Being a Team on a Mission Trip
4 Tips for Growing as a Team
Short term mission trips force people to be in close contact with each other for an extended period of time. Not only will you be with your team during the trip, but you will also be with them during the preparation for the trip and the debrief after you get back. This trip is a great opportunity for you to build lasting relationships with the other members of your team, but that is only possible if everybody puts effort into making the team the best it can be. Whether you are a team leader or a team member, it is important to be a team player.
Get to know each other
These are the people that you are going to be sharing a potentially life changing experience with. Get to know them. Learn their stories, learn their personalities. What are their favorite foods, books, hobbies, etc? What are some of the things they are excited about/nervous about for the trip? Is there anything they will be missing at home while they are on the trip? Knowing your team members and being friends with them makes it much easier to extend grace when things get difficult. When you are on your trip and something unexpected comes up, you will already have a foundation of friendship to rely on during the difficult times.
Go into the trip with a mindset of service. This trip will be a great opportunity to serve each other. Throughout the trip look for opportunities to go out of your way to do something nice for your teammates. Is one of your teammates struggling because today is her brother’s birthday and she isn’t home to spend it with him? See if you can find something extra nice to do for her that day. Do you know what one of your teammates’ favorite meals is? See if you can find a way to make that meal (or something similar). Remember that this trip is not about you. Continue to keep an attitude of service throughout the trip by praying for your teammates, looking for opportunities to serve them, and focusing on others more than yourself
Be considerate of other team member’s feelings and concerns. Maybe something that doesn’t particularly bother you is hitting your team member hard. Instead of looking down on your team member and thinking they should just toughen up, take some time to show extra love to them. Maybe there is something going on that you do not know about. Ask questions and always be a good listener, but respect their wishes if they don’t want to talk. Make sure to keep in mind that everyone experiences things differently. There may be some things that are more difficult for you that are easy for your teammates. It is important to be there for one another through both the easy and the difficult.
Know when to speak
Speak up if you need something, but do not complain continuously. There are definitely going to be times where the trip is difficult and uncomfortable. If you continuously complain about every inconvenience, you are going to make the trip unbearable for both yourself and your teammates. When you are inconvenienced, try to remember that everyone around you is uncomfortable too. Will complaining out loud to your teammates help the situation in any way? If not, try to keep your negative thoughts to yourself.
That being said, if there is something that is seriously bothering you, it is okay to speak up. If a situation arises that needs to be addressed, keeping quiet can cause even more damage. If something like this happens, try to talk to your team leader about what you should do. Do not make a scene in front of the entire group, try to find a time when you can sit down and talk about your concerns.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep quiet, and sometimes the best thing to do is to speak up. Leading up to and during your trip pray for wisdom and discernment for handling any situations that come up.
The team makes or breaks the trip. Make sure you are being the best team player you can be. If everyone on the team is working hard to be a great team member, the team will be able to accomplish much more as a group than any of you could do alone.
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