An important role of the EMAS Team Leader is mentoring the next generation of Christ-like leaders.
In this way we participate in Jesus Christ’s strategy to establish God’s kingdom. His strategy was to delegate His mission to His followers. A.B Bruce in The Training of the Twelve paraphrases John 17:6-10 in this way:
“It is Thy business, Thy interest, to keep these men. They are Thine; Thou gavest them me: keep Thine own. Although since they became my disciples they have been mine, that makes no difference: they are still Thine; for between me and Thee is no distinction of meum and tuum. Then I am glorified in them: my cause, my name, my doctrine, are to be henceforth identified with them; and if they miscarry, my interest will be shipwrecked. Therefore as Thou valuest the honor of Thy Son, keep these men”1
And the reason Jesus expected God to act was that: “….. I am no more in the world” (John 17:11).
Jesus prepared His followers for this strategy (Matt 25:14-30). After the ascension of Christ, the Gospel was in the custody of that incongruous group—His disciples (Acts 1:1-8). They were obedient, waited for, and relied on the promised Holy Spirit. Today that same Gospel is advancing on many fronts, in the custody of various missions. EMAS Canada continues making its contribution through Christ-centered healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching. By reproducing leaders, the teams carry on Christ’s mission.
The safe transmission of this trust is made from one generation to another through the surety of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 1:14).
China East, China West, and Guangdong teams have maintained growth and momentum through their development of leaders.
There is no EMAS team leadership manual. For seventy years it has been effective to develop new leaders through life-to-life mentorship.
The delegation of responsibilities within each team before, during and after the missions create ample room for participation in the overall success of the mission. EMAS teams rely almost exclusively on team members for administration and logistics; giving the team leader several coaching opportunities such as planning meals, scheduling operating lists, presenting the gospel, scheduling lectures, managing mobile pharmacies, and leading group bible studies.
The process has been profoundly relational, taking several years, and heavily reliant on God’s Spirit for wisdom and leading.
The first generation of EMAS leaders made personal Christ-likeness their priority. They became models who attracted other believers to EMAS by their good character and heart for the needy. It was easy to follow these women and men because of the direction of their lives (1 Cor 11:1).
“The influence spiritual leaders exert on the lives of their followers is determined by the degree to which their attitudes and actions reflect the attributes of Christ” 2
Dr. Pierre Plourde pointed out that the outcome has not been a duplication of the leader. During an EMAS leaders retreat on succession planning he said, “There was only one Paul, one Timothy, one Moses, and one Joshua.”
Instead the presentation of an authentic example of living out the purposes of Christ by the leaders gave emerging leaders a living template for their own pursuit of Christ-likeness and obedience to the great commission (Matt.28:18-20). The example referenced in Phil 3:17, is not Paul the man as a sample of Christ-centered living, but rather his attitude and single-minded fervour in his pursuit of Christ-likeness (Phil 3:6-16).
In all EMAS teams, retaining Generation X’ers and Millennials remains an area for growth. The reasons vary widely, however, a possible solution is to engage in reverse mentoring. This would keep all our leaders on the cutting edge of technology and social trends without losing our focus on mentoring leaders with a passion for Christ-likeness.
1Bruce, A.B. “The Training of the Twelve,” Kregel, 1984 p. 456
2Krallmann G. “Mentoring for Mission” Authentic, 2002 p. 139
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
In the Photo: Three Generations of Team Leaders from left to right:- Dr. Xu Lun of Suzhou Childrens Hospital, Dr. Man Ken Lee (team leader before Justina); Ena Chiu; Justina Chan (former team leader); Dr. Paul Huang (present team leader); a team member.
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.