One of the primary goals of a missions team leader is to build a connected, cohesive team. If you consider the whole mission experience from the perspective of a loosly knit gang of individuals versus a tightly-bound, cohesive, caring and gifted team, the experience is so much less than what it could be.
The goal of building this team, creating and shaping individuals to care about others, to work together, to sacrifice for one another, is my primary goal before our Brazil team departs. The biggest tool I have is time - spending time with one another. That includes getting other things done as well, including updates on support, learning about the culture there, praying for our trip. With this specific team, there is one slight missing detail - summer schedules.
To give you a feel about the team's schedules: FZ is in Europe for thirty days, LB is in Europe for ten days, BC is camping on the West Coast for twenty days, I'm on a family vacation in South Carolina and in Arizona for fourteen days, and the rest of the team is here and there as well. How do you build a team when they aren't even in the same country at the same time?
One of my attempts this year is to connect the team over email. I've written some updates including some significant questions that I think we as a team need to be thinking and interacting about. I've encouraged all the team to reply to all in an effort to get a real conversation going, even if online. I personally think it's a great idea. But of course, I thought of it (hence it might not be so great.) So far, unfortunately, response has been bad. I'm not sure why. All I can hope is that they are reading and thinking.
Some ideas that I've tried to get the team to think about:
- what is a team, what is not a team, and how does a team function
- how could someone serve you in your context, what does their attitude look like, and do we really have to die to ourselves
- will we be misunderstood in Brazil, why will we, and is being misunderstood for Jesus' sake biblical?
Photo: a team of SPACE kids serving at Helping Up Mission, Baltimore, October 2004.