Every mission team is a little different. Some teams are made up of families from one tiny church, in one tiny town. Others might be twenty teenagers from twenty different cities around the country. No matter what a team looks like it’s is sure to contain a whole spectrum of personalities, needs, hopes and fears when it comes to serving in a missional capacity.
As a mission trip leader, it’s your job to help support each individual while also promoting team unity and preparation, but it can be easy to get caught up in the administrative work that planning a mission trip requires.
Here are three simple things to put on your list to help your team prepare for the mission field together.
Pray that your team will be an encouragement to the body of Christ. Pray for God to reach the lost with the gospel. Worship together. Pray for God to provide financially. Pray knowing that a big God hears you.
“And this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” – 1 John 5: 14-15
It may seem like a no-brainer, but unless you make prayer a priority as a team leader, it will easily slip by the wayside. Praying together can help your team members work through anxieties they may have about missions; remind them of the bond you share in Christ; and prepare them to support one another better during the trip.
Breaking a sweat together before you spend two weeks in a foreign country is a good thing. Aside from learning to serve together in a physical sense, it’s a great way to break the ice among team members, and creates opportunities to learn about each person’s strengths and weaknesses.
“From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:16
Emphasizing team building experiences, like serving together, will make it more natural for team members to labor alongside one another as a body, rather than a group of individuals, when it comes time for the trip.
“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Even serious guys like St. Thomas Aquinas saw the value in playfulness and just enjoying one another. Hopefully, this one will develop on its own. But, as a leader, you can be mindful that amidst trainings and meetings, that you throw in some lighthearted fun.
For your team that might mean going out for pizza and not talking any business. Or maybe it looks like playing at a place like JumpStreet or Pump It Up for a few hours or going bowling. Whatever you do—enjoy being together.
How is your team praying, working or playing together? What area does your team excel in? What area do you think could be emphasized more on your team? Let us know in the comments below.