How to Choose and Train a Mission Team Leader
There probably aren’t many weeks of the year that at least one Arkansas Baptist Church doesn’t have a mission team somewhere in the world. The differences in those teams are like night and day: their assignments, their makeup, their numbers, and more. But they ALL have one thing in common. Every mission team needs a leader.
No two team leaders are alike in temperament, personality, or even giftedness, but they should have a few things in common (this is not an exhaustive list):
- A sense of calling. Church leaders and the team leader candidate should be able to say why they think a person would make a good team leader. A sense of call is vital. And this is deeply connected to a person’s walk with the Lord Jesus.
- Ability to deal with people. Mission team members bring their personalities, experience (or lack of), quirks, and strengths to the table. A leader must be able to overlook some things, be patient, and definitely be strong in the relationship department.
- Administrative skills. Communication with missionaries on the field, leading the team selection process at home, prepping the team, and leading or overseeing trip arrangements are not for the faint of heart. Organizing abilities are a must.
- Team leaders “pass it on.” I just got off the phone with a man who is leading a team to Haiti. He served under a team leader to the same place almost a year ago, and is ready to lead himself. Team leaders are always growing in their own skills, and work to identify folks they can pass the baton to.
Besides the natural abilities and Holy Spirit giftedness that a team leader possesses, it is wise for a person to take advantage of some training.
- The IMB has a good piece for team leaders called, “Team Leader Training” by Danny Sinquefield. It has GREAT advice for every phase of preparing for a trip, with a great “toolbox” section in the back. It is only available to SBC churches. Contact Bob Fielding at the ABSC Missions Team for a copy. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Preparing oneself and the team for cross cultural situations is very important. The “going” section of the IMB’s online resource catalog has some great books and studies. Click HERE.
- Preparing for overseas work starts at home. Being on mission starts at home. A GREAT piece to help a person become missional in their thinking and actions is Brisco and Ford’s “Missional Essentials.” The team leader should “lead” out in modeling a servant/evangelism heart at home.
Great leadership starts with picking good leaders, and preparing them for the task! The ABSC Missions Team is ready to help your church reach the lost from your doorstep to the world. Need help? Need advice? Need help making a mission connection? Call (1.800-838.2272) or email (email@example.com) any time!
Bob Fielding serves as the national/international missions consultant for the ABSC