“EMAS grows teams from seed to tree to forest through a process of planting, maturing and multiplying. Our method is internal and external, individual and corporate.” *
Three key factors to moving our 70-year-old mission into a new phase of sustainability are:
- Equipping Team Leaders
- Improved Logistical Efficiency
- Vision-based Funding
Equipping Team Leaders
All our team leaders are volunteers and are the linchpins of our mission. They are responsible for the mission of EMAS Canada in over 9 countries, they care for about 400 volunteers every year, and raise 95% of our budget. They play the key roles of Shepherding by giving oversight to the welfare of team members, and Stewardship by taking responsibility for planning and execution of activities that achieve our mission.
To take our mission successfully into the next decade, having a program for the continued training and pastoral care of these leaders will be critical.
The longevity of our mission is the result of internal maturation and multiplication of home grown leaders:
We have seen the importance of mentoring potential leaders by providing opportunities to develop hands-on, in-the-field leadership skills and character alongside veteran leaders. China West leadership is currently going through a phased transition of leadership in which Dr. Ma will progressively hand over the reigns to his long-term ministry colleague Dr. Wang, this is following a pattern that has worked well for us: China East’s transition from Justina Chan to Dr. Huang, and Guangdong’s even earlier transition from Dr. Chow to Dr. Li. These transitions demonstrate that going deep with a few for a long time allows us to ensure the safe transmission of our vision from one generation to another. The method is not new (Phil. 2:19-22, 1 Cor. 4:14-17, 2 Tim 2:2).
While debriefing after an EMAS mission Dr. Timothy Yung said, “The way to recruit and retain young healthcare professionals for future missions is to provide ongoing mentorship even when they are not traveling on EMAS missions.”
Helping our leaders identify emerging leaders and giving this next generation opportunities to serve will become our priority as will be the care for existing leaders; we will shepherd the shepherds by investing in their well-being, leadership skills, and character development. At a recent retreat our team leaders expressed the need for prayer, nurturing, and improved administrative support, so they are expressing the very thing we have come to believe in as critical to our growth: Leadership.
Improved Logistical Efficiency
As EMAS grows, improvements in the quality and quantity of back up administration services to the teams must grow at the same pace. Relying on volunteers has been the hallmark of our logistics and will continue to be so. Most of the coordination of human effort that mobilize our volunteers is spread out among loyal and hardworking team leaders. This has led to disparate procedures and variations in duty of care.
Our leaders and those who assist them are stretched, we can learn from Acts 6:1-7, and like first century Disciples of Christ, we anticipate growth by trusting God for and implementing dedicated support staff and systems. To this end, new policies are on the way for how our team leaders relate to donors, how we care for our volunteers, and how we enable our team leaders to stay focused on our mission. To free up our team leaders for mission we will find ways to reduce their administrative work and also move the responsibility for funding most of the mission’s operations to the staff and the board.
In the past EMAS fundraising efforts have been centred around specific projects, therefore when a project is complete—or a team leader retires without a successor—we have lost the partnership of those contacts. EMAS projects are avenues for realising the EMAS Vision: Christ-centered healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching
The projects are time limited, the Vision is not. Therefore, as we grow our mission for the coming decade we will move towards funding the Vision, with the organization taking a more proactive role in developing a wider and stronger support base that provides for operational resources, while at the same time encouraging the teams to develop funding partnerships based on our Vision rather than our projects.
What we have accomplished in the past 70 years has not reached the limit of what God can do for and through us. We expect an ever increasing number of Christ-centered healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching
EMAS Canada will become the first choice for Canadians who want to serve others in a Christ-like manner, if we can become a ministry that is constantly developing leaders, with excellent logistics, and is well funded because her Vision is drawing God’s people into partnership with her.
* Quoted from strategic plan 2013.
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.