Are you ready to reach out across cultures and share the Gospel? We would love to help you be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission, sharing the love of Jesus with the people of Mexico.
Calvary Training Center is able to house teams, prepare meals, and help you arrange the ministry itinerary that the Lord has put on your heart. We realize that most long-term missionaries on the field today at one time began by going on a short-term missions trip. We are praying that your short-term trip to Mexico may light a fire in your heart for the mission field.
Calvary Training Center has been the central hub for ministry and training for short-term and long-term missions on the south of the border. We partner up with many churches throughout the year hosting teams in various ministries, conferences, and seminars. Not sure where to start?
Check out the resources to the right and begin building a team within your local church, small group, or family!
We can readily accommodate teams with up to 50 guests. Please contact us for availability, or to discuss accommodating larger teams. This will change your live and impact the lives of so many others!
CALVARY TRAINING CENTER SHORT-TERM MISSIONS: A time to be set apart
Missions has always been the heart of God. The one sent Abraham, and Jonah, and his only begotten Son, is the One who sends us. We have to be convinced that it is the Lord who is calling us, in any work of service, whether in our neighborhood or in another country. Let’s look at how the Lord called some of the apostles of the early church…
1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Ni- ger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
Let’s look at some key elements of this passage to find out how God sends
Now in the church… the first and most important element is that those who go must be… believers! Without an active rela- tionship with Jesus Christ, missions is merely a nice thing to do. Jesus said in John 15: 1-2, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. Missions without Jesus is in vain.
As they fasted ministered to the Lord and fasted… Being sent requires seeking out God’s will and purpose for our lives, set- ting time apart for Him.
The Holy Spirit said… “It is God who calls us; we cannot go be- cause others are going or for the experience. Your calling will be tested, and you must be able to say with confidence, “I know God put this on my heart.”
Separate to Me… The word for separate is sanctify, give them a special place for a special calling. All believers are sanctified. But there are times when He wants to mark us for a special work, in us and through us… We are sanctified to HIM… NOT THE MISSION, not the ministry, to all He will do in and through us during that time.
For the work to which I have called them… It’s his work, his calling.
He will use us if he sends us (be confident of that! Our North American “drive” can sometimes lead to the discouragement of “what good did we do?”
Having fasted and prayed and laid hands of them, they sent them away: Missions requires senders: those who pray, support, encourage, and assist us. Missions is always a reflection of who we are as the Body of Christ.
Being sent out by the Holy Spirit… He must direct our activities and directions in all things, including where we go.
Having John as their assistant… This trip may be a key part of the discipleship of someone in the church and you will have an impact on their lives as well.
ARE YOU CONVINCED? ARE YOU CALLED?
ARE YOU READY TO BE SET APART?
2. GETTING READY
Every church has a different dynamic for missions. Contact your leadership and ask them what the dynamic is for leading a team or joining an existing team. Even if you are just planning a family trip for ministry, it is still best to talk to the leadership of your church so that they are aware of your plans and can support you in prayer and offer counsel.
Pray: you need to know you are called, at this time, to this trip. Once the Lord confirms that, commit to being a part of it.
Speak with your missions leader or pastor: make it clear to the leadership over the trip that you want to be involved. Plan to attend all pre-field meet- ings.
Secure passport and begin consider how you will fund the trip: To depart Mexico, you must have a US passport. Contact the US pass- port agency or local post office for necessary forms. Remember that it can take weeks to secure a passport, so plan ahead.
Once you know the cost of the trip, determine how you will pay for your portion— personal savings, fundraising, etc.?
Begin to solicit prayer for your time in Mexico
Prepare yourself. Know and be clear about any health issues or physical limitations with your team leaders.
Jump in! Prepare yourself to take on roles that you may not have had before, of leadership and service.
BE A TEAM
Teams… should have a clear chain of command. The leader and those who handle responsibilities (finances, team organization, etc.). Mis- sionaries on the field and nationals you are working with should know who to go to with problems, changes in schedule, conflicts, etc.
Team members… must be submissive to leadership and one another. This means laying down your rights for the greater good.
Prayer… is fundamental to your team’s ability to minister. Meet regu- larly and pray as a team.
Prepare… Know what the expectations are for ministry and prepare as best you can. Secure all materials needed for ministry, have materi- als prepared BEFORE leaving for the field (sermons prepared, kid’s crafts developed, etc).
Serve together… before you leave. This will give you a chance to see how you do. Consider an outreach to a homeless shelter in your local community, or an evangelism afternoon in a local park.
Meet… make a commitment to meet regularly and prepare for the trip. Teams need time to discuss logistics, concerns, doubts, ideas, etc. Prepared teams have a much greater impact.
Have a plan… where you are going, what you will be doing, and your part in it. However, remember that at all times team members should be attentive to the ministry going on. If we “perform” and then stand in the back and talk at an outreach, we are not communicating inter- est and support in what the other person is ministering.
3. WHAT TO BRING
WHAT TO BRING – A LIST OF SUGGESTIONS
These are subject to the needs of your ministry and the direction of your team leader.
pants (or skirts or dresses for women) for outreaches; please be sure all shorts are modest and used during work and free time, not church services
hat or cap
bandana and handkerchief
tennis shoes, sport sandal, one pair all around shoes
may need swimsuit (again, conservative, many nationals wear shorts and t-shirts to swim )
One church outfit: guys polo or short-sleeve shirt and Dockers, nice shoes
Women, skirt and blouse/dress and nice shoes Men: if in more rural areas, consider taking out earrings and no exposed tattoos (if possible)
Construction day: grungies
Passport, picture id
Minors without parents: CONSIDER a letter of authorization to travel and receive medical information for team leadership ( PLEASE NOTARIZE)
CTC requires a release of liablity
Money to change
Hand wipes, Towelettes
Tylenol, aspirin, pain relievers
Toilet paper for travel
Insect repellent and sunscreen
washcloth, soap, shampoo
family photos (to show others)
Bible and notebook
All ministry materials
small gift for family or host (OPTIONAL)
Biblical costume stuff (can be a sheet and a sash) (OPTIONAL)
Backpack for day trips out
Snacks that can travel well (nothing that melts, etc.)
Please use cell phones with consideration, especially in poorer areas. Do not allow them to be a distraction to the people and ministry around you.
Team leaders- you will be given codes for our (limited) wi-fi. It is to your discretion if you give that to team members or not.
4. SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY
SHARING YOUR TESTIMONY
Have a living testimony – Paul often shared his testimony, and we have examples of it in Acts 22:3-30. Read through this text and notice the way that Paul related with the people and then related his experience to them. With this model in mind, try to create a “living testimony” using the points below:
I am (mark one or write in) Filipino, American, of Yugoslavian de- scent, Martian… etc.
This is my background (where we you born and raised? Do you have brothers and sisters? Where did you study, etc.)
This is my spiritual background (did you always attend church? What did your family believe about God? Don’t name denominations, tell about your spiritual practice)
This is how I MET Jesus Christ (Be specific: during a specific need, did a friend tell you about Him? At a youth camp? In prison? Was there a particular verse in the Bible that ministered? A problem that made you seek God?) It’s critical you clearly and accurately tell how He found you.
Try to refine it in such a way that it is personal, natural, and adaptable. Personal- you are truly being open with others; natural – you can insert it into a conversation and it is relatable; adaptable – can you give it in 2 minutes in an airport; or 10 minutes at a youth camp? Consider time limitations or the need to be more extensive.
5. REACH OUT
Here are some ministry options to consider when seeking the Lord and developing a ministry schedule
Build up the local church by
Teaching/preaching at regular services
Leading Worship or joining the worship team
Seminars (children’s ministry, worship, how to study the Bi- ble)
Teaching or assisting with Sunday School
Improvements to church facility (painting, electrical, clean- ing)
Women’s or men’s fellowship events
Youth meetings or Concerts
Reach out to those who don’t know Christ with
Youth (College age)
Medical/ Dental Clinic
Nutritional or first aid classes
Outdoor services for non-believers
6. DYNAMICS OF CROSS-CULTURAL MINISTRY
HOW WILL WE SERVE? Dynamics of cross-cultural ministry
There are plenty of examples of short-term missionaries in the Bible. Jesus regularly sent out small groups, and Himself sometimes only had days in an area. Similarly, Paul sometimes only had days or weeks in a region before he had to leave. And sometimes, men were sent with the specific intention of serving for a brief period to complete a project. Titus is an example of that, in his ministry in Corinth.
Read through 2 Corinthians 7 and 8, and find the following tips of service for short-term missionaries.
Building UPON existing relationships. In 2 Cor. 7:6, we see the Titus was part of building and maintaining an existing relation- ship. Remember, others have gone before you and built relation- ships with nationals. Your service in Mexico should strengthen the local body as much as possible, enabling them to carry on… Con- sider training and working with nationals in any specialized ministry you do (puppets, for example) as part of your ministry.
Sending qualified and compelled team members… We saw that Titus desired to go to Corinth. He wanted to be a part of the work. Make sure, again, that your heart is in it. Integrity, reputation, and selflessness are all communicated without a single word being spoken.
Also, follow-through is critical. It’s easy to be excited and hard- working the first day of the painting project. Finishing that Project on the third day is often a challenge. Consider your ability to follow through on this trip.
Helping the local church or ministry achieve their goals… Titus went with the goal of helping the church in Corinth complete what they started. That should be our mentality. What is their goal, what do they want to do? We may be better at football, but a soccer clinic is what they need… are we willing to flex? We can’t wait till 9 PM to eat dinner, but… we can for the sake of the ministry… If their heart is to evangelize, we want to be part of that, recognizing limitations in language and culture, but open to how the Lord can use us to that end. He may team us with nationals, so that together, we can reach out and win others to Christ.
Giving and Receiving. . . Titus also showed us someone who was will- ing to receive as well as give. Are we willing to receive as well as give? We will be dependent on the nationals for so much, including hospitality… can we receive from them as well, and allow them to exercise their gifts?
Serve like Titus!
7. GUIDELINES FOR PREACHING AND TEACHING IN A NEW CULTURE
GUIDELINES for PREACHING, TEACHING & TESTIMONIES in a DIFFERENT CULTURE
Whether you are teaching at A local church, or a village Bible study, getting your message across is the main goal. Here are some basic guidelines, but they should help you in your short-term ministry—
A translator needs to process small, short portions, not entire sentences or paragraphs– In working with atranslator, you need to give them a phrase or portion to translate, wait, and then proceed. (example: “When I was growing up Cuando yo estaba un niño… I remember walking to school Recuerdo camindo a la escuela… And I would wait for my best friend… Siempre espere a mi mejor amigo…). Rather than dumping it all out, let portions get processed.
It is almost like talking on a radio or “Cb” where you wait until the thought is processed and say over. Rember, your translator is not just matching you word-for-word in what is spoken. S/he is is trying to communicate the emotion and thought behind your words and mirror your feelings and content. Give them time and relate to your translator. If possible, review the scriptures you’ll be teaching with them. If it’s not necessary to read the Scripture in English, just have the translator read the Scriptures in their first language.
Spiritual truths and thoughts are not always easily un- derstood— even by those within the same language and culture group. This is because they are conceptual, abstract, etc, and require critical thinking skills (analysis & insight). How much more difficult when speaking of spiritual things which we relate from our own lan- guage and culture— values and beliefs (biases)— to those of an- other language and culture whose values and beliefs are different than ours.
Our own “frame of reference”— what is familiar and com- fortable to us, based on our personal experience within our own cul- ture and homeland, and even our experiences outside our home with our “cultural view” of things— will “color” everything we say or try to relate. This includes our speech (ways of saying things, slang, etc) and how we explain things (examples, terminology, etc).
With those thoughts in mind here are some simple guidelines—
Speak slowly & clearly— our tendency is to slur words & thoughts together without much distinction, and to speak quickly, especially if we are nervous. This can make comprehension difficult even in one’s own culture, let alone in a different country!
Use simple language— keep your vocabulary simple and explain any terminology no matter how familiar it is to you (even basic theo- logical terms or descriptions)— speak plainly.
Reinforce what you say— don’t just repeat yourself, but re-state things in a different way, as much as you need to in making important points clear— be creative, yet clear.
Don’t take anything for granted— what you think is “common knowledge” often is not for those you’ll be speaking to— consider the group— age-wise, socio-economically and educationally.
Be respectful & considerate— most likely you will be a guest, but whatever the situation— the burden of understanding is on the speaker, not the listener— it’s our responsibility to make ourselves clear— communicating in an effective manner & at an appropriate level
Keep illustrations and examples relatable in their culture—many people in rural areas have never been on an airplane, watched American football on TV, or gone to a department store. Try to choose universally relatable illustrations.
Some final thoughts— always be an observant learner— What are the customary greetings? What’s “ok & not ok”? Watch for subtle things— manners, ways of doing things, interactions between people, etc. Be a cultural learner, aware of what’s going on around you.
When those you’re ministering to see this attitude in you— they will be more receptive and you’ll be building good relationships. These relationships will help you “bridge the cultural gap” between you and others of different languages & cultures.
8. SOME CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
SOME CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
Prepare yourself to be challenged with a culture that lives and sees things differently. If you are open to it, your ministry will be more effective and your walk will be challenged. Cultural differences are not about better or worse, they are just differences. They reveal priorities of different cultures. If we are to be ”all things to all men that we might win some”, we have to begin to consider these differences.
“In my country…” You’re not in your country. You’re in Mexico! Constant comparison only frustrates. Realize that things are done differently. Not better or worse, just differently.
Don’t generalize about “all Mexicans” – Not all Mexicans are the same; nether are all Americans. Avoid generalizing. What you recognize in one person may not be true in others.
English—Many Mexicans speak some English. Be careful of comments or judgments. Body language and tone communicate a great deal even if the words aren’t understood. .
Casual use of Money—Be sensitive about how you spend money, especially in front of Nationals. What may seem like a small amount to you may be a great deal to a field worker. If you invite a national out, be prepared and prompt to pay.
Commitments—A national may say “yes” to avoid embarrassment or out of obligation and fail to follow through. Do not take it personally; be gracious about it. You, however, should make every effort to follow through on commitments. Do not make commitments that you will have to honor once you re- turn to the States (“I’ll send $50 to your church every month…”). Act on those commitments once you are home and have prayed through them thoroughly.
Familiarity—Americans can be very familiar. For example, you may call your pastor by his first name. Mexicans may be more formal. A pastor is usually addressed by the title and his name. Consider how to communicate that level of respect here.
Hospitality—This is an important trait to Mexicans. One way of honoring hospitality is to enter homes and be willing to receive food. Similarly, if a group is going out, try to include the nationals and make them part.
9. GUIDELINES FOR OUTREACHES AND MINISTRY
Guidelines for outreaches and ministries
You will be in the country a short period of time. As such, you want to make the most of your outreach opportunities. Here are some tips to make them as fruitful as possible.
Be flexible. A bus may be delayed or break down, or it may rain on your outdoor outreach. Once you arrive in Mexico, you may have to endure unreliable transportation, faulty equipment, or unexpected changes to ministry. Teammates may get sick. Whatever happens, it won’t last forever. Be prepared to laugh about it, without sarcasm or condescension, and learn from it.
►Culture Shock and Culture Stress. All of us are disoriented in new surroundings… new smells and sounds, different language. The lack of familiar references can be upsetting. From the moment you arrive, try to assume the attitude of a learner. Accept the new surroundings, and learn how things operate. The shock will wear off.
But once the shock wears off, there may be issues of constant aggravation or anxiety. Some are frustrated by overwhelming smells from the slaugh- terhouse they pass daily. Others just want a hot shower! These “stresses” never go away. Realize you will leave soon, and it is best to focus on the blessings of the trip.
►You have one goal. Whether you are part of a drama team, conducting a crusade or building a church, your main goal is to express the love of Jesus. You have actively chosen service.
►Your life will change . It’s fine to have free days, but this is not a vacation. God has designed this time to work in your life. Allow the entirety of the trip to speak to and minister to your life.
►Be Prepared. All music, dramas, or outreach elements should be fully rehearsed and ready by the time you arrive. Despite any assurances to the contrary, there is never time “on field” to pull these things together. Com-
Unforeseen circumstances arise! Submission to the authority of your team leader is critical in these times. Stick together. You may not be happy with a decision. Stand by your leader. Pray for them, and trust God!
►Team leaders, lay down your lives for the team. Your job is to let God use you, and meet their needs. Pray constantly. Consider their concerns as you are planning a schedule, and responding to crises. Give God your best, and be prepared to laugh at yourself when necessary.
►The foundation of this work is FAITH. Faith that is tested gets strong. You will be stretched beyond your own limitations. You may have to serve while sick, tired or hot. You may be called to preach or lead worship knowing that is not your gift. Trust God to enable the fulfillment of the calling.
►Everyone should have a testimony prepared. Use simple, clear language to communicate what Jesus has done in your life (see Living Testimony worksheet)
DURING THE OUTREACH:
Reach out in Christ’s love– especially to your team. Your greatest witness is the love and respect you ex-press to those around you.
►Stay calm and trust the Lord. Again, plans may change or seem to go wrong, but the Lord is in control. Trust the Holy Spirit’s work through you.
►Avoid Criticism. Your goal is to build relationships. Careless and negative comments or facial expressions about the food, speed of business transactions, or style can be hurtful. Be a gracious guest. Try to understand people, not fix them.
10. SHORT-TERM TEAM PREP- A MINISTRY FROM START TO FINISH
PROPOSED MINISTRY SCHEDULE
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
As you prepare for your trip, take time to list all the needed ministry and your role in each part. Include pre-field events, like fundraisers, and return events, such as de- briefings. To the right is a sample calendar where you can begin to fill in dates and activities for your time in country.
Preparation and packing
Emergency Contact Information:
Travel dates and times
Dates in country
Daily ministry (to the team: devotions, meal preps, packing of vehicles, ministry supply packing, accounting… )
Daily ministry (to others: outreaches, services, ministry, work projects
Sharing/Presentation with church
Budgeting for a short-term mission- take these elements into account-
Transportation to/from Mexico
Transportation costs within Mexico
Love gifts and offerings
Personal spending (gifts, non-ministry days, inviting a national or volunteer out)