why Third Culture Kid Ministry?”

TCKs tell the best stories!  Filled with comedy. Laced with mystery. Acquainted with tragedy. We believe God can maximize the tremendous gifts of the TCK experience, and can redeem the wounds. He’s done it in our lives and we love seeing Him do it in others.

About 20 years ago, sociologist Dr. Ted Ward dubbed TCK’s the “prototype citizens of the future”.  That “future” is now!  And we believe TCK’s are uniquely equipped to impact a globalizing world!  We pray that as the church invests in TCK Ministry, we will see an emerging generation of missional leaders raised up who have greater facility in cross-cultural ministry than their parents.

But TCK’s are worth it in and of themselves—not merely because of their potential as emerging leaders.  It is incumbent upon the church to take her missional enterprise seriously: To not only send a check, but to under gird mission families by surrounding them with a web of support—especially helping them as parents and caring for their kids.  Adolescence is tough enough to navigate without the compounding effects common to mission service: isolation, spiritual warfare, the intensity of front-line ministry, and the challenges of growing-up cross-culturally.  Sadly, MK’s are often the invisible wounded of missions.  We want to see, support and celebrate them!

Would you prayerfully consider joining us in this mission?


What we offer?
The GYFM team works to minister to TCKs and their families in several ways:

    1. Relational Ministry: We desire to build relationships with mission kids and families around the world face-to-face at retreats, conferences, MK mission trips, and field visits; as well as through facebook, email, and Skype.  As our team and GYFM Associates (volunteers) expand, we’re seeing more and more relational ministry impact.
    2. Events: We provide resources, training, care and counsel for mission kids and families through things like:
      a. Interview and Orientation—Where we introduce ourselves and the ministry to new missionary candidates and begin building awareness and rapport toward future relational ministry.
      b. Cross-Cultural Ministry Internship—Where we help prepare new missionaries and mission youth to successfully navigate the challenges of cross-cultural ministry as a family.
      c. Area Retreats—We lead a team of youth ministers to provide a week-long retreat for “tweens” through college age TCKs from a given region of the world each year: Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe/ Africa/ Middle East.  The goal is to provide spiritual refreshment and renewal through worship, teaching, small groups, fellowship, counsel, and rest.
      d. Summer Conference—This is a Summer Camp experience for TCKs who are in the U.S. during the summer for their Home Mission Assignment (or Furlough).  Kids experience spiritual growth and encouragement through time with camp counselors, enjoying activities like swimming, rafting, hiking, ropes course, etc… while engaging in worship, bible study and prayer.
      e. Re-Entry—This is an opportunity for missionaries and their kids to debrief and unpack their experience on the field as they transition back to the U.S.  We give kids the opportunity to voice their fears and frustrations as well as share their stories and joys.  We help them process and prepare for this big transition in their lives.  And we play with them and pray for them through it all.
      f. TCK Mission Trips—These are unique opportunities for mission kids from around the world to join together on a short-term mission trip.  We bring together a team of teen and college TCKs along with gifted adult leaders to serve.  Our goal is for MKs to discover they are uniquely wired for cross-cultural ministry, discover their own gifts and passion, and to stretch their kingdom vision.
    3. Counseling & Crisis Response: We are on call for issues that arise on the field and respond through phone and email consultation, and will travel to meet with mission families in crisis on the field.  We provide pastoral counsel and work with counseling staff, and network to connect kids and parents to professional care and resources as needed.
    4. Resources: We provide seminars and consultation; review and recommend articles, books and websites that address parenting, adolescence and the TCK experience; and connect mission kids and parents to other helpful organizations and opportunities.


GYFM Associates Program
Missionaries are on the front lines of taking the gospel to the world. Without support and encouragement cross-cultural ministry takes a toll on them, their children and the whole family. The Global Youth & Family Ministry Associates program is a way for us to connect and encourage Third Culture Kids and their families in a unique a personal way.

Global Youth & Family Ministry Associates are U.S. based youth ministers who volunteer their time to serve mission kids and families around the globe.  Each Associate is experienced, gifted, called and passionate about youth ministry.  Our GYFM Associate team is made up of leaders with a deep love for Jesus, his global church, and his work around the world.  These outstanding men and women have a big heart for mission kids and families.  Over the years they have developed significant relationships with TCKs and a deepening understanding of the TCK experience.

Our GYFM Associate Team:

Kevin Burrell
Bret Carl
Matt Harris
Steve & Katrina Dalbey
Naphtali & Alyssa Marshall

Interested in becoming a GYFM Associate?
Contact us for more information.