Friday, January 12, 2007

Summer 2007 Structure

Some of you long time readers have read about our structure around the summer teams. I want to give you a quick update in light of some things that I am trying to improve on for this coming summer.

The goal is that SPACE has the most *minimal* structure that we need in order to send students out. We aren't looking for a lot of red tape but we need to ensure that we have the processes we need to do a good job - in the areas of finances, training, quality leadership and making sure no kids get left in an airport somewhere. Too much structure and we can't move fast enough.

Here are some areas of structure in light of this coming summer:

::: Approvals
All of our trips need approval from GCC's Missions Task Force as well as the Director of Youth Ministries/Senior High Pastor. For this year, any overseas summer team needs to have their plans submitted to the MTF by mid-January [hey! don't laugh.] This earlier time frame was set forth because we didn't want to be on the short end financially as teams were getting ready to hit the field, which is what happened last summer. The MTF also submits our plans to the Elders for their approval and I get approval from our Senior High Pastor. And yes, I have been busy - there are some very exciting plans afoot - tell you more about those later.

It's fabulous to have multiple checkpoints along the way - with people that both know what they are doing and care about what we are doing. And in the past, we have had voices along the way question and push back and we have listened - for the better.

As a related note, any mission funding that goes through GCC needs to get approval from the Elders.

::: Logistics Coordinator
MPM, who comments on here as "Matt", has come onboard to help SPACE teams this summer as the logistics coordinator. MPM will get engaged with each team once their team leaders are put together. From there, he will assist with support letters, travel logistics, tracking support [which is a huge task!], team preparation and I'm sure a whole host of other both mundane and vital tasks. This will be a huge help to us and if you know MPM, you know his heart for students and the world and you know that he has the Arranger strength - an uncanny flexibility to put disparate things in the right places and order. But better than all of that - he must and he knows that we must.

::: Support Tracking
Like I said - huge. Support will be tracked weekly and updates will be sent directly to team members via email instead of being filtered through team leaders. Team leaders will also get their team status, but last year, we didn't get the info to team members timely enough. This is also a big one because of the extreme sensitivity of donor information.

::: Applications
I've added some romance language into both our leader and student applications [links to both at the top right]. No, the applications aren't in Spanish or French.... Instead, the applications include very specific clauses about relationships - with team members and with host ministries. I hope it's clear enough this year, and we will keep revising it each year.

::: Mission Advance
Yup, we are doing it again. I'm sure it's going to be a lot of chaos to get there but it will totally be worth it to mold these teams together. The date is set and I have reserved at least one vehicle.

::: TriciaB and EllyK
TriciaB and EllyK, two of our team members from my Cameroon team [and on the DC team last year] are jumping in starting in January to help with SPACE. We are calling them SPACE orbiters - and their help is going to be huge. We are looking to them to help gather momentum with their friends and students that we don't know - yet.

In light of all that, some of the potential plans we have for this summer are pretty cool. The past three summers have surpassed each one before it in momentum and impact - I'm scared but excited to think this summer might continue the trend.

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