I want to continue our series on “What Missionaries Wish Short-Term Volunteers Knew Before Coming to the Field”. Last month we focused on “Lostness”. Click here if you would like to read the full article.
As “Sam” and I transitioned from preparing for the level of “Lostness” into “Spiritual Preparation”, the conversation confirmed the need for great leadership this side of the project. The training begins long before the trip and lasts forever afterwards.
I hear many stories of teams that meet their leader and teammates at the airport, as they are checking in for their flight or when they reach their final destination. If it is difficult to gather your team for regular meetings, consider using SKYPE or conference calls to include out of town members. This will help build team and they will feel like they know them when they meet them face to face.
Preparing the Heart
You will find that your team members want to begin by discussing logistics: when and how will we get there, what will we do, how much money should I take, what should I pack? These things all need to be discussed, but I suggest waiting until several meetings in before focusing on these topics.When asked how he would like team members to be prepared spiritually, “Sam” stressed the importance of preparing the heart instead of the skill. Spend time focusing on “What is God saying to you this week?” and equipping them to respond to what they hear. This is getting each heart ready for the engagement they will encounter.Prayer
Cultivating prayer is especially vital. Communing with God individually, as discussed above, and corporately enable the team to discern the direction that He is leading for this particular experience.
Each team member should have 10 people who will pray for them as they prepare, while they are on the field, and after they return. Two or three of these may be ones they can share very intimate needs with. Each person’s prayer team should be willing to pray without knowing details if a need for confidentiality arises. Team members should also be prepared for the isolation of confidentiality. This is another reason their relationship with the Lord is number one. He may be the only One they can lean on in times of distress.
My Utmost for His Highest-Oswald Chambers
Emphasizes the sovereignty of God
Hearing God-Peter Lord
Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens-Neil Cole
The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church-Reggie McNeal
*Sam is a pseudonym