God brought the Jewish people out of captivity in Egypt. He did this by entrusting them to leaders. Psalm 77:20
Team leadership in EMAS Canada is multifaceted including clinical, spiritual, and administrative responsibilities. Much can be and is delegated, but the overall responsibility remains with the team leader.
There are four tasks for the team leader outlined in the current EMAS policies:
Each of these is a form of stewardship of people
One view of biblical leadership is expressed by the metaphor of shepherding; God’s people are His flock or sheep; their leaders are shepherds.
This concept of leadership is foundational to leading an EMAS team because Jesus is the exemplar of biblical shepherding. John 10:11-15
Selection of Team Members
Each team is unique in its execution of the EMAS mission, so members must be selected based on the team’s location and mission focus. This requires discernment, in addition to screening applicants for their professional competencies, our team leaders must know the spiritual condition of those they are leading into mission. Proverbs 27:23 The spiritual insights, experience, and ministry skills required for service vary significantly from team to team. The team leader must balance the composition of members to give opportunity for the less experienced volunteers to grow through supervised hands-on clinical and ministry challenges. Selection is essentially stewardship of people for the purpose of matching them to their best service opportunity.
Preparation of Team Members
Pre-trip orientation is crucial for new team members—some of whom need extensive cultural orientation. It is equally important for those returning for repeat missions, because conditions on the field change rapidly, with roles and responsibilities within the team changing as new relationships are formed, or new tasks are assigned. This responsibility to ensure every team member is prepared to give their best on and off the mission is a trust that leaders exercise as part of their duty to care for the people with whom they achieve their team’s goals.
Supervision of Team Members
The leader oversees all units of the team to ensure everyone functions at their best for the successful fulfillment of each individual’s calling to follow Jesus. This responsibility is primarily about the team member: their “fit and fitness.” Selection to join a team and pre-trip preparation don’t guarantee success. It is during on the field action that the leader’s shepherd/stewardship of people becomes critical. Where fit and fitness are less than ideal, the needs of the team member takes precedence over the team goals.
Our experience shows that when our leaders have a healthy mix of Affiliative and Coaching styles, our team members perform at their peak. Peter writing to church leaders, is affiliative and coaching in his approach: calling himself a fellow elder, and urging the careful watch over people for their well-being. 1 Peter 5:1-4
Protection of Team Members
Towards the end of his leadership Moses asked God to appoint his replacement.
In biblical imagery, sheep without a shepherd represents people who are without protection, which includes guidance from error, it leaves them vulnerable and exposed to harm and or exploitation.
EMAS Canada relies on team leaders for the safety of team members. The mechanisms for emergency response are team specific and depend on the leader’s alertness to risk and initiative for timely response. Pre-emptive risk assessments and insurance policies are implemented in collaboration with the administrative staff, but it is the team leader who takes the lead in the time of crisis. We recently did a last-minute cancellation of one Haiti mission, and are exercising extreme caution with our 2019 China and Zimbabwe missions, to safeguard the people entrusted to us. All these decisions are led by team leaders in collaboration with administrative staff
As stewards of Christ-centered healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching, we are excited by the possibility of our vision going global, national teams being formed in every country where we serve.
New EMAS initiatives in Cambodia, Myanmar and Zimbabwe will focus on empowering local teams. To learn more about these opportunities contact Peter Agwa.
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.