Traveling to new places gets you out of your routine—that’s a big part of the adventure. But delayed meals, unfamiliar food, being more active than usual, and different time zones can all disrupt diabetes management. Plan ahead so you can count on a more fruitful trip and less worry on the way and when you get to your destination. Read more . . .
Short-term trips can be exciting, challenging and rewarding. It’s a big job leading a group into a new place with different cultures, customs, laws, food, religions and germs. Here are 5 steps to better mission trips:
RECRUIT: having the right team members can make or break a trip. Great team members are: disciples, learners, humble, teachable, curious, compassionate, competent and flexible.
TEAM: healthy teams typically lead to better trips. Tension, conflict and confusion will distract from the main purposes of the trip.
TRAIN: there is a direct correlation between training and the effectiveness of trips. Prepared team members are trained to be sensitive to the new culture, to be a good teammate, how to share the gospel, understand the religions context, how to travel safe, and how to disciple.
SUPPORT: ensure every team member has support in prayer and finances. It’s great for each team member to have at least 5 partners who are praying and/or giving to support the trip.
DEBRIEF: cross-cultural experiences provide a unique opportunity for your team members to grow and to be discipled. Debriefs should happen at the end of each day on the trip and upon return. Returning members can become excellent mobilizers for future mission activities and discipleship opportunities locally and globally.
By Scott Logsdon, original post at LifeWay Leadership
When it comes to an international missions trip, there are all kinds of objectives for which you could plan. To start, work under the direction of your church and in partnership with the gospel ministers who serve in the area where your team will be going. Ultimately, the best short-term trips accomplish three objectives.
1. Short-term trips grow the heart of the church for the plight of the lost and for the spread of God’s greatness in the world.
This is what you want to fan into flame as you create a culture of mission in your church. You want God’s people to be gripped with the needs of others so that they will be moved to pray for your team while you are there and continue to pray when you return. The more that God’s people are considering the needs of the lost, the more they will be moved by the Holy Spirit to sacrifice much so that God’s fame will spread in the world.
Lead the team members to give a report to the church both before and after they return. Highlight your activities. Pray specifically for the names of people who may have heard the gospel during the trip. Also pray for all the gospel ministers and churches you supported on the trip.
2. Short-term trips support gospel ministers, whether individuals or churches.
There are many ways that your team can support gospel ministers on short-term trips. Your team could watch the children of gospel ministers so that they can attend a strategy meeting or retreat. You could walk through their local neighborhoods and pray for the gospel to advance through their efforts. Whatever your team does, do something that makes the gospel ministers in that area feel that your church values them as a trusted, supporting partner in the ongoing spread of the gospel in that area of the world.
3. Good short-term trips engage those who need to hear the gospel.
As you plan for your short-term trip, find ways that you can actively engage the lost with the gospel. If you are going to serve in a place where the local people do not speak English, follow the lead of your hosts about sharing the gospel through their translation. Make sure every member of the team is prepared to share the gospel, that they both know and can share it with those who live in that particular ministry context.
Spend time studying the culture, beliefs, and values of the residents in that area and lead your team to practice tailoring their gospel conversations to the specific needs and questions of the residents they might encounter. If language is going to be a significant barrier, ask your hosts whether there is a way you and your team could appropriately hand out Bibles, even as gifts to individuals they meet. But follow the lead of your hosts to ensure both their and your team’s safety.
As best you can, plan to accomplish these three objectives on your short-term missions trip. Sometimes, you may only be able to accomplish one or two objectives, and that’s okay. It will still be a good trip. Follow the lead of your church leadership and local hosts to grow the heart of the congregation for the lost and for the spread of God’s greatness in the world, to support gospel ministers, and to engage those who haven’t yet heard the gospel.
Four milestones of the journey:
AWAKEN—to God’s heart that all people may know and worship Him.
Where are we going? AWAKEN is the process of God revealing himself to us and transforming the way that we think about our lives and the role of the church. As we are awakened, we realize that our primary task is fulfilling the mission of making disciples and that the primary motivation is worship. We will be motivated to proclaim the Gospel to the darkest corners of the earth crossing both geographical and cultural barriers until the Gospel is available to all people.
What will we do?
Seek God’s Heart
Embrace God’s Heart
Share God’s Heart
EXPLORE—God’s specific plan for our church.
Where are we going? Driven by God’s heart, we seek for God’s specific direction for our church. For the sake of defining our local and global involvement, we will explore existing relationships and identify where and to whom we are sent.
What will we do?
Identify our Existing Relationships with Missionaries, Mission organizations, affinities, networks, etc.
Identify to whom you have been sent, locally and globally
Know and Love our those to whom we have been sent.
EQUIP—our church to fulfill the mission.
Where are we going? After we identify God’s specific direction for our church, we will respond by developing an intentional plan to educate, equip and organize the congregation. This is an ongoing process of engaging people where they are and moving them to the next level of equipping so that they can be personally involved in the mission of the church.
What will we do?
Educate our Church in the Vision
Equip our Church for the Mission
Organize Our Church to fulfill the Mission
ENGAGE—in God’s specific plan for our church.
Where are we going? Responding to God’s direction, we will develop an ongoing process of mobilizing the whole body to carry out His calling. We will have a “whatever it takes” approach even to the point of mobilizing other communities of believers for the sake of all peoples knowing Him.
What will we do?
Go and send to the People and Places God has Led You
Do Whatever it Takes to See Disciples Made
Focus on Actions and Activities that are Sustainable, Reproducible and Long Term
Evaluate the Progress Continuously
Some sure-fire ways to avoid becoming a missionary
1. Ignore Jesus' request in John 4:35 that we take a long hard look at the fields.Seeing the needs of people can be depressing and very unsettling. It could lead to genuine missionary concern.
(John 4:35 "Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."
2. Focus your energies on socially legitimate targets.Go after a bigger salary. Focus on getting a job promotion, a bigger home, a more luxurious car, or future financial security. Along the way, run up some big credit card debts.
3. Get married to somebody who thinks the "Great Commission"is what your employer gives you after you make a big sale.After marriage, embrace the socially accepted norms of settling down, establishing a respectable career trajectory and raising a picture-perfect family.
4. Stay away from missionaries.Their testimonies can be disturbing. The situations they describe will distract you from embracing whole-heartedly the materialistic lifestyle of your home country.
5. If you happen to think about missions, restrict your attention to countries where it's impossible to openly do missionary work.Think only about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China and other closed countries. Forget the vast areas of our globe open to missionaries. Never, never listen to talk about creative access countries.
6. Think how bad a missionary you would be based on your own past failures.It is unreasonable to expect you will ever be any better. Don't even think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter or Mark, all of whom overcame failures.
7. Always imagine missionaries as talented, super-spiritual people who stand on lofty pedestals.Maintaining this image of missionaries will heighten your own sense of inadequacy. Convincing yourself that God does not use ordinary people as missionaries will smother any guilt you may feel about refusing to even listen for a call from God.
8. Agree with the people who tell you that you are indispensable where you are.Listen when they tell you that your local church or home country can't do without you.
9. Worry incessantly about money.
10. If you still feel you must go, go out right away without any preparation or training.You'll soon be home again and no one can ever blame you for not trying!
by John Kimbell (original post on imb.org)
Short-term mission trips are a strategic way to involve church members directly in making disciples of all nations. Trips have great potential to help churches cultivate meaningful partnerships with career missionaries and expand opportunities for every member of a church to participate in the Great Commission.
In order to help your church accomplish these goals through short-term missions, here are five things to consider before you plan a trip.
Incorporate Short-Term Missions into a Long-Term Relationship
Recognize the Value of Caring for Career Missionaries and Their Families
Ask a Missionary to Help You Plan Your Activities
Leverage Church Partnerships for Training and Opportunities
Invite Church-Wide Involvement
Read full article here.
BY TERRY L. BROWN original post Upstream Collective
Short-term mission trips can be exciting and life changing.
From navigating treacherous mountain roads to hearing the joyful sound of children singing, you never know what might be around the next corner.
This type of adventure may sound like just the thing you’re looking for. However, for others, the frequent changes and challenges can prove to be too much. Many who start out with good intentions quickly find themselves off track.
If you happen to be a team leader, you can help to ensure everyone fully appreciates their experience by discussing proper expectations. Do this early in the planning process by setting a preliminary meeting with your group.
TALKING TO YOUR GROUP
Once you have determined where your team is going (and why), the next step is to assemble people with an interest. These will not be everyone who will go. Some are there to determine if this trip is for them.
You should make several things clear at this meeting:
Why are we going? Let the group know if they’re going to construct a building, help with vacation bible school, disaster relief, etc.
Where are we going? Let them know where they are going, with dates of departure and return - simple enough.
What are the total costs? Share the total costs involved with a timeline of initial deposits and final payment due dates. It's helpful to show costs of travel, food, lodging, etc.
What documents are necessary? Gather the documents necessary for the trip: passports, visa, birth certificates, etc. Make sure this meeting is far enough in advance to procure passports and visas. Always make sure documents extend past your departure date. I learned this the hard way when my visa in Moscow had to be renewed in an emergency with two days left - the cost was $150 to make sure I could leave as scheduled.
What’s your personal information? Submit trip applications to everyone. Include full contact information with emergency names and important numbers, including any prescription meds and physical limitations.
What will the conditions be like? Give a brief overview of the conditions you will be in. Some people cannot tolerate heat/humidity, or the lack of electricity or air conditioning. Some will not be able to eat local fare such as goat, snake, etc. I did not want to eat a fish with the head on (and eyes looking at me) while in Haiti. The family serving us did so at great cost and sacrifice. To decline would have hurt them, so I put on my big boys pants and thanked them for a great meal.
Are there any cultural differences? Explain any cultural difference. Offending your hosts unintentionally is not a good way to start. However, they will appreciate any sensitivity you extend to them by doing your homework ahead of time. The first time I entered an Orthodox church, I was not aware it was offensive to leave the church by turning around and walking out with my back to the icons. I did not make that mistake twice.
How do we stay in contact? Communication may be difficult or non-existent in the part of the world you are going. If you are one who will suffocate without a text or e-mail for a few days, then you may want to go on a different trip
This is not your typical, “pack three shorts, two pair of pants, and sunscreen” type of travel checklist, but a travel checklist to ESSENTIALS if you are traveling internationally.
Photocopy it. Use it. Distribute it.
And help your friends be safe and better prepared!
Thanks to Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission for the tool. https://soe.org/about/
Take a few minutes to reflect on your mission program and how it can improve. SOE provided this process to proved you with a tool designed to help you identify strengths and weaknesses, and to know where to start addressing change.
The assessment is a set of True/False questions for each Standard. Answer each question and total the “true” and “false” answers for each section. As you read the questions, take time to consider them but don’t overthink. Often your first instinct is the correct one.
Thanks to Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission for the tool. https://soe.org/about/
By Josiah Holland, Co-Founder and President of XPCulture.com
Underlying this article is an assumption that you’ve already bought into the need for training and debriefing to go along with your mission trips — you’re just struggling to get it into your process.
The question is two-fold then; will online training work for me? And how do I go about doing it? Online training might be the perfect solution for you if: Read more. . .
Original article posted https://soe.org/articles/could-online-training-work-for-your-mission-trips/