How To Be an Effective Mission Team Member
At first glance one would be quick to say "Just do what you're there to do and don't be annoying!". When we think of the opposite, you get an ineffective member who is annoying. Those two things run hand in hand. If only it were that simple!
When people are displaced from their comfort zone funny things begin to happen. Attitudes and actions change...without warning. A good friend of mine and mentor, Richard Farris, said it very well:
"Be fluid, because flexible is too rigid!"
This means that you must be very self aware at all times. How???
First, watch the negativity. Yes, these small little attributes fester up pretty quickly. How many times a day do you need to let everyone know that it's hot? The whole team is aware of the temperature, leave it alone. Those comments contribute nothing good. They slowly feed into negativity.
Second, be prepared to move. Circumstances change very rapidly in most developing countries. A rainstorm could start in the middle of the afternoon, a seemingly fun activity can get interrupted by a dangerous situation. When the leaders give instruction to leave or be at a certain place at a given time the members must be prepared to do so. One late person can hold an entire team back and put the mission at risk.
Third, don't be "Super Team Member". The last thing we all need is someone passing out of dehydration because they either failed to rest and drink water or they wanted to prove they could achieve something. Pace yourself. Don't do what you cannot do. If all other team mates are being fluid, then they will not care if you don't carry something too heavy. One person over doing it can cause problems for the team and the local pastor 0r missionary that lives there.
Lastly, remember the ultimate goal. Why are you really on this trip? Are you there to paint a wall or dig a well only? Just to be on the safe side...I'll answer that for you. You are there for the people. Not necessarily to save them from some kind of misery (although that is a part of it), but to be obedient to God. Neither the wall nor the well, nor a building is the objective. The people are the objective for the purpose of showing love, compassion and dignity to those who feel they have none. That involves connection, discipleship and caring. All that stuff that Jesus was doing.