Thursday, February 9, 2012

Resources for Training Short-Term Mission Teams

One of the most important ways to ensure a peaceful and fruitful short-term mission trip is to train and prepare your team well. Here are four helpful resources for preparing your team:

This Bible study will help your team put their brief mission trip in the context of God’s big mission. It combines passages from the Bible with challenging questions that demonstrate God’s heart for the nations and His passion for his glory. It also includes verses to memorize, people groups to pray for, and help in applying the biblical themes to everyday life.
Lesson outline:
  • Introduction – Before You Get Started
  • Lesson One: For the Glory of God
  • Lesson Two: God’s Blessing and Purpose
  • Lesson Three: God Impacts the Nations as He Blesses His People
  • Lesson Four: The Psalms and Prophets Reveal God’s Heart for the Nations
  • Lesson Five: Savior of the World
  • Lesson Six: His Call to the Nations
  • Lesson Seven: To the Ends of the Earth
  • Lesson Eight: Personal Application
  • Your Next Steps: Roles to Accomplish His Global Purposes
This short (128 small pages with large font) little book divides the world into two groups: “hot-climate” (relationship-based) cultures and “cold-climate” (task-oriented) cultures. This book may not give you information on the specific culture you are going to visit, but it will help your team begin to think through the basics of cultural difference. It is filled with helpful anecdotes and contrasts, and will prepare your team to be more flexible—something that should be a primary goal for every team from the United States.
  1. Hot- Versus Cold-Climate Cultures
  2. Relationship Versus Task Orientation
  3. Direct Versus Indirect Communication
  4. Individualism Versus Group Identity
  5. Inclusion Versus Privacy
  6. Different Concepts of Hospitality
  7. High-Context Versus Low-Context Cultures
  8. Different Concepts of Time and Planning
  9. Practical Next Steps
  10. In Conclusion
This free PDF is targeted mainly at teams going with the International Mission Board (IMB), but there is a lot of stuff that will be helpful to all teams, including:
  • A 30-day “Spiritual Preparation” devotional guide
  • Tips for raising prayer and financial support
  • A guide for prayer walking
  • Packing lists
  • Ideas for what to do when you return home
This is a collection of more than 200 documents developed or used by local churches for doing mission trips. This includes some stuff that will help you in training your team, but it is even more helpful in providing ideas, forms, and guidelines for administering and organizing your trip. Why re-invent the wheel? This CD provides samples, forms, procedures, policies, tips and hints – all in Word documents. For a full list of materials included, see here.
Mark Rogers is a Ph.D. student in historical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. A former college pastor and associate pastor, Mark is the editor of "Glimpses of Christian History."

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