Friday, March 11, 2005

Interviewing Mission Team members

One new thing we are doing with summer teams this year are face to face interviews. Its only with teams that are going overseas and so far, there is only one team right now - with 7 potential students. I decided to ask the Trinidad team if they would mind doing that for a few reasons.
First, I want our team leaders to know our students and vice versa. I want the team to gel, I want the leaders to know what motivates these kids, to get a pulse on what they are thinking about, their level of excitement, the way they personally respond to thinking about traveling to another culture to advance the Kingdom. A face to face interview is a great context to interact about these key issues.
Secondly, our mission trips are not reform school. There is a fine balance between an open spiritual community and a trip that is engaging different and possibly hostile cultures where a host has worked very hard long term for a positive influence. I want to make sure that our team leaders are setup to succeed in such an endeavor, and that they have the both process and evidence to refuse a student if they need to. The last thing I want is for one of our teams to arrive and ruin a long term ministry's reputation due to the bad behavior of a high schooler. Emotionally, that would just about sink this whole grand experiment.
Thirdly, I want to set this precedent for the future. I know their team pretty well, and I know that they know their team pretty well. I wouldn't expect any issues with their students. But I can't say it will always be like that.
I know a lot of people would disagree with my stance. Some would say that mission trips should be open to any student that has the desire. Some others would say that we should always allow prebelievers to be a part of any missional experience. I can't say that I disagree with both of these theoretically. I would say, however, that these interviews are for the end state of our summer teams, teams of students
that have done other trips in previous summers in preparation for cross cultural ministry. And we are having options for students that don't require interviews and probably don't even require that you are a Christian.
I'll be helping with some interviews this weekend and here is a list of potential questions. I will probably come up with more after I review their applications.
All in all, it's a fun time to hear the dreams of these brave, brave students.

Tell us about a person who has impacted your life for Christ.
Tell us some of your future goals.
How do you feel you can contribute to the Mission team and program?
Describe your present servant attitude.
What is the most important thing that you have learned spiritually
since last summer ?
How do you expect you will respond to the difference in culture ?
How do you expect you will change by the end of the summer ?

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