EMAS Canada teams are composed of followers of Jesus Christ who aspire to become like Him. They serve in teams that are built over long periods of planning, praying and discerning God’s leading in response to overseas opportunities. An invitation to serve will often be followed by two or more exploratory visits, during which the EMAS team-in-formation will hold discussions with the hosts, evaluating our capacity to serve, and the relevance of our contribution. These exploratory trips are working visits in which we actively provide services as needed. In the period between these preliminary visits EMAS staff and the fledgling team discuss how our Core Values will find expression in the potential service opportunity. In the exploration phase, the team’s members may change as we learn about the specific staffing needs of our hosts. For instance, on the first exploratory Dental mission, the team included personnel who though deemed necessary by our hosts at the time are now known to be less of a priority: the team exchanged a surgeon and anesthesiologist for a bible teacher and theologian on the second and third trips and are beginning to see more clearly what God expects them to do in Zimbabwe.
EMAS teams are built by those who want to exemplify Christ-likeness, in their characters, and their calling to medical missions.
Team leadership is multifaceted and includes clinical, teaching, spiritual, and administrative responsibilities. In EMAS the team leader is the program manager, the lead fundraiser for the team’s activities, as well as the spiritual leader.
Servants are Leaders
As a movement which is guided by the principle of Christ-likeness, our leadership model is biblical. Servants who consistently practice servanthood because it is their character become leaders, in contrast to those who see servanthood as an attitude or lifestyle for leaders.
We see this idea in Abraham in Gen 18:1-9 and in the teachings and behavior of Christ, Mark 10:35-45. Matt 23: 8-12, and John 13: 1-20
Christ-likeness has many expressions. Among them are such characteristics as humility, compassion, love, honesty, and holiness. These, and other attributes, are cultivated over many years through a personal love for God, and obedience to His word; they are some of the marks of spiritual maturity we look for before we entrust someone with the leadership of an EMAS team.
The chief task of the aspiring leader is not to assemble people for their team, but to maintain personal Christ-centeredness and servanthood which will draw people to their team, and in turn keep the team focused on pursuing Christ-likeness.
Servants are Stewards
Jesus expected the leaders of His movement to take responsibility for the welfare of others, and for His affairs and mission.
During a recent post-mission debriefing, a team leader was heard praying for the welfare of a team member’s friend. They followed up on this person’s social needs and later invited them to a team dinner. On another occasion a team leader insisted that a member have appropriate child-care arrangements in place before accepting them on the team. The first responsibility of the team leader is to care for the members of the team, and where necessary, for their families too.
The responsibility of a team leader as program manager is their stewardship of people and resources for the team’s task. In certain biblical examples a steward was a loyal slave who had served their way into a position of greater trust than their peers. They were people at the disposal of others. They did not own what was entrusted to them. The task and the team members belong to God and not the team leader. Joseph in Egypt is a well known example; the parables of Jesus in context of time and place called on the audience to imagine slaves who had become entrusted with their master’s possessions.
To achieve tangible outcomes from our Vision: Christ-centered healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching our leaders are self-selected by their allegiance to Jesus Christ, their sense of calling to His mission, and their confidence in His enabling.
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.