Memorandums of Understanding
New teams that form will likely have an MOU, a Memorandum of Understanding. It is a negotiated agreement between the new team and the parent body about how the team will operate and how it will relate to the parent body. It will also outline some of the obligations on both sides toward the other.
Earlier in the process of starting a new team, the team leader will probably have developed a Vision Statement to clarify the purpose and goals of the team.
Two examples are given here.
- 1 The Prayer Team of X
- 2 Z Team's Memorandum of Understanding
The Prayer Team of X
Team Leaders: X
Who We Are: Core Identity and Goals Team Life and Leadership Team Identity Language Learning Various Expectations
Who We Are: Core Identity and Goals
We are, first and foremost, a collection of people that are in love with Jesus. We seek to love Him and to follow Him, to be with Him and to hear from Him, and to be transformed into His likeness. These are our top priorities.
Being with Jesus inevitably leads to being sent out by Jesus (Mark 3:14), and so we have been sent out to love the Muslims of X. Thus, our primary goal is to glorify God by loving and blessing X Muslims in Jesus' name. And as a fundamental expression of this primary goal, we desperately long to see the birth and development of a prayer-saturated, indigenous-led church planting movement among X Muslims.
Team Life and Leadership
We seek to model within our team the kind of shared life in Christ that we long to see formed among X Muslims. In this very simple sense, we view our team as a church—a church being any set of Jesus-followers that purposefully centers its collective life on Christ and His ways. Therefore, we place a high value on peacemaking and resultant hard-earned relationships of reciprocal enrichment among team members. There are at least two topics, then, that should be addressed: peacemaking and decision-making.
Peacemaking. When conflict arises within our team, we are absolutely dedicated to applying the instructions of Jesus found in Matthew 18:15-17. We interpret these verses to mean that if someone is offended or in contention with another, resolution should actively be sought between the two parties directly. A peacemaking coach or counselor may be consulted before initial reconciliatory actions are taken, but counsel can never be taken as a substitute for direct interaction between conflicting parties. If those parties cannot come to a point of resolution, the Team Leaders are responsible to become involved. And if reconciliation still cannot be achieved, F leadership and the home churches of those involved will be asked to participate in peacemaking efforts. Finally, if the issue or offense remains unresolved, those involved will be asked to leave the team.
Decision-making. The normative means by which all major team decisions are made is collective team discussion and prayer, with the goal of being led by the Holy Spirit. There do come times, however, when consensus cannot be entirely reached within the team, and in such instances, the Team Leaders will make the final decisions. Clear leadership is, therefore, essential, and we willingly submit to the F appointed leadership on the team and to those in authority over the Team Leaders.
Leadership. The Prayer Team of X is co-led by a married couple. We lead together, and leadership responsibilities are divided up as necessary. As a general rule, collective team life is overseen jointly by Y and Z. And as one might expect, Y has a particular focus on the team's women, while Z has a particular focus on the team's men.
Leadership over certain aspects of team life is also shared among team members through the designation of specific roles. Such roles may include, but are not limited to the coordination of language learning, business, children's education, prayer, spiritual formation, team worship, coaching/training, and recreation.
We are not shy about our identity as followers of Jesus. In X or elsewhere, we freely identify ourselves as such, and we always seek to interact with others in a way that leaves them with at least three impressions: (1) that we love them, (2) that we pray for them, and (3) that we are centered on Jesus.
We are also in X as businessmen/women. Long term residency is achieved through business visas, and this gives us the wonderful opportunity to bring holistic kingdom blessings to the Muslims that we are seeking to love. We strive to have integrated identities that envelope both the business and spiritual aspects of our lives in X. We believe, in fact, that it is unnecessary and artificial to separate the two. We are followers of Jesus who are blessing Muslims in X through the avenue of business. There is no bifurcation in this identity.
We deem language and culture learning to be an extremely high priority for team members, particularly during one's first two years in residence. All team members are expected to become proficient in the local language, and guidance is provided toward this end.
At least three components will be considered in the language development of all team members: (1) Involvement in OSLS training modules (http://www.osls.info), (2) Introductory immersion through a one-month home stay with an X Muslim family (arranged by Team Leaders), and (3) Monthly progress reports submitted to the team's Coordinator of Language Acquisition (CLA). Other language acquisition components may come into play and are developed and approved in conjunction with the team's CLA and Team Leaders.
What follows is a list of various other expectations of team members.
We aim to be contextually and culturally appropriate in as many ways as possible. Consequently, team members choose to live and relate in ways that some westerners may regard as quite conservative. This applies to the clothes that we choose to wear, the ways in which men and women relate with one another, the food and drink we consume, and many other areas of life. We choose this lifestyle, not so as to make ethical proclamations, but so as to reduce any stumbling blocks for our Muslim friends. One corollary of the above expectation is that, as a general rule, our men minister to men and our women minister to women.
Team members are expected to be open and willing to converse with Team Leaders about every area of their lives. This includes finances, holidays, medical issues, singleness, marriage, family life, and all other topics. No area of our lives can be off limits, given the high value we place on authenticity and openness within our team.
Our corporate team life is of great value. Therefore, all team members are expected to gladly and willingly participate in weekly team gatherings. We come together weekly for times of corporate worship, prayer, and logistics/planning.
The personal spiritual health of team members is of utmost importance. Each team member has a monthly meeting with the team's Coordinator of Spiritual Formation (CSF) as a checkpoint for spiritual health. Spiritual disciplines and exercises are recommended and tracked accordingly. This is, of course, not done in a spirit of legalism, but in a spirit of grace and growth in Christ.
Additionally, each team member has an accountability and prayer partner of the same gender within the team.
Family units are expected to thrive. Date nights for married couples are strongly encouraged. Family outings are strongly encouraged. Our ministry of loving Muslims will never serve as an excuse for our failure to love our spouses and children well.
We expect all team members to have a day off each week. We also expect all team members to make room for recreation/vacation. Vacation plans must be approved by the Team Leaders.
We are eager for coaching and upgrading. Therefore, we arrange periodic visits from coaches and trainers. Team members are expected to participate fully in such training times. Moreover, team members are expected to attend F International and South Asia Regional Conferences.
Families joining the team are expected to make an initial commitment of three years, while single team members are expected to make an initial commitment of two. Furloughs (HMAs) are not taken before these initial commitments are fulfilled. We are looking for teammates that have the long term in view — people who have a task rather than a time frame in mind, that task being the launching of a prayer-saturated, indigenous-led church planting movement among X Muslims.
Budgets for each family or single person are developed in partnership with the Team Leaders. The Team Leaders give final approval, and departure for the field is only permitted once the budget has been raised in full. Necessary pre-field preparation is tailored by the Team Leaders for each family or single joining the team. However, there are a few preparatory elements that will be common to all team members. All prospective team members are expected to attend Candidate School and to follow through on the recommendations of the CS assessment team. Likewise, all prospective team members are expected to read David Garrison's Church Planting Movements and Carl Medearis' Muslims, Christians, and Jesus.
And as prayer is so absolutely integral to the success of the team's vision, prospects should begin praying for X during their time of preparation for the field. They should seek to pray accordingly for thirty minutes per day.
Our final topic is prayer. This is listed last intentionally, not because of its lesser importance, but because of its paramount importance. It is listed last because we want it to be that which you remember about this MOU. Our team is purposefully called "The Prayer Team of X" because we consider prayer to be part and parcel of the apostolic task. No church planting effort will be successful in X without prayer as its foundation. We might be able to get away with failing in other areas as a team, but we cannot fail in this area. We cannot fail in prayer. Thus, team members are expected to be men and women of prayer, and they are expected to participate in the team's concerted prayer efforts. Each team member is expected to spend an allocated amount of time every day in our team prayer room (normally 30 minutes per day), interceding for the Muslims of X and for God's movement among them. These daily times of concerted prayer are expected to be in addition to the normal devotional patterns of team members.
The prayer efforts of our team are overseen by our Coordinator of Prayer Initiatives, and all team members are held accountable in prayer by him/her.
MOU Signature Page
I/We, ____________________________________ , believe the Lord Jesus Christ has called me/us to join The Prayer Team of X.
I/We have carefully read and agree with the team MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). Upon signing this, I/we agree to abide and uphold the team MOU's principles, both on and off the field, while a member of the team.
Signature and Date
Signature of spouse and Date
Z Team's Memorandum of Understanding
Our Vision: To see healthy, reproducing Z house-churches started in Z with a structure and simplicity that allows the church to plant more churches in other unreached rural areas of Z.
We do this through holistic ministry, working under the NGO Z to alleviate spiritual and physical poverty, and by immersing ourselves within the local community, living lives of focus and intentionality in sharing Jesus.
This policy manual is for potential new team members to let you know a bit about how our team works. It should give you a chance to 'look before you leap' as we will expect you to adopt these values and policies too. If you realise now that you don't share or want to share these values, that's great as it means this isn't the team for you. We'd all prefer to find that out before you've packed your bags and have landed on our doorstep.
This manual may seem a bit long and read like Leviticus, but mismatched or unmet expectations usually lead to disillusionment, blame and conflict. We want to avoid those as much as possible. Hopefully this document will give us common ground and shared values that we've all signed up to.
There may be some policies that seem strange or even stupid. Feel free to ask more questions about them; you might be right! These are not the 10 Commandments and none of these policies are carved in stone. We are a flexible team and recognize that there are exceptions to every rule. However, we hope that these guidelines will be the norm for our team.
We value each other
Z can be a tough place to live in and we recognise our need for support and encouragement from one another and not just from our team leaders. We also recognise our need for daily filling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore:
We assume that each team member will seek regular times alone with the Lord, and will be committed to prioritising their relationship with Him.
We want to be transparent, vulnerable and gracious towards one another. This means that we deal with conflict openly following the model laid out in Matthew 5: 22-23.
We want to be in each other's lives and interdependent on one another. We choose to trust one another and assume the best.
We expect all team members to attend and participate in team meetings. There will be at least one 'vertical' team meeting a week, focussed on our relationship with God, and at least one 'horizontal' meeting a week with a focus on strategy and reaching out.
We value prayer for one another and intercession for Z and the world and expect all team members to participate in our monthly day of prayer and fasting.
We value input from the whole team in making decisions.
We seek leaders who will serve the team.
We want to see each team member develop and grow in their personal walk with God and in their ministry and work. We value regular appraisals, team training times, coaching and mentoring.
We expect each team member to serve the team in some way, whether hosting team meetings, cooking, helping others with computer, car or home difficulties, leading worship, etc.
We ask single team members not to start romantic relationships in their first year, as culture adaptation can be complicated and demanding enough without the complexity of a new relationship thrown in.
We believe in communal success. Where one of us succeeds we all do. Where one of us fails we all fail. We want to be greater and more fruitful than the sum of our parts.
Whilst we want strong community within the team, we don't expect all our emotional needs to be met by other team-mates. We want to go out into Z also needy for local friends. We want the team to have a strong outward focus and to keep interaction with Z as an ongoing priority.
We will call in outside help either from other workers in Z or from the F TLO (team leader overseer) if we need mediation in team conflict that has become too big for us to handle within the team.
We value local culture and community
We value the rich history, language, culture and traditions of Z and consider it a privilege to live in such a beautiful place. Therefore:
We expect all team members to commit themselves to learning Z, the heart language of Z. This should be a daily priority for the first six months. We commit ourselves to finding new team members a language helper and guarding space in their schedule for language learning.
We expect all team members, whether single or married or with children to live with a local family for at least the first three months of their time in Z, providing invaluable insight into local culture and language and to giving you with champions who can 'explain' you to the local community. We commit to finding a good match host-family for each new team mate.
We expect all team members to learn as much as they can about local customs and culture and to respect them. We try and avoid unnecessary cultural stumbling blocks. As a result, our dress code for men is: short hair, trousers and no shorts (except calf length), and our dress code for women is: skirts and modest tops with hair long enough to tie back and not worn loose ('loose hair, loose woman' is a popular proverb!). We encourage team members to experiment with local fashions.
We also recognise gender differences in Z. This means that a man and woman who aren't married to each other should not be alone together in a domestic house. We are careful about how we interact with team members of the opposite sex when in public. We expect married or dating couples to be aware of culturally appropriate displays of affection. We respect cultural gender boundaries between men and women and seek to establish good reputations for ourselves in Z.
We value time in Z
We recognise our need for rest, breaks, training and time in our home countries. We also recognise how our effectiveness in work and ministry and our cultural adaptation to Z depends on how much time we are here. So:
We expect all new team members to make a two year commitment and a longer than two year intention. We know people leave the field due to circumstances beyond their control, but we want team-mates intending to stay longer than two years.
We expect new team members not to return to their home country in their first two years except with team permission (this is a policy that regularly gets broken due to family weddings or emergencies, however, people usually find that going home, particularly in their first year, sets them back on their return and they find culture stress much harder, hence the need to request team permission).
Each team member has 28 days annual leave from January to January and does not include national holidays. We encourage team members to take regular long weekend breaks away from Z to enjoy the foreigners and amenities in the nearby cities, every six weeks or so.
We encourage people to attend conferences that will benefit the team or their own work, ministry and personal development. However, we also seek balance and don't want to spend inordinate time in conferences.
We encourage team members to invite friends and family to visit, although any time taken off work during this time is considered part of annual leave.
After the first two years we expect team members to return to their home country for three months furlough. Team members in country for longer than two years can continue to return to their home country for three months every two years, or every year for six weeks. This furlough time is not included in annual leave.
We appreciate the opportunity for rest and want to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
We recognise that time commitments will impact work opportunities. So, for example, a team-member committed for just two years cannot start a five-year project without a feasible plan for the project to be handed over to others.
We expect team members to write prayer letters to their home churches and supporters at least six times a year.
We value our work
We aim for balance and integrity in both our project work and our church planting, seeing them often overlapping. We are not interested in tent-faking. Therefore:
We are committed to excellence in our work with the NGO Z , and do not see Z as merely a platform for us to be in Z, but rather part of our calling and a vital part of our ministry.
All Z projects should have a community focus. We value projects that take us into the community. All projects should involve regular interaction with local people whom we seek to empower. We seek to minimise 'screen time'; time spent in front of a computer.
We aim for holistic ministry that integrates development work, language and culture learning, relationship building and opportunities to disciple.
We want to model a good work ethic to local believers, working hard but ensuring time for rest, prioritising people and ensuring that work does not squeeze out times of intentional church planting ministry.
We expect all team members to be involved in some kind of project work and ministry regardless of marital status, recognising that this will be considerably less for those with parenting responsibilities.
We expect all team members to attend Z project meetings unless excused.
We employ local people according to skills and character and not on the basis of faith. We do not want the local community to think that becoming a Christian means free jobs.
We acknowledge the differing roles and large workload of team leader and NGO director. Therefore we seek for these roles to be filled by two different people who will co-lead the team together; the team leader holding authority and responsibility for the team needs and CP vision, and the Z director holding authority and responsibility for projects and liaising with local government etc.
All project proposals must be approved by both the Z Director, team leader, and Z head office in Z.
We aim to empower local people through our work, not take jobs away from them.
We aim for our projects to be low-cost high-impact.
We want to be fruitful
We recognise that merely living and working in Z will not automatically lead to a Church-plant. We see the need for fruitful, intentional living. Therefore:
We highly value local friendships and commit ourselves to spending regular, quality time with them, aiming to visit or be visited at least three times a week.
We seek for our work to bring us into the community and to create relationships with local people; not to isolate us from them.
We do not see our local friends as projects, or just targets for evangelism.
We commit ourselves to learning Z styles of prayer, worship and scripture.
We actively seek ways to share our faith in appropriate ways on a daily basis.
We commit to regularly praying and fasting for Z and the nation.
We seek to widen our team gene-pool of local friends, encouraging each team member to develop their own friendship network rather than us all being friends with the same people.
We continually look for activities, such as sport, cooking, music, art, that will help build bridges into the community, particularly in the early days when language is limited.
We seek opportunities to pray with and for local friends.
We recognise that financial disparity can be a barrier to friendship. Therefore we don't assume, 'because I can afford it I'll buy it' but rather consider how our lifestyle or perceived extravagance will affect our local friendships and the way we are viewed by the community.
We value accountability in keeping 'on task' and all partake in a weekly Church Plant (CP) update, setting goals for the following week and praying for one another to be effective.
We expect all development projects and ministry plans to aid our CP goals. We are wary of 'worthy distractions'.
We value partnership in achieving our CP goals, both with other foreign teams and with the local church in Z.
We want to bolster the few believers in Z to be fruitful, by modelling boldness, faith, kindness, love, and dedication.
We encourage new members to focus on language, observation and learning in general for at least the first six months before rushing into discipleship relationships with existing local believers.
We recognise how easy it is for team members to feel unprepared or awkward when asked for money, gifts or loans. So, team members may only give financial gifts or loans after approval from the rest of the team.
Congratulations, you've made it through our policy manual. Hopefully it hasn't just been a long list of rules but a structure to help us become more effective in seeing God's Kingdom established in Z.
If you are willing to abide by these policies, then please sign here:
If you need more clarification, please write your questions here: