We see three clear stages of Missions Team training. The first is when a new team member first comes into membership. Some churches require a training and orientation period of 3-6 months, attending MT meetings, studying the missions policy, and just seeing how it all operates prior to having voting rights and official responsibilities. These days we would recommend that every team members read a few key books, such as Let the Nations Be Glad, Serving As Senders, and When Helping Hurts, as basic orientation. It wouldn’t hurt to require new team members (and old team members!) to visit Propempo.com and at least scan through the Church Mobiliization path as part of their orientation. Below, there is a downloadable page of suggestions for Missions Team training materials.
The second stage of Missions Team training is ongoing training. This ranges from a less formal awareness of current world events and trends in missions through literature and publications to a more formal training, such as all team member being encouraged (and scholarshipped?) to take the “Perspectives” course. We encourage the MT Leader/Chairman to assign books and articles out to MT members for reading, review, and report back to the MT. Dividing up the labor and refreshing skills and passion through these sources can help. Everyone on the MT doesn’t have to read everything that is flowing through the missions publication pipeline; but individual reviews and overview of key materials can be a blessing to all. Some MTs “require” each MT member to participate in a church-sponsored STM team or project every 3-5 years. This creates a large sense of ownership and gives first-hand experience with the STMs and the field personnel. A few MT members may be blessed to have the capability to visit field missionaries “on their own”. This care and shepherding is invaluable to them personally, to the missionaries, and to the Missions Team.
The third stage of Missions Team training is specialization. As God gives you MT members with specific experience, interest, or inclination, you may find that one of them is really a specialist in financial management, non-profit legal matters, Muslim ministry, heart for unreached peoples, a particular strategic focus, HR development, biblical counseling, prayer, communications, Internet implementation, technology. it’s not necessary for everyone on the MT to be expert in all these areas. However, it is a great asset for one or more team members to pursue increasing knowledge, resources, and expertise in any number of those areas. They become key to the practical application of those skills and resources to the mission task of your local church.
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