Your church wants to partner well with missionaries and perhaps even knows with whom and where you will partner. But how does a church go about enlisting people to go on short-term mission efforts? Is it best to just open up the mission effort to any and all who want to go? Are there some suggested practices that might aid a church in enlisting its members for short-term missions?
The following are suggestions for churches as they begin enlisting people to join in short-term mission efforts.
- Clearly communicate the mission to the church. The members need to know why the church is engaging in this mission partnership and how a short-term mission effort will enhance that work.
- Work closely with the pastor(s) in the process of recruiting and/or approving team members. The pastoral leadership of the church often knows the members best and, as the shepherds of the flock, should speak into the selection of those who will represent the Lord and the church in short-term mission efforts.
- Plan an informational meeting to discuss: location, purpose of mission, cost, expectations, and Q & A. An intentional interest meeting will often give members additional info that they can pray through in determining if this mission effort is right for them at this particular time.
- Schedule interviews and/or have an application process. Talking through or providing an application that covers location, personal testimony, personal growth as a believer, reason for wanting to go, emphasis on being a team player, importance of flexibility, and the need for physical and emotional stability are all important matters to cover with interested team members.
- Inform person of decision. There is strength in numbers. Prayer throughout this process is vital. It is best that the approval of short-term mission team members not fall to the decision of one individual. In working with the pastor leadership, a mission team/committee is helpful for many reasons, not least of which is to discern prayerfully the best team for this particular short-term mission effort.
- How to say “wait.” There will be times that it is not best for an individual to go on this particular mission. We want every believer to be involved in Great Commission work. Involvement will vary from person to person depending on gifts and experiences. So, using the word “wait” is intentional, rather than “no.” The reasons for waiting can be varied but learning to say “wait” is important. How do we best say “wait”? Pray for God’s grace and wisdom. Involve more than one person in the conversation. Communicate why you are suggesting the person wait. Offer steps of growth. Encourage their cultivation of passion for God. Communicate with clarity, compassion, and grace. Affirm the person in the Lord and close with prayer.
Enlisting church members for short-term missions is an intentional responsibility. Rather than simply extending a “y’all come and go” request, there are some intentional steps that can be taken to better ensure that those who are going should be going. We enlist short-term mission team members because we want to partner well with missionaries. And we want to partner well for God’s glory and fame to spread most effectively through the strategy of our partner missionaries. Learn more tips about short-term missions at International Team Leader Training March 3-4 or September 22-23. For more information, visit: www.kybaptist.org/itlt.