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Posted on May 08, 2011

I am sitting in the Madrid airport as I write this waiting for my travel agent to tell me which hotel she set up my reservation. There was an email glitch and I did not get that information. So since she is away from her computer and will not be back at it for about 45 more minutes. I will redeem the time.


You may know that I am on my way back from Morocco, if you did not know that – I am. I was on a team of 5 presenters, a videographer, the daughter of one of the presenters who kept time for us, and two individuals from the Moroccan government. We did three conferences in the last 10 days. One in LaAyoune and two in Dakhla both cities are in Southern Morocco or Western Sahara as you can see on the map if you click the links.


It was one of the higher functioning teams on which I have served. We had to continually adjust to nearly constant changes in what we thought we were doing. For the first Dakhla conference we changed the content and schedule three times prior to the beginning and altered it again during the presentations. Each member contributed to the success and effectiveness of the team. Thinking that through there seems to be at least six reasons for the effectiveness of the team.


  1. Clear objective – The objective of this trip was clear from the beginning. We were here to build bridges and break ground in order to establish a base of credibility from which to develop ongoing relationships with people in the country and cities we served.
  2. Servant hearts – All of the members of the team were focused on serving the people with whom we interacted. Sure there were difficulties and there were frustrations. But the majority of the time the team exhibited the characteristics of Philippians 2 and the fruit of the Spirit. It was not about us. It was about demonstrating the love of Christ by serving these people in His name, and even though we were not able to share our faith openly, a number of them got it, that is, they knew where we were coming from…
  3. Complete flexibility – Servant heart contributed to our ability to be flexible. There were too many changes to count. There were hours and days when we were unsure of what was going to happen next, but focusing on the people and the objective and not on our need to know or control what was going on, allowed us to flex to meet the opportunity. On the first trip I took overseas in 1979, I was told to be flexible, smile, and eat whatever they put in front of me, that advice was good then and remains a great credo for trips like this.
  4. No regard for self – this one flows from the first three. When the objective is clear and you serve with flexibility it means that you are doing this with no regard for yourself or any recognition you may receive. It is said that there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. That was evident in the team constantly. Each of us gave up opportunities to present or pared back what we were doing in order to meet the needs of the people and the schedule. There were no prima donnas on this trip, no one clamoring for attention.
  5. Constant Communication – Though the objective was clear, the changes and uncertainty of the context required us to constantly communicate about how to best move to accomplish it. That communication was in ones, twos, threes, and as a group. We were passing information to each other as we got it. Nothing was ever clear until we were actually doing something. That required patient and constant communication.
  6. Morphing Amoeba Leadership – there is probably a better way to say this, if you can come up with it I am open. What I mean by this is that although Nancy is the president of Teach the Children, everyone on this trip led at some point. Depending on the needs of the situation, the one with the knowledge, experience, or skill took the lead. It was not stated or planned, it just happened. There were no plays for power, each shared their thoughts and we moved forward.


As I look over this list and remember the trip, it seems to me that the qualities that this team exhibited would apply to just about any endeavor. We had the right people, in the right seats, functioning at the right level, for the right reasons.


PS. One of the things that we really covet is your prayer for this ministry. We send out on Mondays a weekly intercession request. If you would commit to pray for us please click here to join our intercession team.

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