The purpose of the second team meeting is to (1) continue growing in team unity and spiritual preparation, (2) review logistical information, and (3) learn about the city and the culture where the team will go.
Things to Do Before We Meet
- Make sure you have a passport and appropriate immunizations.
- If you do have a passport, check the expiration date to be sure it will remain valid for at least six months after your return date.
- Check to be sure your passport has at least two empty pages and that it is in good condition.
- Check with your healthcare provider regarding recommended immunizations for the region to which you’re traveling. Obtain a copy of your inoculation record.
- Research the latest baggage and packing regulations on airline websites and tsa.gov.
- Share “His Story” and “Your Story” with three people.
- Research your country and city using the questions provided in meeting 1.
- Develop your support raising plan, and put it into action.
- Develop a prayer team.
- Read relevant passages for this meeting.
The Vision: The City
As you seek to not only serve our field partners but also their cities, this strategic ministry falls into three main categories: engaging the lost, empowering the poor, and equipping the church. Any strategic short-term team will encompass at least one, if not all three, aspects.
- Engage the Lost
- Engaging the lost centers on sharing the gospel of Christ through various means.
- A relevant presentation of the gospel adapted to the context to which the team is going
- Brief but clear personal testimony
- Empower the Poor
- Empowering the poor centers on helping those who are impoverished. This ministry is done through humanitarian means but should always be done alongside the local church or as a platform for the gospel.
- The local church is God’s primary vehicle for the gospel. Therefore, the Summit places importance on short-term teams to serve through and alongside the local church and field partners to minister to the needs of the poor.
- Equip the Church
- Equipping the church supports the local body of believers as they reach out to their communities and to the ends of the earth. The goal is to equip leaders for ministry in their context.
We are going on a spiritual mission to do spiritual work. Robert Fortenberry states, “Spiritual work requires spiritual people operating in spiritual power.” We need to be in the Word and praying daily from now until after the trip.
Read and Study Luke 10:1-12
What is happening in this passage?
What commands does Jesus give?
Where does Jesus send the disciples?
How does he send them?
What attitude does Jesus tell them to have?
- Do we have passports in hand or in process?
- Do we have up-to-date immunizations? If not, have we scheduled a doctor’s visit?
- Support raising update
“Different is not bad. It is just different.”
Cultures vary from country to country and people to people. This does not mean that the variance is for the worst. All cultures stem from the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) and have been affected by sin. Cultures should not be ranked as to which is better than others. It should be the desire of the short-term team to learn about a culture for the sake of communicating the gospel to the people who live in that particular culture.
The team should prepare to encounter culture shock. Culture shock is due to sizeable changes in one’s surroundings (culture, environment, time) that affect behavior in a noticeable way. The common symptom is disorientation. It is important to prepare for the likelihood that this could occur by taking steps to prevent it. The more one learns about a culture and prepares oneself, the less shock one may experience.
- What is culture shock?
- Webster’s: a sense of confusion and uncertainty, sometimes with feelings of anxiety, that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation
- Google: the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes
- Desire to stay back
- 10 Keys to Overcoming Culture Shock
- Daily time in the Word of God
- Be an open learner.
- Be patient and gracious.
- Develop positive and realistic expectations beforehand.
- Smile and laugh (a lot!).
- Talk with your team leader and field hosts.
- Be curious, and ask good questions about the local culture.
- Expect and believe the best about others. Respect, love, and empathy can go a long way.
- Debrief. Processing is the key! Journal and talk with your team and leaders.
- As believers, we are not exempt from culture shock, but we do have a strength to draw upon: the Holy Spirit. As you feel anxious or frustrated, stop and ask God to help you be Jesus to these people by filling you with love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Religion: Studying a country’s religion(s) provides insight into that country’s worldview and culture. Religion is also a common area of tension from within and with neighboring countries. It is important to understand as much as possible the religion(s) commonly practiced by the target people group.
Politics: In the world today, the political environment in any particular country can change in a matter of days. It is very useful to have a grasp of the current government and the political situation surrounding it.
History: It is also important to have a good understanding of significant events in a country’s history. These events shape cultures, and a good understanding of such events may allow you to cross cultural boundaries more easily.
Economic development: This factor can differ from one area of a country to another, but a general understanding on how advanced a society is economically can be beneficial when planning ministry activities.
The Specific Area
People groups: The concept of people groups is one that needs to be solidified throughout the training. It is valuable to know with whom you will be working. Cultures, primary religions, and ministry focus can differ greatly from one people group to another. Therefore, the more information collected about the group(s) the team will be working with, the better the team can prepare.
Security: The Bible teaches us to lay down our lives for the sake of the gospel, but it also teaches us to be “wise as serpents.” Security related to specific aspects or to all aspects of a trip depends on context ranging from cultural norms, religious customs and tolerances, and/or dangers that arise from crime. Security risks will not always affect the team as much as they may affect the field partners and/or the nationals. Country, people groups, cities, and even neighborhoods can differ greatly in terms of safety, and all concerns should be discussed with the field partners and church planting admin prior to the trip. Safety precautions should also be wisely talked about with the team. A good rule of thumb is the team always stays together (or in groups).
Cultural norms: The team should know how to conduct themselves, monitor their words/conversations, and even watch their attire. The answers to “What is acceptable?” and “What is not acceptable?” must be learned prior to departure. This could prove to be an issue of team safety depending on the context of the trip. When evaluating cultural sensitivities, both the country and the specific people group(s) should be taken into consideration.
The team leader should communicate with the field partners to provide a list of phrases in the local language. These phrases will allow the team to interact with people on a basic level. Frequently, an attempt to learn the local language is greatly appreciated by locals, and it creates a positive setting for conversations.
Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer
Ministering Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
Follow Me by David Platt
Breaking the Islam Code by J.D. Greear
New Birth or Rebirth? by Ravi Zacharias
“Post-traumatic Stress” with Brad Hambrick
- God’s strategy for completing the Great Commission is planting churches in strategic cities.
- People are the mission.