RELATING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A
SHORT-TERM MINISTRY TEAM TRIP
One of the very best ways to introduce people to missions is through a GOOD short-term ministry team trip. One of the very best ways to dissuade people from missions is through a BAD short-term trip. With this in mind, as Emmaus Road International was determining to add ACTS Ministry Trips to its offerings of resources, the leadership “hammered out” five principles to govern their Trips.
PRINCIPLE ONE: The Team Leader initiates the trip by asking the National host the following questions:
- Do you want a team? In asking this question, the leader must make it very easy for the Host to say, NO! There are many reasons he may say, YES, even as he is wishing they would not come.
- When do you want us to come? Tragically, Hosts are imposed upon at the convenience of the vacations, etc of the group coming. A true helping team will come at a time that the Host deems most advantageous to him.
- For how long do you want us to come? We usually require the trip to be at least three weeks. A shorter time is less economically sound. Further, in selecting a team (Principle Two), a more serious commitment is made when it “costs” the participant a week’s wages lost. Thus, we look for ministries who want the longer team.
- What do you want us to do? The Host knows what is best to be used to bridge the culture to communicate the Gospel & Teachings of Christ.
- How many team members do you want us to bring? The Host knows the capacity of his team and facilities and nationals for handling the number of expatriates. Too often large groups overwhelm the nationals.
PRINCIPLE TWO: The Team Leader selects a team to go when and to do what the Host has requested. People will be selected who are trained for the work they are called upon to do. However, they will go because they know that this is God’s will for them, not because of a tourist or shopping attraction at the destination. Nor for the work that they are planning to do, for plans could change even as they are in the air on their way. Their call will be confirmed by their church leadership through an application process, which includes hearing from the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-4). The Team Leader also looks for people who are considering a greater involvement in missions. (See Principle Three, Item 5, below.)
PRINCIPLE THREE: Training! Training! Training! Unfortunately, most short-term trips are not teams. They are just a group of people going to the same place at the same time. The word team suggests that these people have worked together, they know the strengths and weaknesses of each other, and have learned how to support each other in those areas of weakness. Training on six Saturdays (or other comparative time) is in the following areas:
- Cultural Adaptation: A four-hour video, Solutions to Culture Stress is viewed on their own time. How they believe they are prepared in each of the areas is noted on the outlines provided. In team meetings, they discuss the points as they relate to the specific mission.
- Interpersonal Relationships: The most critical of issues is the team learning to get along with each other. Interactive activities bring to light solutions to these issues.
- Spiritual Warfare: Prepare For Battle, a book of basic training in spiritual warfare is read on their own time and discussed in group settings.
- Developing a Partnership Team: Reading the book, Serving As Senders~Today, and developing Prayer, Financial and Reentry support is a minimum.
- What Are You Going to Do When You Get Home With What You Learned While You Were Gone? Whew! Yes! The attitude of too many is, “Been there; done that!” So that an ACTS Ministry Trip does not fall into that trap, in the pre-field training the participants are exposed to seven possible next steps, areas of ministry for them to become involved in after they return home and after they have had a good reentry:
- Missions is great, but not for me. As hard as that is for me to say, we must allow that choice. And they are encouraged to find where in the Body of Christ they do fit.
- Let’s go on another short-term ministry trip. Some will see this as their commitment to missions.
- I could lead a team. After participating in one or more, some are ready to lead a good ministry trip.
- I would like to become more supportive of those long-term missionaries I met. Using the books, Serving As Senders~Today and The Reentry Team, they find their gifting and minister in that way.
- I would like to become part of the mobilization team at my church. Call it missions committee, task force or mobilization team, there is plenty of work needed to keep missions before the eyes of the people, mobilize new missionaries and their care teams.
- I would like to minister to internationals who live among us. There are at least seven different types of internationals who live in almost every city in the world: International Students, Business People, Visitors; Illegal Aliens; Relocating Refugees; Ethnic Communities; and Adult Children of Career Missionaries. Using the book, Internationals Who Live Among Us, find the one in which to use your giftings.
- I believe God want me to be a missionary! This is a goal also that could be realized. A reading of the book, I Think God Wants Me to be a Missionary, would be the “next step.”
PRINCIPLE FOUR: The actual trip. With training and support team development complete, we are ready for the ministry opportunity. The Team Leader’s job is just that: To lead the team; to listen to them; to challenge them to look and listen; to do, for God’s glory, the privileged opportunity that has been given to them. In addition to the main location, a good trip will expose the participants to a number of other ministries to give them a broader perspective on missions involvement. All of their personal belongings have been put into their carry-on luggage. The check-in luggage is carrying goods the Host has been asked to request. No financial burden will be placed on the national ministries. All costs, including those of the nationals while we are with them, will be borne by the team. If fact, monies generated for the trip should provide a gift for each place.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Our concern is as much for the participants after they come home as for what is accomplished on the field. So that the mission is not regarded as a “been there; done that” fun excitement (though it certainly can be fun and exciting), after a reasonable reentry time, we provide a form with the Seven Possible Next Steps. (See Principle Three, Item 5 above.) These are avenues of ministry they could consider pursuing now that God has given them a vision for the lost of the world. We ask that each team member write a brief paragraph, expressing their thoughts about each of the seven. This is shared with their church’s mission leadership, encouraging them to follow up with their people.
Resources mentioned can be purchased from the ERI website: www.eri.org.
For further help in forming your team, contact Neal or Yvonne Pirolo at:
EMMAUS ROAD INTERNATIONAL
7150 Tanner Court, San Diego, CA 92111-4236