Short-Term Teams

Published on Mar 21, 2016

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Short-Term Teams

Using Mobiles for Greater Fruitfulness
Photo by bibendum84

Brian James
@KingdomGuy1 (Twitter)

Photo by D-Stanley

Expand Your Vision

Seek to bear MUCH fruit!
Story of s-t team to Kaz.

When sending out teams, we have a variety of obectives - to serve people in practical ways, to help people understand the needs of others, to see God at work in other cultures, etc.

Technology, particularly mobiles, allows us to set the bar a bit higher in terms of the potential impact teams can have nowadays. Our mobiles can serve as strategic ministry tools that short-term teams can leverage to go deeper and farther. So if you are organizing or leading teams, I want you to expand your vision of what you think is possible for your team to accomplish.

"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." - John 15:8

Let's send our teams out with the goal and expectation of bearing MUCH fruit!
Photo by Andy Hay

The Mobile Revolution

For the past 2 decades - and much accelerated over the past 10 years or so - the mobile revolution has been marching across the globe. Evidence of it is seen all around us today, but it is important to grasp how significant this revolution has been. We in the West often fail to grasp the profound impact that it has had on the world. We tend to pride ourselves on our technology, yet we were somewhat late to the game due to our extensive network of landlines that minimized our move to mobile. When we did finally embrace mobiles, it was really just another step of technology creep.

Late last year, we crossed a major milestone - more mobile subscriptions than there are people in the world!

More people have mobiles than have toothbrushes.

WHY use mobiles for ministry?

So we get it -- mobiles are everywhere. But why would we want to use them for ministry? Why should we consider sending our teams out with plans to use their mobiles?


Highly Contextual
Ten years ago, when I was living in Central Asia, if I wanted to show someone the Jesus film or some other media, I had to use a laptop computer or portable DVD player. That was problematic for many reasons:

* It has highly conspicuous & drew lots of attention.
* The technology was such a novelty it was a distraction.
* It was cumbersome & time consuming.
* It wasn't an always-with-me-and-ready-to-use solution.

The mobile solves all of these issues. It is the most ubiquitous device on the planet. It is inconspicuous. It is natural for expats and locals alike to use. It is always with us.
Photo by Vecchia Betty


Always with us
When I was in Central Asia, I was not able to keep a computer or video player with me, along with a collection of media, and have those ready to show whenever an opportunity arose.

The always-with-us aspect of mobiles is a real game changer. 2 Tim 4:2 admonishes us to "be ready in season and out of season" -- at all times. With some planning & practice, short-term teams can be prepared to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. This is a big deal!
Photo by NYCDoITT


Highly Versatile
There are so many ways that mobiles can be used for ministry:

* SHOW appropriate media (audio, video, images)
(When is the last time you refused to watch a video clip
someone wanted to share with you?)
* SHARE appropriate media
* Take pictures with (not just of!) those we're serving.
(Don't you feel a little special when someone wants to
have their picture taken with you? It says, "I want to
remember you and our time together." It communicates
* Connect for followup using WhatsApp, social media or even good old fashioned SMS or voice.

And, of course, there are other reasons less focused on those we're trying to reach but still valuable:
* Capture memories to share with those back home.
* A way to remember individual people you meet so that
you can pray for them.
* Great to have in emergencies.
* A way to communicate with people back home
(consider a unique hashtag, for example, for posting on
Twitter or Instagram -- but be sensitive!)
* Live streaming to your church
Photo by


Speak all the languages we don't.
Another really, really big deal is that our mobiles can speak all the languages we don't. Going prepared with media to show and share in the local language is a great way to impact people in ways that we otherwise couldn't dream of doing.
Photo by Karen Roe


Allow you to leave something of value behind
No, I don't mean leave your phones behind!

But one of the neat things about mobile technology is the ability to leave behind media that can have a lasting impact. This media can go viral. It can be shared via Bluetooth, sharing apps, social media, microSD cards, etc.

A Few Tips

  • Practice before you go.
  • Prepare to use your phone abroad.
  • Bring a multi-port portable charger
  • Seek the counsel of those on the field.
  • Set limits for youth. Teach them to see their devices as kingdom-building tools.
  • Consider bringing an older device or buying a cheap Android phone.


Share Your Stories!

Share your stories!

If you take any of this to heart, the MMF team wants to hear from you - the good, the bad and the ugly! We want to learn from your experiences so can better equip others. And we want to use your stories to INSPIRE others. Please contact us at to share your stories. Thanks!

Brian James

Haiku Deck Pro User