Leadership Lessons From A Recent Mission Trip

The church had a leadership void in a ministry area. I accepted a lunch invitation and wound up agreeing to fill that void. The position was leader of our missions ministry. Lunch was just over a year ago.

Last week a team of eleven people returned from a week working at an orphanage and women’s shelter operated by the Tijuana Christian Mission. We have had a longstanding relationship with TCM, but the leadership void had caused a break in the relationship.

We had a similar relationship with a mission in Haiti–also serving youth and orphans in that country. Same situation–but I’m still putting together a team for that trip.

This seemed like a good time to reflect on the past year and share some leadership thoughts. None of these are ground-breaking ideas. Humans have known about doing leadership for thousands of years. We just need reminding and encouraging.

Vision

I had a vision of restarting the relationships and trips to Tijuana and Haiti. Circumstances pointed to Tijuana as the best place to start.

My “reach” vision is to start new relationships leveraging two groups with ties to our church with ministries in Africa–Kenya and Ethiopia.

Obstacles

One of the staff people strongly suggested that the first thing I do is form a committee, hold committee meetings, build a formal organization with all manner of job descriptions–just like the business she had come from.

Then when I told her that I was organizing a trip to Tijuana, I was told no. That was not in my area of responsibility.

Then I found other leadership problems–mostly apathy of senior staff.

Gathering advisors

So I started finding advisors and helpers to tackle the various obstacles so we could get moving. There were internal leadership advisors and advisors who could help me plan and prepare for the trips. Such help was invaluable.

Recruiting a team

Approvals received. Dates for the trip established. It was time to recruit. Once again getting help from other leaders was essential. Circumstances beyond my control dictated a trip with only three months to recruit, plan, fund raise and go.

But a group was recruited and we began to prepare them for the trip.

Planning to smallest detail

Here are some of the planning details. We had to plan around several unknowns, but we do that in business all the time.

  • develop budget
  • agree on projects with TCM
  • budget time and money for the projects
  • plan air travel for a group
  • make sure all had passports
  • plan each day’s activities–when we eat out, when we eat at the orphanage, when we work on projects, when we work with the kids, when we arrive, when we leave

Flexibility

There are many circumstances that cannot be planned. Vans may not be available just when we think we need them. Meals may be later (or earlier) than we planned. The scope of the project may change. We had to be flexible to go with the flow and accept schedule changes.

Reflection

We gathered each day in the morning and the evening to reflect on the trip and our objectives, as well as our personal reactions.

Writing this post is another way of reflecting on the trip–what we did, what we learned. Each team member is expected to also reflect on the trip and feedback thoughts for future trips.

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One Response to “Leadership Lessons From A Recent Mission Trip”

  1. I'm Back With a Leadership LessonThe Manufacturing Connection Says:

    […] From Faith Venture […]

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