Sunday, April 20

Mission Team Management

Rich and Jen make notes for the week's events.
A large part of hosting mission teams, and helping them to adjust, seems to be "meetings". It's not a very glamorous thing, but the time we spend with the team leaders is invaluable as we plan ministry events, settle housing and meal issues and even just to make sure we're not totally overwhelming our guests!

Planning classes and activities for the week.It's been wonderful having Pastor Tom with us this past week. He and his wife, Naomi, have been pastoring a church in the Sacramento, California, area for the past 6 months. When we began working with CC Boca two years ago, we spent many hours fellowshipping and praying in Tom and Naomi's apartment...and drinking extremely strong coffee! It's a blessing to have him here -- even if it's only for a few days!

Pastor Tom shares his internationally-renowned coffee.

We had a "whole group" meeting on Monday night. Sergio's band, OACA, opened with some great worship music and we could sense God's presence in the group. As Tom later said, there's nothing super-spiritual about the stuff we needed to talk about, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't focus the meeting on spiritual things! When we micro-manage to the extreme and try to hyper-plan, we often get in the way of God's perfect plan. This is as true in our daily life as it is in mission trip planning. Yes, details need to be covered: people need to know where they're sleeping and what time meals are planned. It's also important that everyone on the team is aware of "culturally acceptable and unacceptable behaviors" and knows who to talk to when they have a problem.

We (maybe because we are Americans) tend to want things pretty well "lined out". Sometimes Usually that way of thinking doesn't translate well into the Mexican culture. This is an "event oriented" culture, not a time-oriented one. As such, it's more important that the events follow a logical progression rather than a rigid time schedule. For example, Saturday night we planned a short testimony, drama and a couple of worship songs to preceed the volley-ball tournament which would be followed by a small dinner and a movie. No time schedule was set, so when the last volley-ball game ended at 9:30 and the dinner was served, we scrapped the movie! Everyone flowed with that.

This "flowy" schedule can drive some folks nuts! I, for one, am a list-maker. I sometimes write things on my list after I've done them, just so I can cross them off. I like lists with everything crossed off. I think they call it obsessive/compulsive. Anyway, I believe that God is more "event-oriented" than "clock-oriented", too. If the song service is a little long on Sunday morning, and then several people get up to share testimonies, and then the pastor's message goes a little later than usual, and then he gives a call to prayer afterward, should we be stressed out and anxious because it's past noon and our tummies are rumbling? I don't think that's God's heart. God is a God of order, but He is not too concerned with our time schedule. I'm not sure if the stereo-typical Mexican mañana attitude is more healthy than the stereo-typical American fixation with clocks, but I know there's gotta be a balance.

So our first group meeting went well. We covered a bunch of trivial details, talked about ministry opportunities and had a fantastic time of prayer and worship. Who could ask for anything more?

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I miss that apartment :)