The vision of our team is to see you begin the journey to live a missional life today, even before we get on the field. The experiences of working in a different culture, sharing the gospel, and learning and incorporating leadership principles into your life will carry you further along in this journey. But, the journey starts now at home with pre-trip training! We are counting on you to fully engage in these pre-trip training sessions.
When participants who are well prepared show up on the field, they are a tremendous blessing and benefit to our church planting partners. Unfortunately, if participants haven’t prepared well, they can quickly become a distraction or even a burden to the ministry that is taking place at our mission sites.
Spend a few minutes watching the welcome videos and reading the overview below. Then, make a plan for when you will complete these pre-trip training sessions. Remember, the more you practice sharing the gospel, the more confident you will feel the first day on the field and the better you will be able to serve the local pastors.
Each session will take you around an hour to complete. You could complete it over a weekend or spread it out over several months. However, it is vital that you take the time to learn and practice sharing the gospel numerous times between now and when you depart for your trip. Each session includes three to six short training videos on evangelism, culture, and training on the 3 Circles.
You should have received a Pre-Trip Training Guide in the mail that will provide you with everything you need to prepare you for the ministry you will be doing on your mission trip. If you haven’t received this, or if you have any questions about this process or need additional materials, please contact us at [email protected]. Thanks in advance for your investment of time in this training process.
Start by watching this video to learn a little more about the vision of East-West NEXT Teams and our hopes for what this short-term mission team will accomplish.
Pause now and take a few minutes to reflect on what you are excited about or nervous about as you anticipate this trip. Write a few of those things down in the space provided in your training guide, and then watch the video below, “Our Strategy.”
It is so exciting to think about how you will play a role in God’s greater story! Before moving on to the next video, take a few minutes to pause now and pray for the ministry that will happen on your trip, and thank God for allowing you to be a part of His work of redemption!
Think about what commitments you may need to make to God, to yourself, and to your team members as you prepare for this opportunity. Pray that God would help you prepare your heart, your mind, and your soul now.
In the coming sessions, we will dive deeper into this tool, but today you can just watch an overview. When you finish watching the video, discuss with your group.
As participants on a short-term mission team, we must remember that we’re entering into someone else’s culture. We are the visitors, and it is our responsibility to understand and adapt to the culture of those we are visiting. It is not their job to adapt to our culture. One ministry leader in Africa compared working with Americans to elephants dancing with mice. In your training materials we have included a short article about this along with some lessons we can learn. Take a minute now to read through that and discuss some of your observations.
The more we learn about other cultures, the better positioned we are to delight in differences and celebrate the diversity of life that God has given us!
Now, further reflect on what we talked about today. Take a look at the resources in your training materials and discuss with another team member or friend.
Take a few minutes to pray for those who will be translating for you as you share the gospel on your trip.
We are becoming more familiar with how to enter different cultures, but remember that our first job is to be faithful and share the good news with others. So let’s practice using the 3 Circles tool. As you continue to practice sharing the gospel, you can rewatch the following video for extra practice.
In this session, we will look at the gospel, we’ll explain what sharing the gospel really means, and we will talk about ways to have these conversations so that you’ll be much more comfortable sharing this good news with people.
Think about these words from Matt Chandler. Use your training materials as a guide to help you reflect on the ways God has transformed your life. Think about where you were before you heard the gospel, when and how you came to believe the gospel, and how the gospel continues to change you. Then ask God to use you as you share this great story of redemption with others.
With those tips in mind, spend a few minutes now to write out some key parts of your testimony using the guide in your training materials. You’ll be surprised how often this will come in handy and how effective it can be in helping you move from casual conversations to actually sharing the gospel.
2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” You have the privilege of helping others navigate doing just that. Pray for open hearts that are ready to respond to the good news of the gospel. Pray that God would speak through you to accomplish His purposes.
Pause now and ask God to give you wisdom as you seek to understand and interact with those who are different from you.
In this session, we will put together all that we have practiced into a full gospel sharing conversation. First, we want to look at how the gospel and culture relate to each other. We will focus on different spiritual beliefs among various cultures, and you’ll see how to approach the gospel based on what people already believe about spiritual things.
One thing that will help you as you enter into a conversation with someone is to start by asking questions. Find out about any beliefs they have, what they think the meaning of life is, what happens after they die, or any other questions you can think of that will help you get a better grasp of their mindset. Another thing that will help you is to spend some extra time studying the primary religion of the area you will be serving in. To help you begin learning about some of the key cultural differences in this area, we have included a handout with your pre-trip training materials about some of the primary beliefs of the major world religions.
Remember, everyone is nervous when they begin. You’ll gain confidence throughout the week and you’ll get into a rhythm that works for you. But the two best things you can do now to prepare for sharing on the field are to pray for God to soften the hearts of those you’ll interact with, and to practice using the 3 Circles. Talk with your group about tips that will help you in these gospel conversations.
Watch this modeled gospel conversation and take note on how you might put it into practice on your own. Come back to this video as you practice for extra help.
Hopefully by this point are getting excited about your trip! As we wrap up our training, we’d like to commit time to finalizing your preparation for the field. In this session, you will hear from our security director, you will practice sharing the gospel, and you will spend time with your group praying for the trip.
If you have not yet completed your security training or made a plan to do so, discuss this with your group now.
Use the guide in your training materials to spend this time practicing a gospel conversation with a friend. Go through the whole process, starting from introductions at the beginning to the invitation at the end. Remember, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become sharing this life changing truth!
Spend this time in prayer for your trip. Use the training materials as a guide for prayer points.
Thanks for sticking with us through these sessions and for investing time into preparing for the opportunity God has given us. Just because these sessions are over doesn’t mean you need to stop preparing. Keep practicing by sharing your 15-second testimony and the 3 Circles with others. It may be helpful to ask someone to hold you accountable for sharing a certain number of times between now and your trip. We know the Lord is going to use you and your story to impact so many lives. What a joy to be a part of God’s story!