Short-term Team Training Manual v.2 [Sample]

Page 1


A participant’s guide to


Team Training by TMS Global

Table of Contents Welcome 1 Introduction 3 To the Team Leader


Reflections 1.1 5 Reflections 1.2 7 Reflections 1.3 9 Session 1 - Going as a Learner 11 Reflections 2.1 15 Reflections 2.2 17 Reflections 2.3 19 Session 2 - Forms and Meaning 21 Reflections 3.1 25 Reflections 3.2 29 Reflections 3.3 31 Session 3 - Worldview 33 Reflections 4.1 37 Reflections 4.2 41 Reflections 4.3 43 Session 4 - Conflict 45 Reflections 5.1 51 Reflections 5.2 53 Reflections 5.3 55 Session 5 - Where are we going? 57 Sample Packing List


Devotion Guide 63 Team Debrief 73 Personal Next Steps


Welcome Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of joining you on this journey. This short-term team guide has been a dream for many years at TMS Global. We understand how God can use the short-term mission trip in extraordinary ways. It can be an important step in the discipleship journey of each individual. And the beauty of short-term trips is that, while God uses them to shape and guide the lives of those who go, He also uses them for His glory around the globe. In God’s economy, as we join Him on His mission in the world, He forms and shapes us more and more into his image! This short-term team guide is truly a collaborative work. TMS Global cross-cultural workers (CCWs), staff, and some church partners worked together to bring this to fruition. I believe this created a truly comprehensive viewpoint. Rather than speaking of short-term missions just from a local church perspective or a mission agency perspective, this guide combines many voices, all contributing from their unique experiences, wanting to help make your short-term trip the best it can be. You will notice that every section in this guide contains two different segments. The “reflections” are meant for you to do on your own as you prepare for the upcoming team meeting. The “team sessions” are meant to be used in your times together as a group. In order to get the most out of this guide, I encourage you to fully engage in the process. Dive deep into the reflections before your team meetings. Engage in the conversations during your team times. And with your team and in your individual reflection, fully participate in the post-trip debrief. If you are a team leader, let me share a special note with you. First of all, your service and leadership are important. You have an incredible opportunity to help lead and guide others in their discipleship journey. In other words, as a team leader, your mission is not just this trip; your mission is your team. During the next few months, you are a chief discipler of your teammates. We want to help you in this journey. In addition to this guidebook, we have also provided you with a leader’s guide website. This provides supplemental resources to help you lead your team well. We pray that God will use the experience of these next months to shape and encourage you in ways you cannot now imagine. 1

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” —Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV For His glory, Rhonda Dahlin Regional Director Church Culture, TMS Global On behalf of the entire TMS Global family

An important note: TMS Global uses the term cross-cultural worker (CCW) to describe the workers we train and send out on mission around the world. We have used this term throughout the book. We have also used the term mission partner throughout the book as well. These terms can be used interchangeably throughout the material presented.


Introduction First of all, I want to thank you for your commitment to the Lord and His love for the nations. I cannot express to you how glad it makes me when followers of Jesus grab ahold of God’s mission to draw all people groups to Himself to bring about His kingdom here on earth. I also want to thank you for your willingness to come alongside your long-term cross-cultural workers (CCWs) to encourage and support them in the work they are doing. Living cross-culturally is something that cannot be fully described to those who have never done it. Therefore, taking this step by going to simply be with your CCWs in their country of service is an act of love and service, as you seek to understand their life and all of its hardships and joys. The reflections in this booklet were written by TMS Global staff and CCWs, as well as experienced short-term team leaders. As you work through this booklet over the next months, our prayer is that it not only would help prepare you to have the heart and attitude of Jesus as you go to your field of service, but that it would also enrich your relationship with the Lord and with your teammates. In addition to each reflection, a space has been provided for you to journal your daily personal reflections. I believe journaling is an invaluable tool to help you process and remember what the Lord is teaching you. Often I can have so many ideas swirling around in my head that I have to take a minute to write them down. This helps me slow down my thoughts, hold them captive before the Lord, see what themes and patterns are present in what God is trying to teach me, and remain obedient to the new things God is teaching me or calling me to do. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scriptures as a blessing and prayer over you: “...because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe...” —Ephesians 1:15-19, ESV Blessings, Meagan TMS Global, Kosovo


To the Team Leader We are so grateful that you said “yes” to leading this team on mission! We want to equip you to make this trip all that it can be. The book you are holding is a participants’ guide—a workbook to help you and your team as you prepare to travel and then to debrief as you arrive back home. It is not meant to be used in isolation. We have a digital leader’s guide on our TMS Global website ( that will help you use this book to its full potential. Spend some time on the site now. As you will see, its purpose is to help you lead your team, providing them—not only with practical instruction—but also with spiritual application. Let us walk alongside you, the leader, as you guide others on this journey. Happy travels!

Guidebook Contents: Reflections Take time to read and journal these reflections before you meet as a team. Sessions Each session is broken into six segments. Here is a breakdown of how to maximize your time as a team: Share (10 minutes) Spend time getting to know each other in open conversation. Discover (15 minutes) Discuss scriptural principles and how they affect your life. Train (30 minutes) Learn some cultural principles and discuss how they will affect your service during your trip. Team Info (20 minutes) Go over logistics and planning details that will be needed for the specifics of your trip. Pray (10 minutes) Spend time as a team praying over different suggested topics. The Checklist Assign tasks for each team member to work on after the meeting. Ideally, two hours is best for team meetings. Of course, adjust suggested times appropriately.



Psalm 19

Jesus in a Suitcase by Jim Ramsay TMS Global’s Chief of Global Operations, Georgia A colleague from a sister agency told me once about seeing a group of people at an airport in Latin America with matching T-shirts that declared: “Taking Jesus from Texas to Costa Rica.” While messaging on a T-shirt is not enough to know the full theological understanding of the group, one can’t help but ask, “Has Jesus not yet made it to Costa Rica?” How we answer that question can make all the difference in our expectations and even our posture as we visit a different culture. When our family went to serve in the “unreached” area of Northern Kazakhstan, I remember being struck by the testimonies of the people there. So many of these accounts gave evidence of God’s work, even in a city that had been closed during communism and where atheism had been taught for 70 years. Twenty-year-old Olga shared with me how, as a child, although her parents and her school taught there was no God, she would walk to school speaking to God. She knew He existed and wanted to know more. So when the first cross-cultural workers arrived there and shared Christ with her, it was not an earth-shattering revelation, but simply a clarification and fuller understanding of what she already had sensed. When going to share our faith in a new culture, do we go with the full expectation that the Holy Spirit has already been long at work? If so, how might we spot these “signs of grace”? How might we adjust our own expectations and agendas so as not to inadvertently miss these, or worse, tread roughshod over them? Something beautiful and holy happens when we connect our own experience of faith with those areas where God has already been at work. I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes that exemplifies the mindset anyone should have while traveling for cross-cultural work: “Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More serious still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival.” — Max Warren, in John V. Taylor, The Primal Vision: Christian Presence amid African Religion, (London: SCM, 1963), 10.




Philippians 2:1-4

Perspective by Frank Decker Former TMS Global Vice President for Training and Formation (retired), Georgia While we were living in West Africa, a church in Georgia asked me to serve as a chaplain and interpreter for a short-term team they were sending to Egypt. The team had several professional builders and bricklayers as the task at hand was to provide structural improvements at an orphanage that served 80 children in an economically challenged area near Cairo. On the first day of construction, it was pretty evident that the American and Egyptian methods of bricklaying were quite different. I was off in another part of the orphanage repairing toilets and returned to the construction site later in the day. I found that quite a bit of tension had developed between the two groups. The Americans thought the Egyptians were laying the bricks too sloppily, and the Egyptians thought the Americans were doing it too slowly. So, by the time I returned, I found that the two groups had decided to work by themselves on different parts of the project. One member of the American work team even said to me, “They are doing it all wrong! Look at how the bricks are not even straight!” Later that day I made a suggestion. I took the Americans aside and said, “Look, you guys are taking the time with your blocks and lines to make sure that every brick is perfectly level. But after the brickwork is done, the Egyptians know that there will be a coat of plaster applied over the bricks. So the aesthetics of the brickwork doesn’t really matter.” I suggested that since the Egyptians knew what they were doing and were doing it much faster, that we begin to serve them by bringing them the necessary bricks and mortar for the work. I also challenged them to see how many Arabic words they could learn in the process. They all agreed. That evening, during our daily team debriefing, one fellow said that making that change completely adjusted his perspective on the project... “and the Arabic phrase I learned that most stuck in my mind today is ‘Mafeesh mooshkela,’ which means ‘It doesn’t matter.’”




1 Kings 3:15a

Dreams by Hugh Manatee* TMS Global, Caucasus Region She seemed to be a well-educated and modern Middle-Eastern woman, yet there were also sad stories of a difficult marriage and financial struggles. After barely being able to communicate for months because of our limited language skills, we began to understand more of her story. When she was 22, she had the same dream for two nights in a row. In this dream, she saw the face of Jesus. He said nothing. It was only his face. Yet, somehow, she knew exactly who He was. She asked her mother what this dream might mean. Her mother replied, “It means something wonderful will happen.” Many years later, after this woman had suffered difficult hardships, a woman from another country moved in across the hall. This woman seemed different, with a sense of joy and peace. The newcomer offered to share tea with her, then a Bible in her own language, and then stories about the man called Jesus. It was only then that she realized the words of her mother had finally come true. Encountering the living Lord Jesus in a personal way that she could understand and believe was the “something wonderful” that happened! Now, as we have had the opportunity to learn language and Bible stories, we have seen her grow and even teach us. As we studied the story of Zacchaeus, she realized that, like the short man in the Bible story, Jesus had come to stay at her house! Moreover, she senses the responsibility to share this “something wonderful” with her family. God is at work in people’s lives before they ever encounter a Jesus follower. Ask God to open your eyes to the ways He is at work in your culture and the culture to which you’ll be going. Ask Him how He wants you to join Him in what He’s already doing. *Pseudonym is used for security purposes.



Session 1

Going as a Learner Share

Why did you join this team? What are you hoping God will do through this trip?


Read Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8 As a group discuss the following: 1. What does this Scripture tell me about God? 2. What does this Scripture tell me about humans? 3. According to this Scripture, what am I doing well? What do I need to change?


Before moving on, watch the Going as a Learner video by Sonji Pass, one of the regional directors of Church Culture with TMS Global. All lesson videos can be found at Simply scroll down until you find the appropriate one. Going as a learner is about entering into a community in a way that makes sense to the people we’re trying to reach, being a blessing to them, and building bridges for the message of the gospel. This principle is about listening to those we wish to reach and learning from them about what they value and what they need. The challenge, for the average American, is that our cultural “way of being” is to do all we can to be seen, to be heard, and to be right. Stepping into a different culture is more about observing, listening, and asking questions versus having all of the answers. What new experiences can you allow yourself to enter into for the sake of learning? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The video talked about the posture of a learner affecting the effectiveness of the mission. How do you take on the posture of a learner? And how might that affect the mission? What are the pitfalls to avoid? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 11

Our default is to try to relate new experiences and situations to those we already know and understand. But how can we push ourselves to not try to explain away, rationalize, or give advice on everything? Jesus came to earth as the omniscient, sovereign Savior; yet He had a way of engaging people as a servant and with dignity. He never said, “I told you so,” or “I know more than you do.” Give a specific example of how Jesus engaged people as a servant and how you might do the same? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Having the heart of a learner means that you are allowing what you see and experience to form a better understanding of God, of the community you enter, of those who don’t know Jesus, and of the global Church. According to the video, how do you enter in and not trample on people and things? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The journey of a learner doesn’t end when you return to the US. It begins before you go, grows while you’re on the mission, and matures when you return … if nurtured. The principles and processes used to allow the Lord to speak to you on the mission trip are the same principles that will enable you to reach your neighbors in the States. Ask Jesus to open your eyes, sensitize your heart, and sharpen your ears to His voice. Observe, listen, and ask! What have you learned about yourself and what will you do differently as a result of this lesson? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Team Info Leader: Share an overview of the ministry and partners with whom you will serve. Members: Those familiar with this partner, talk about their experience. Ask any questions about the partner or what the trip will look like. 12


Pray that God would mold you more into His image on this journey. Quiet yourself before the Lord and listen to what He may be telling you. Write down thoughts and ideas that come into your head. Close with one person praying for you as a team.

The Checklist •

• •


Forms/deposits: Make sure you turn in completed registration forms, medical release, a color copy of your passport, and a deposit to your church. All these things are needed before airfare can be purchased. Or make sure you know what your church’s deadlines are for these things. Check your passport: Your passport must not expire sooner than six months from the date of your return. You must have at least four blank “visa” pages in your passport. If your passport doesn’t meet both of these requirements, you must apply for a new passport ASAP! Immunizations: Check the Centers for Disease Control website at for the most up-to-date information about immunizations needed for your travel region. Make an appointment with your doctor to get all immunizations. Building your team: Make a list of 50 people you will approach to help support you with your trip. Get creative about how you plan to connect with these 50 people. It may be through a personalized note, a video presentation, or a standardized letter. Remember, you are not just raising funds, you are surrounding yourself with a team who will pray for you and support you as you go.

Hi, We’re TMS Global! TMS Global was founded as a Christian nonprofit ministry that sends people to share the love and message of Jesus cross-culturally and equips Christ followers to better engage their neighbors. For more than 35 years, TMS Global has trained, mobilized, and served hundreds of cross-cultural workers. Currently, more than 130 workers serve in 36 nations around the world. Thousands of people have been introduced to Jesus and discipled in their faith. Churches in the US andabroad have embraced God’s plan for their congregations and reached out to their communities, nation, and the world with the hope of Christ. We can help you find your place in Jesus’ mission to the world. That’s why we exist. In addition to mobilizing individuals, TMS Global is passionate about equipping local churches for missions. We believe the local church is God’s primary agent for reaching the world for Christ. We partner with local churches, helping enable them to better engage their community and world with the message of Jesus. We offer training for US congregations who seek to become more engaged in local and international missions. Interested churches can also receive personalized coaching to develop a mission action plan, including how to develop partnerships and fund your mission ministry. This coaching involves resourcing, onsite visits, and leadership development that is customized for your congregation.


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