Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
“Short-term teams can be the wind in your sails or the waves against you.”
We heard the phrase above the last time we were at the Adventures in Missions’ office. As we have had a team in April, a friend visit and serve in May, and 2 more teams coming in July, this idea has been forefront in our minds.
Thankfully, we have, more often that not, encountered teams that are blessings to us. As summer approaches, and your church sends teams out, please think about these things, and how your short term team is just that – short.
Short term teams are hard. They take time away from regular daily tasks or meetings, require things to be set up in advance (in countries that don’t usually function that way), and trying to translate language and culture all the time can be exhausting.
But in the hard, there can be a strengthening of connections with partners for those of us who stay,
or there can be destruction of those relationships.
There can be a better understanding of how to pray and come alongside the national partners and the missionaries,
or there can be false promises and lack of follow-through.
Their energy can be a renewal of vision and excitement for what God is doing,
or it can be draining and exhausting.
Find ways to build up those who stay, listen to those who live there, and encourage the ways God is already moving there.
4 thoughts on “Wind in our sails”
Amen! So so true 🙂
Hi Lauren & Jeff! Your thoughts have been voiced to two different teams of which I’ve been a part of – Canada & Townsend, TN. It has been my experience, after having been on these teams for several years, that the short-term team tends to see the leadership team (staying team) less often by the third or fourth trip. My thinking is that the leadership team has more confidence in the short-term team – seeing no need to check on them as often, issues are fewer for the short-term team, and the short-term team is much more familiar with their role. Also, the short-term team knows better how to serve in that particular field, solve their own problems because the leadership has shared resources for making that possible, and is more familiar with the mission/ways of the leadership team. Do you find this true or have you had enough consistent short-term teams to determine any truth of this? It’s always been our church’s prayer to serve instead of needing to be served much by the leadership team; I pray that we have! I imagine it’s a difficult conversation to have when it’s not true.
Hi! I think you bring up an interesting point Cindy. For us, with language barriers and the Romanian culture of trust and networking, I think the involvement is still very important and necessary. I think in different contexts, where the relationship has been established, it’s nice when there is trust, understanding, and partnership in the serving.
Excellent point about the language barrier! The examples I gave do speak my native language. So, yes, having teams that don’t speak the language would still require a good bit of involvement on your part.