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Becoming a missionary: Pulling together with your A Team
July 2020
SEND International pairs missionaries with a coach who helps them navigate the path to the field. One of our coaches writes about the importance of having a close-knit group to support future missionaries in this process.  

By A.B. on SEND’s missionary care team — When my husband and I were aiming to move to the mission field, we were feeling stuck, frustrated, and discouraged. We called together a group of missions leaders and pastors from our home church. They prayed for us, encouraged us, and gave us some names of people who might help us. We left feeling like a load had been lifted. 
 
The disciples were sent out two by two because Jesus knows that we need one another. He knows that we need the perspective, the support, and the gifts of others.
 
One of the most important steps you can take as you consider serving as a missionary is developing what we at SEND call an A Team. 
 
Imagine all that could be accomplished at your job if you had a team in charge of different aspects instead of you doing it all! By developing an A Team, short for Advocate Team, you will have a group of supportive people using their gifts and strengths to help you get to the mission field. This frees you up to focus on discerning God’s will and on preparing for your future ministry. 

Who should join? 

Your A Team should not include just anyone who expresses interest in missions. Limit it to people that you pray about and hand pick because you have a relationship with them and believe that they will be an asset to your particular ministry. An ideal size would be five to seven people, but even a team of two other people or couples can be helpful. As you approach potential A Team members, give them time to pray about joining your team.

When to meet? 

Gathering monthly is a good goal. This gives the members of your team an opportunity to stay in the loop with what is happening in your life and ministry. Missionaries can easily get discouraged and succumb to the attacks of the enemy when they are trying to go it alone. Regular communication with a group that is committed to you and is invested in your future ministry can give you the strength and encouragement that you need when times are tough. Even if your A Team is spread out, or if you happen to be in the middle of a pandemic, you can meet up via Skype or Zoom and have a productive time together.
 

What to do? 

Take time to pray at each meeting. You might have experiences, doubts, fears, or relationship struggles that are not appropriate to publish in a newsletter, and having a trusted A Team where you can share those things is a great blessing! 
 
After you’ve taken a few steps along the path toward becoming a missionary and are ready to start raising support, share your partner development strategy with your team and invite input. Tell them your goals for the next month so that they can hold you accountable. Practice your presentations on the group and listen to their feedback—if your presentation doesn’t make sense to them, it won’t make sense to others! Ask them to serve as a focus group before you print hundreds of copies of your prayer card or your ministry brochure. 
 
Please don’t see developing an A Team as another task to pile on to the growing stack of things that have to be done in order for you to go reach the unreached. The goal is to keep you from doing everything on your own. You are actually not even the chairperson of your own A Team. It is best to have someone else take the lead. That person can initiate meetings and make sure that everyone is doing his or her job (prayer, communication, media, snacks—just to name a few). 
 
If you take the time to invest in an A Team, you will likely reap the benefits many times over. Hopefully, this group will continue to be invested in you and in your ministry while you are on the field.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.B.
A.B. served in the Middle East before she joined SEND’s member care team.