By Scott Logsdon
You are about to lead a team of members from your church to experience sights and sounds and smells that they have never experienced before. Your team is going to meet wonderful people with completely different backgrounds from you and make new friends that may last an entire lifetime. You are all going to remember and talk about this trip for a very long time. In addition, by God’s grace, you will help to impact someone’s eternal destiny as you proclaim to them words that God can use to give them life and as you urge them to respond to faith in Christ Jesus. As the leader of this trip, it is your responsibility to make sure this trip is a success.
As a leader, this means shepherding well the team members who are around you. Planning the logistics for your trip or making sure the planning takes place. It means recruiting and equipping trip members for the trip. Ensuring that the trip’s objectives are well planned and well understood by everyone on the trip. And maintain the financial responsibilities for the team.
Start With Discipleship
The first and most important responsibility of a short-term trip team leader is to disciple the members of the team. Discipleship is teaching others to grow in obeying all the things Christ has commanded us. And the goal of discipleship is always that we will become more and more like Jesus. So, as you go, help your team to maintain their focus on God’s fame spreading through their efforts. Lead devotions and Bible studies every day on the trip about how God loves to orchestrate events so that He alone can get the glory and get the credit. Talk about these things with them. Ask the team to point out how God is not getting the praise He is due among the people you are going to serve.
Focus On Needs
Help your team focus on the needs that they see around them and that they can meet through their sacrificial giving of their time, and their talents, and their treasure. Discover needs among those who are sharing the gospel and working for the gospel there. How can your team, and how can you, help meet those needs? These needs should be the things that your team prays about daily during their debriefing time. By focusing on God’s glory and then on the needs that are around us the team will have less time to notice how tired they are and how strange the culture seems to them. Channel their thoughts away from being critical, whether of their circumstances, of the local sights and sounds and smells of the culture, of the behavior of those who live there, or of their teammates. Instead, lead them to be constantly thinking about how great God is. Lead them to think about how great the gospel is and how great the needs of the people around them are – how much they need God and how much they need the gospel. In short, lead them to serve out of their love for God and out of their love for those around them. Remember, God wants to do as much in you and them on this trip as He wants to do through you and through them on this trip.
Plan Spiritual Rhythms
As you shepherd your team, plan the schedule of spiritual rhythms for them. Tell them beforehand that their intimate time with God, every single day, reading His word and praying is the greatest need of everyone on this trip. It’s the greatest need of their teammates, of the local missionaries and believers, and of the lost around them. Pray with your team. New Testament ministers didn’t just pray together, they devoted themselves to prayer. So, it will help your team if you plan out good spiritual rhythms with one another like, daily prayer time together, daily devotions together, and a daily debrief time together at the end of each day with prayer. It may seem difficult to get everyone together like this every day while on the trip, but it will force the team to be a team. Teaming together is hard work, but it is well worth the results.
Adapted from International Missions training on Ministry Grid. Check out more training videos on Ministry Grid here.