Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2-2009


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education); Under the Supervision of Professor Ronald G. Joekel
Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 John S. Basham


The purpose of this study was to examine the lived field orientation experiences of 12 missionaries living in Kenya and Tanzania relative to their perceptions of personal effectiveness. This study was driven by how a segment of missionaries described their field orientation in relation to perceived effectiveness on the field. Four major themes relative to field orientation emerged. Recommendations relating to missionary field orientation programs were offered.

Every year thousands of new missionaries relocate overseas with the intent of ministering in a new culture. All experience cultural shock and problems. Orientation experiences and personal definitions of effectiveness could impact why some leave the field and some remain.

This qualitative, phenomenological study examined orientation experiences. Data collected during a series of interviews was developed into strong narratives. This approach allowed the participants voices to be heard as they reflected on their experiences.

Four major themes (relationships, communications, language and culture, and calling and personal discipleship) were found to be extremely important to all participants. Interestingly, only one (calling and personal discipleship) had any connection to participants’ definitions of personal success. Regardless of personal feelings related to their orientation, data revealed that field orientation had little to do with participants’ return to the field. This was determined totally by their personal understanding of a calling from God.

Advisor: Ronald Joekel