Teamwork is at the core of how EMAS operates. Christ-centered healthcare teams are the fundamental functional units that carry out the charitable purposes of the organization. All teams are guided by a Strategic Plan that is revised by the team leaders, board, and staff.
Once a potential leader has been recommended to the board by the staff; the board will satisfy itself that the proposed service opportunity meets certain criteria for an EMAS project. The basic criteria are that the proposed project:
- Has an educational, medical and/or dental component.
- Is in confluence with, and will enhance local health programs
- Has a host partner actively participating in the planning, execution, and evaluation.
- Includes defined time-lines with exit strategy where applicable.
- Has opportunities for demonstrating God’s love to all people without discrimination.
Each team operates independently. The EMAS board receives annual reports from every project, and is therefore able to ensure alignment with both the core values and strategic plan.
Through the direct involvement in the programs of the project, the team members are encouraged to develop lasting partnerships with our hosts wherever EMAS is working.
The selection of team membership is delegated to the Team Leader; the final responsibility however lies with the Executive Director. Usually the people who traveled on an exploratory trip become the first and founding team members who then recruit others according to the needs of the host partner.
The common purpose of an EMAS Canada team is Christ-likeness. The first task of the team-in-formation is for members to agree on what it means to be Christ-like in the context of serving as a healthcare team overseas. The unifying power of this common pursuit sets the tone for extra-ordinary group dynamics, (Phil 2:1-5). Individuals are never asked to sacrifice personal agendas or trade personal goals for team goals, instead they are invited to offer the best of their selves as an act of worship (Rom 12:1-8). For most Christ followers, the resulting unity based on such an opportunity overrides many of the problems experienced by teams formed to solve problems or to create new products.
Our experience proves the A.W. Tozer’s statement:
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” AW Tozer ‒ The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine.
The year following an exploratory trip is given to working on cultivating God-honoring relationships within the team, assigning tasks according to gifts and skills, communicating with hosts, and refining job descriptions for each team member; learning about how to adapt to and serve with cultural sensitivity. The expectations listed in the EMAS policies for personnel such as professional competence, adaptability, emotional stability and cultural sensitivity, and the physical capacity to cope with the anticipated workload form an additional template for self-selection to the traveling or support team.
EMAS staff also participate in providing advice with policy matters, fundraising and developing a support base of prayer partners within the local churches; and among family and friends.
In the first year of building an EMAS team, effective communication pathways are established through frequent face-to-face meetings; these are invariably held in the comfortable setting of the homes of willing team members. This practice reduces the harmful effect of inaccurate and incomplete information on teamwork that can come with an over reliance on digital communication.
It also creates an environment in which the five defining characteristics of successful teams thrive.
EMAS is has opportunities to develop new teams for Zimbabwe, Myanmar, India, Ghana, Haiti, and Malawi. You can find out more about these new ventures by email.
A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine.
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.