Have you ever wondered who is part of the Short-Term Mission team? There are two IM staff members and ten volunteers called Special Assistants to the Short-Term Mission desk. These Special Assistants are voted in by the Global Mission Team to assist in various ministry tasks assigned by the STM Director. These individuals are on fire for the Lord and passionate about God’s mission, discipleship and cross-cultural mission. The Short-Term Mission team embodies 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27.
It is truly an honor to have the plethora of skills, knowledge and diversity represented through these Special Assistants. They come from Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Up State New York, and South Carolina. They bring robust educational backgrounds from community development & counseling, mental health, pastoral ministry, technology, teaching & curriculum development, research, trauma support, theological education to name a few. They are salt and light in their communities and abroad. They are multi-lingual team leaders, trainers, gentle discipleship mentors to short-term mission volunteers who seek to affirm, and nurture their own calls to mission. These dedicated servants are culturally diverse which enable the Short-Term Mission desk to respond with greater cultural sensitivity in the preparation of teams and individuals before they depart on a trip. One can say that they/we model “integral mission” that missiologist Rene Padilla coined in the 1970’s. It is attending to the whole person with deep and compassionate listening, asking heart questions and coming alongside to be servant-leaders. These gifted individuals have themselves been part of short-term mission teams in various roles. Some have lived abroad as Missionary Kids.
These Special Assistants serve on an as needed basis on top of full time professional commitments they have. They are the extension of the Short-Term Mission desk in their respective American Baptist Churches, regions, associations. They share updates about global servants, help promote virtual and in-person trips sponsored by IM, and present about global ministry at special events, like the 2023 Rhode Island Global Camp or the 2021 Camp Cowan Camp Global. They are called to preach, present and report about God’s mission. They assist in orientation sessions, debriefings when teams and individuals return from serving abroad. They also attend on rare occasions some of the endorsement orientations for new long-term global servants.
What has been made anew these past four years, is the continuing education webinars they receive at quarterly staff meetings. These training sessions have enabled them and the two IM Staff members to stay on top of the evolving nature of global short-term mission. The 2021 Barna report Field Guide to Better Short-Term Mission Trips speaks of key attributes volunteers bring to kingdom building. The report also confirms the importance of staying God-centered in all activities performed while serving alongside foreign partners. Another important attribute to develop or sharpen is deep listening, which in times of conflict has positive impact. Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” is a good reminder of the impact that deep listening skills have all around us. The Short-Term Mission desk upholds the seven tenants of their accreditation through Mission Excellence www.missionexcellence.global
The ten Special Assistants to the Short-Term Mission desk invite many around them to be the hands and feet of Christ with excellence and humility. We are grateful for their ministry.