Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Short-Term Missions: The Importance of the TEAM

Many people think of a “team” as those who are actually going on a trip. But the real “TEAM” includes so many others.

The Senders:

This may be the most overlooked part of the TEAM. I believe that having a large base of “senders” is critical to an effective ministry. These are the people who buy-in to the vision of the trip and offer financial and prayer support.

Some people have a hard time asking for money, but we need to remember that God has given some people a passion (and the ability) to give. I can’t speak for everyone, but investing financially in these types of experiences for others is an enormous blessing to the giver! I don’t want to rob anyone of that opportunity, so I’m not afraid to ask.

The enemy is on the attack when teams head to dark places for the purpose of furthering the Gospel. One way to prepare for battle is through a hefty covering of prayer. Again, there are people who prayer warriors – I want as many of those people in my corner as possible, so I garner their support in any way possible.

The Sent:

Selection of those who actually go on the trip is important. This ultimately revolves around the purposes of the trip. For example, work trips may require people with certain skill sets or evangelism trips may require certain language skills. No matter what, it is important that each individual feels called to participate. (I will elaborate more on this group in another post).

The Receivers:

It is rare that you would go on a trip without coordinating through a host missionary or “national” (someone who lives/works in the host country). It is important that you have a good relationship with them, that you have clear communication, and that you are clear on each other’s vision/purpose for the trip.

In our case, the receiving missionaries had ministry projects that they needed a team to help them pull off. Our goal was to engage our students in stretching ministry experiences in a different culture.

All of these people, together, make up the TEAM. Each has an important role to play for a trip to be successful.

As a matter of chat…

Have you ever been a sender? How did God bless you through being on the TEAM in that way? How can the “sent” effectively communicate and update the “senders” so that they are involved in the entire process?

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