Posts Tagged ‘missions training’

When you have clearly stated goals for your mission trip and well-defined strategies for meeting those goals, then you will know whom you should take with you and what skills they will need.

Most people who want to go with LST have the basic skills to accomplish their tasks effectively, but some people do not. LST mission trips are 90% building relationships through friendly conversations with people who want to improve their English language skills.  One young man from small-town USA wanted to go with us one year, but nobody could understand him when he talked because he mumbled badly and swallowed his words.  LST sometimes has university students from non-English speaking countries who want to go with LST teams—and who often speak English very well for a non-native speaker—but we advise them not to because our experience is that people in other countries do not want to practice their English with non-native speakers.

Some people hate to make small talk; others are not empathetic enough to understand why others can’t speak English right!  Some people hate travel; others hate sitting all day.  These are not moral failures or lapses in righteousness, just different gifts for different members of the Body!

People who are painfully shy or hard-core loners will probably find an LST mission project challenging.  These same people will have all the skills for a different kind of mission trip, however, where verbal and social skills aren’t so critical! The organizers of mission trips must pray for wisdom and discernment—and then not be afraid to use them in recruiting and selecting the best workers for their project.

Here’s a short list of suggestions for you:

  • Determine what tasks are required by the objectives of your mission project
  • Recruit workers who have both the desire and gifts to accomplish the objectives of the mission project.  Every member of the body is made for the work that he/she does best.
  • Don’t be afraid to suggest alternatives for some people!  Asking somebody to do something that they can’t do is not being kind, nor is it putting the health of the Body first!
  • Be responsible for the well-being of everyone that you take with you!  We actually took the mumbling young man—but we spent a lot of extra time making sure both he and the people he worked with were happy.

So now we have clearly stated the objectives and goals of the mission trip and we know who needs to go on the trip, so the next step in designing our preparation and training is to determine good ways of either developing or honing the special skills we might need.

Skill training for short-term missions will be the next topic in our series on Preparing for Short-term Missions.

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One of the challenges to short-term missions is short-term planning—which most often results in short-term training—which leads to short-term results! Short-term results lead to disappointment, therefore, short-term interest and short-term funding.  Too much short-term here for me!

Good training for short-term missions requires good planning by those who are responsible. In the previous post, we talked about spiritual training for your short-term team as the necessary foundation for your mission.  Next, let’s talk about training your workers to meet the goals of the mission.

The Planners must know and be able to explain what the goals of the mission trip really are.  If you are going to Honduras with a group of doctors on a medical mission for five days, what are your goals?  If your youth are going to Estonia to do summer camp work, what are your goals? If your team is going with Let’s Start Talking to China for three weeks, what are your goals?

Everybody goes to bring glory to God, but how are you going to know if you have even accomplished that goal? The more specifically you define your objectives, the better you can train your Workers!

For example: at LST, we tell our workers in training that we are a seed-planting ministry, not a harvesting ministry. We are partners with local Christians who will nurture the relationships that our workers have begun and will continue to share the Story with those who will hear, so our goals are

  • to start relationships with people by offering to help them improve their English
  • to bring them into contact with the Word, specifically the Story of Jesus
  • to plant the Good Seed into their hearts and to water it with our love
  • to build a bridge from our short-term work to the long-term work of the local Christians.

With these very clear goals in mind, we can train very specifically.

  • To meet the first goal, LST trains workers in starting conversations with strangers and in helping them with their English in a way that fosters friendships and trust.
  • To meet the second goal, LST created appropriate materials for helping people with their English, which bring them into immediate and direct contact with the Word/Story in a non-confrontational way.  Much of LST’s training is in how to use these materials effectively.
  • Third, each LST lesson in every workbook contains seed thoughts, or very specific ideas that can germinate into faith in a good heart. Workers are trained how to plant the seeds in their conversations with unbelievers, as well as how to illustrate the truth of the Word from and with their own lives.
  • Finally, LST teams hosts social and service events for the local Christians and the participants, with the goal of building that very important bridge from short-term to long-term.  LST teams are trained specifically in ways to host these events to encourage the greatest participation and the best results.

Every goal or objective of your short-term work—whatever type–should produce a specific training component!  The hard part is defining the objectives specifically enough, but when your goals are truly defined, creating your training becomes much easier.

Every mission trip of every sort is conceived with the goal of doing good and bringing glory to God.  Most trips probably achieve these goals to about the same degree that each of us meets these same goals in our daily lives.  We can do better than that!

Excellent short-term missions will have well-defined goals and all of the workers on these mission trips will have been equipped and prepared intentionally and specifically with these goals in mind.



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