|CONGREGATIONAL TEAM |
MOST Ministries partners with churches who have the desire and commitment to serve on a short-term mission team. These teams have the potential to touch great numbers of people including church members, the local community and the international people whom they will serve. Members of church teams have said over and over againg that one of the most powerful aspects of their mission experience was the blessings that occurred within their own congregations.
Prayer: God is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega, our Rock, our Strength, our Guide. God has already been, and will be with you, every step of the way. It was He who planted the first seed of thought and possibility for this team, and He will be there with you through planning, preparation, while you are on the field, and after you return. He wants to provide His guidance, leadership and assurance, but you have to ask! Walk with Him, talk with Him, and remember to listen!
Attitude: It is not enough to have excitement, enthusiasm, and/or commitment. Those things are wonderful and necessary, but what is needed in addition to those is an attitude of Learning and an attitude of Servanthood. Learning includes not only the specifics of the country and what you are going to do, it must start at a deeper level: what is the Biblical perspective on missions, what are the dangers of missions (and I'm not talking about the physicals dangers to you, but the potential dangers to the mission field by our limited knowledge and over-exuberant zeal). Attitude -Christ-like attitude; don't leave home without it!
Servanthood: We normally look at the word servant and think of a lower class position. Even if we think of ourselves as 'serving' on a mission team, thoughts tend to lean in the direction of serving God or serving those unbelievers in the field, but that is only the beginning. Each of us will be serving much more than that. We will become servants of each other, of our congregation, and of those that support us. Christ said, 'whoever wants to be great among you must become the least, and whoever wants to become first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...' Mark 10: 43-45
Leadership: It is possible for a short term mission trip to happen without church leadership support, but the level of 'pulpit support' usually will balance the level of congregational involvement and ownership. Get your pastor on board early!
Determining Team Specifics
Objectives: Once it is discerned that God is calling you and your congregation to serve Him, it's time to start looking at specifics. One of the first places to start is with objectives. Everyone involved with a short term team will be impacted; the 'goers', the 'senders', the 'missionary or national host', the national believers and the national unbelievers. It is important to consider all of these possibilities when creating your church's objectives.
- Who do you want to impact, and how?
- Do you have a missionary you have been supporting that you would like to serve?
- Do you have a desire to involve as many people from the congregation as possible?
- Do you have specific gifts that you want to utilize?
- Do you have a mission site that you have been praying for?
Church Liaison: Once you have your objectives in place, the Church Liaison needs to be selected. This is a very important position with very important responsibilities. Please carefully review the section on Roles and Responsibilities for the Church Liaison before selecting or accepting a person for this position. When, where, who and what: The Church Liaison and MOST Ministries will together review the objectives to determine the best possible location and project for your team. Once these are finalized, MOST Ministries can approximate the costs involved and a Letter of Intent can be prepared.
Letter of Intent: The Letter of Intent is a document stating your intentions as a congregation and the intentions of MOST Ministries to work together to organize, plan, prepare and administrate the mission stated within. This document is sent to the Church Liaison to have signed by the Senior Pastor and returned to MOST Ministries, along with a check for the Registration Fee.
This is one of the most important aspects of a mission trip, involving as many people as possible. The more people involved, the greater impact the mission will have, both here and abroad. Your 'recruiting' is two-fold. You need Goers, but you also need Senders. You can't have either one without the other.
Goers are those who will actually get on the plane and go. They will be the hands, eyes, ears, and feet of this team. They will be making a big commitment, and probably sacrifices, to be a Goer. They have a lot of work and effort ahead of them, learning and preparing to serve together as a team.
Senders are something no team member should ever be without! Senders are the people who are committed to join with you in this ministry through prayers, finances, encouragement, making or donating project materials. It is important that you see these people and enable them to see themselves as a very real part of the mission team. Senders can be found in several different groups: family and friends, congregation, and don't forget your community. This is a wonderful opportunity to share with your community who you are as a congregation and what you are doing in missions. Look at each group and consider how they can participate on this mission. Look at age, gender, skills, interests and already established groups. For your congregation, look at the women, the men, the professionals, the children, the Sunday School Classes, the Seniors, the Quilters, the mom's group, the Youth Group. What does each group need for motivation? Where would their interest and skills lie? What about the community? How can you involve them? Newspaper articles, posters in restaurants, libraries? What about the schools, the senior centers?
This starts with an understanding of 'Team' and a Bible Study on 'Servanthood'. With these as a foundation, the team will be trained in cross-cultural preparation, country-specific information, logistics and project planning. MOST Ministries provides material for this training in the form of training booklets given to each team member, but as a group, your team will study and discuss this information through a series of team meetings (follow suggestions in the Time Line).
Finally, the time has arrived for the culmination and execution of all of the effort that has taken place over several months and through the heart and hands of many people. The possibilities are now realities, and the hopes and dreams are now the present. The 'Goers' are seeing new places and faces, touching hearts and minds, feeling joys and frustrations, hearing laughter, and probably sharing a few tears. For the 'Senders,' this is the most critical time. Prayers are imperative! Constant prayer! Prayers for strength and health, safe travel, giving hearts, open hearts, wisdom, understanding, team unity and the list goes on and on... This may be the climax for the 'Goers,' but it is certainly not the end of the mission. My prayer for you is that this mission never ends, but continues on in new forms, new people, new locations and new goals, and new accomplishments.
Even though re-entry comes late in the mission process, we start discussing it at the first meeting. Re-Entry deals with the 'Goers' processing their experience in a way that leads them to share that story with others. The 'Goers' may have had an incredibly powerful experience, but if they cannot properly incorporate their new hunger and passion and growth into their everyday life, this wonderful experience can become a difficult issue.
This is without question one of the most important aspects of your short term mission. Through 'Telling Your Story,' God can motivate your 'Senders' to want to send again. He plants seeds of interest in new Senders and can use your words and passion to call new 'Goers.' It is not enough to accept the privilege and honor of participating in the Great Commission, we need to encourage and support others in joining.