It is one of my personal convictions that student mission teams usually aren't prepared well enough and this conviction has overflowed into The Ember Cast becoming pretty good at helping prepare these kinds of teams. We had the privilege to help architect a training event last weekend and here's an overview of what we did and why. If you are leading a team this summer, it isn't too late to prepare your team.
On Friday evening, we sent just the team leaders into DC to do a variety of things, all while doing some cultural observation and reflection with their leadership team. The cultural observation piece was very similar to our Culture Aixchange last summer and they were asked to reflect on two team concepts: this first quote in this post and the Tuckman model of team development.
This was not an Amazing Race type of thing, instead, it was designed to make them have to make decisions together, travel together and grow together. We decompressed at the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where we talked about what they did together and why and also a variety of other stuff including: theology of place, innovation in ministry, cities as mission fields, and how they can model this kind of cultural decoding for their student teams this summer. This evening was probably my favorite part of the weekend.
Saturday was with all the teams and there were three elements to Saturday - a prayer time, tradecraft sessions [which we borrowed from the Upstream Collective friends] and team building. Prayer was having each time pray for other teams, not only having them invest some time in praying but also giving them a sense of the other teams' cultural context as well as what they might be doing. Our tradecraft sessions visited the topics of person of peace, contextualization and ambassadorship. Two of the three of these are considered important enough that they are on our core curriculum - meaning that we track how students understand this before and after they serve with Ember. The third team building element was getting them moving as a team performing certain tasks - it's like team building like you know - somewhat campy and goofy tasks. But we do this so teams 'storm' before they get to the field. And lots of storming with those hula hoops.
Lots of people worked together to pull this off. My utmost thanks to Kristen Youngstrom, the Grace student missions lead this year; Leslie B [Ember Board of Director]; HopeK [ProtoGuide 2014]; and TessP [Prague 2015 leader] for running the Tradecraft workshops; the Prague team for helping with the team building activities; and Kristen, Hope, Tess, and KatieV [ProtoGuide 2015] for helping out with the Friday night leaders adventure.
More pictures here.