Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Detailed Short Term Mission Team Preps

Had a fantastical time with Ember guides facilitating a short term mission prep experience this past weekend. Here's the big picture on some of the values, activities, working documents and systems behind this training experience for the student teams at GRACE [my home church.] As always, feel free to steal what you can contextualize.

Friday night was a leader only experience - participants were leaders that were leading various student mission trips this summer - Uganda, New Orleans and Baltimore. The targeted concepts included navigation, team work, and an urban/cultural immersion. As our Ember team prepared, we landed on the idea of having the leaders travel to multiple locations in Washington DC and doing some kind of learning exercise at each location. Each location was distinctly different in cultural context, a key to this experience. Another key to this exercise was also done in the context of being a 'mapmaker' - you can be taught how to engage a specific culture or you can learn how to navigate cultures and make your own maps.

Leader teams departed right from the church with a set of minimal instructions and made their way to the first destination where our guides met them. From there, our guides traveled with them to the next 2 destinations, observing and debriefing when appropriate, and then all teams met back at Union Station to talk about the whole evening. This included conversations about being sent and being God's people on the move, being a mapmaker and different facets of teamwork. There is no better place to talk about movement than Union Station.

Saturday included a general mixer, some team building exercises and a series of quick 10 minute teaching rotations on sharing your story, global world realities, case studies in culture and contextualization and movement thinking. We wanted teams to experience working together as well as get some informal teaching. The more teams spend together before they hit the mission field, the better. The team building activities are always a big hit - high school kids should learn by doing.

From an Ember guide perspective, the working documents needed for this project included: instructions for Friday night activity [just enough directions - not too many], a debriefing how-to guide, and instructions for each of the team building activities. Regardless of the documents, each guide needed to be 100% engaged - observing the leader teams working [or not working] together or how teams did the team building activities, etc.

Our 6 Ember guides did amazing [amy, trevin, lexi, carolyn, kristen.] They navigated the unknown, improvised when needed and engaged every leader and student to think about the values each activity tried to impart. I'm not only proud of the work they did, but I'm proud of the culture of Ember that they are propagating. They trust each other which provides the foundation for unfiltered debate as we evaluate the event. Our evaluation was over lunch right after the event ended. An added plus if you are a guide: I write a feedback letter to every guide after every event where they have served.

See some pictures here. If you are involved with student mission teams and are interested in missions team preps, get in touch.

[Related: Mission Advancing, NY Mission Cast, Mission Preps with Bay Area]

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