SERVANT TEAMS UPDATE: Raising Support Together

Servant Teams is a 10-month missional program under Lahash International. Participants receive in-depth training in missional theology and community development in connection to hands-on service in both the city of Portland and overseas in East Africa. Our vision is that participants will become a diverse wave of missional leaders through a combination of place-based theological processing, daily missional liturgy, organizational internship, and cross-cultural experiences.

Servant Teams Coordinator Yevette Garcia (left) and Director Mandee Campos (right) pose with some kids at Grace & Healing Ministry in Dodoma, Tanzania.

One evening, during our time in Tanzania, Yevette and I were having a discussion about the Servant Teams (ST) program. Under the protection of our mosquito nets and with the low humming of a fan in the background, we talked through the evening and dreamed about what the program could become. Together, we mulled over how the vision of ST is not only to develop critical thinkers when it comes to missions and community engagement, but to do it communally. The concepts of communion, unity, and oneness lingered throughout the entire conversation. We realized when there is no such unity, we elevate some and leave others behind. When this division is realized, it is at the expense of the entire body described in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. In missions, people of color are the ones often left behind. We agreed that it’s important to have diverse voices and involvement in programs such as ST, however, barriers feed into the lies that such voices are simply “not called.” Being called is often associated to one’s access to participate (networks and finances), ignoring the barriers others might have to such access to begin with. Such a structure pushes important voices out the door. “If you were called, the Lord would have provided for you,” is a statement that our program seeks to challenge with “You are called and we will see the Lord’s provision through each other.”

ST wants to ensure that all will have the support they need to participate in our program. This is why ST emphasizes communal support raising, whereas other programs typically raise support individually. We hope to exemplify Romans 12:5 when Paul states “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all others.” When we belong to one another we begin to share our burdens, our successes and joys together. This model lifts the burden of feeling alone along the journey and says we as a community can be the hands and feet of Jesus. These are the underlying values of our program. As Yevette and I were winding down our conversation, she finally asked, “Then… why don’t we do that?”

As two women of color leading the ST program, we are not immune to the barriers mentioned. However, we are both fully dedicated to seeing the vision of ST through and we are excited about the diverse leaders this program can help disciple. It may not be much at first, but as we grow our combined networks and pool what resources we do have, we are confident that this will be an important step for our Lahash journey. We also realize that in sharing support between the two of us, we’ll be walking the talk of something that the ST program already values. In doing this, Yevette and I feel empowered to share each other’s journey and we welcome the many lessons it will bring.

If you are interested in joining us on this journey and sharing this vision, we invite you to support our work with Servant Teams. You can become a monthly supporter and/or give:

 

If you would like to receive email updates of our journey and sign up for our quarterly newsletter you can email mandeec@lahash.org.