Planning and Running a Small Team Outreach

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» Stages in Taking a Team » Small Team Package » Finances and Budget » Pastoral » General Running of the Team » On Return » Case Study: Taking a Small Team to India 
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Planning and Running a Small Team Outreach

This contains three sections. The first is a brief outline of the stages in taking a small team on outreach. The second is a copy of the document given to the Holmsted Manor small group leaders to help them prepare to lead their small team outreach. The last section is the first draft of a paper written by Mark Markiewicz and it deals specifically with taking a team to India.

  • Stages in taking a small team.
  • General planning of the team.
  • Small teams to India.

Stages in Taking a Team

In planning a team consider the following order of events.

  1. Within the framework of the bases and/or nations vision, targeting, and strategy, God speaks and a location and activity is conceived.
  2. Plan presented to base leadership team for agreement.
  3. Selection of team members.
  4. Orientation of team including briefing them.
  5. The outreach.
  6. Debriefing.

Holmsted Small Team Package

General Planning

The Country

Pray about where you should take the team to. Look first at:

  • YWAM England's commitment to the Beijing to London Project.
  • Specific requests that have been made within Britain.
  • Other opportunities within Britain.
  • The requests in other nations to work alongside existing YWAM works. Working in nations where there is no YWAM presence would need a very good reason and leadership approval.
  • The base's targets.

If the outreach location is in Britain, consider chatting with some of the English Leadership team to see if they know anything else happening. And if you are going overseas consider contacting Becky Mehaffey to see what insights and contacts she might have.


This is extremely important especially when taking a team into another culture - particularly to Muslim and closed nations. An increasing amount of information is available; do consult:

Really, any reading possible that is relevant to understanding culture, language, missions etc., should be undertaken prior to leaving.


Pray about who your co-leader should be. Have a good working relationship with that person, or develop one as far as is possible - even before you go on the team. Plural leadership is a strength. Discuss the areas of responsibility each of you will have. Release each other into ministry.


There is a real need to prayerfully seek the Lord for clear and specific goals and objectives for team and team ministry. These should not be drawn up in a vacuum, but in close communication with the base you will be working with (or if in Britain, the church or other group), so that they are as realistic as possible. This is especially important in overseas cases where the need to be good stewards of time, and the Lord's money is paramount. Within this, clearly the duration of the team must be ascertained.

Travel and Visas

Check on the internet and also contact a travel agent on travel costs. Experience has shown that London 'Bucket shops' are not always the most reliable, especially when fare money is being prayed in.

If travelling by road, you will probably have to pray a vehicle in, as Holmsted rarely has vehicles available - but do check with the garage, they are always willing to do what they can.

Find out and apply for visas very early on. This also applies to any injections your team may need. No injections may be done through our local surgery. Gatwick Airport provides the service. Appointments necessary if you all go together as a courtesy.

If taking a team overseas, make sure everyone on the team fills out form ST.4. (Not that I remember what form ST4 is anymore?)

Try and work out your accommodation as far as possible. Write to any contacts you have as soon as possible, so that they have enough time to plan and prepare any itinerary for you.

It is advisable to obtain health insurance for each person on the team. This can be done through a travel agent. (There is also a brochure on insurance in the filing cabinet under 'Small Teams'.) See also SOFM information.

Choosing Team Members

Usually people who have a clear word from the Lord go on the team, unless you have good grounds not to accept them. Talk to each person individually and find out their guidance, what they desire for the team, how God can use their gifts and help new areas develop, etc.

If a lot of people are interested in your small team, and you don't think you will have enough places to accept them all, then interview everyone first before making any final decisions. If some students have to be turned down, give alternatives - there may be room on another team, or the Lord may have something in mind that they may not have thought of.

Clear all to be accepted or rejected with the School Leaders before doing it.

Fill out the Small Team Outreach Sheet (ST.1) as soon as you can, and return it to the Schools Secretary.

Finances and Budget

General Budgeting

These are the general things that will need to be budgeted for:

  • Travel costs - to and from the country and also within the country.
  • Food.
  • Accommodation.
  • Administrative expenses, i.e. phone calls, visas, medical, postage, etc.
  • General expenses, i.e. gifts, cleaning supplies, electricity etc.

It is advisable to have an amount of money over and above what you anticipate in case of an emergency.

At the outset, decide how much each person is required to have. They will be responsible for that amount, but those that still need money should share their needs with the team, so that the team can pray in the finance together. Take great care not to put pressure on team members who have money to finance those who do not. And if funds are pooled in any way once you are in the nation/town, never make executive decisions that effectively does the same thing without consent from all concerned. Individuals that are very low on funds, need to be cleared by school/base leaders before leaving.

The school and base leaders need to be kept aware of your team's financial progress, and if you are still short of money a week before you go, the departure date of your team must be cleared through them.

It is best to have someone else in charge of your accounts. Before you leave, have them go to the accounts office and get a run down on how the accounts should work. Either yourself, or the team accountant should also keep Holmsted's accountant abreast with your financial situation while away. We are sometimes given money specified for small teams, so the accountant needs to know how you are doing.


Any money donated specifically to YWAM, should be handed in to the accounts office on your return. People/churches often donate money to the team for expenses. You should certainly ask them what specifically the money should be used for. Tithe the gifts that come into the team funds. When you return, any money left over from the team which had originally been paid in by the team members, should be given back to them - it is not our money.


When making phone calls/writing letters etc., as you are planning, keep a record of all expenses, so that you can be reimbursed from the team funds. (Please pay all expenses before you leave.)


General Preparation

It is advisable to take four days to a week as a team together, before leaving. You may be able to stay at Holmsted during that time, otherwise an alternative place will have to be found. During this preparation time, pray over each person - it builds unity, confidence and a sense of belonging.

Spend time in intercession. What you receive from the Lord at this stage will be very helpful, as you can receive a good idea of the battle before you get there. Never forget, that no amount of drama or preaching will affect your ministry as much as prayer.

Give time also for the team to share their testimonies and a little about themselves, as it gives you insight into each other, and a platform from which to select testimonies for particular meetings or occasions. During this time, the team can work on any dramas, dances, etc., you can plan to do. Work on your presentation as a team also: how you should stand to introduce yourselves in front of a church, etc. If the team is all standing up the front and one person is speaking, everyone should be looking at the person sharing, and not all around the church. Encourage the team to smile while they sing and share. Also encourage the team not to slough, but to have a good posture.

Spiritual Preparation

Unexpected opportunities will probably crop up for you to teach, preach etc. Take notes with you. If you have a good idea of the ministry programme, plan to release the students too as far as possible. Encourage them to do preparation as well. (One caution ... try not to give them false expectations.)

Cultural Behaviour

Make sure the team is knowledgeable about general etiquette and how to behave in people's homes. You will save a lot of embarrassment, and even political damage. Remember you represent YWAM, not just yourselves. Let the team know what is expected of them before you go; each culture will be different.

And read this Bible chapter on God's perspective on another culture.


As far as possible, delegate a particular job or responsibility to each person. For example, put someone in charge of the following areas (or more than one area): Menu planning, cooking, buying, a nurse, a reporter, someone to keep an intercession diary, a mechanic (if you have your own van), and an accountant. (You may discover more jobs for your particular team.) This really helps the team to own the vision and team ministry.


If you have enough packing space, you may want to take a selection of books and games for times of recreation.

Prayer Requests

Please write or type on a piece of paper where you are going, what you will be doing, and your team needs - with a team photograph if possible. This should be handed in at the office to be put on the prayer board in the lecture room. This acts as a good reminder to everyone who sees the information to pray, plus enables the new DTS and visitors to see who the teams are and how to pray.

General Running of the Team


The importance of this cannot be overstated. This, along with openness, can make or break a team, so if you are a poor communicator make it a special goal to communicate all below in good time. Inform the team as much as possible about plans, meetings, etc., beforehand. This will eliminate much frustration and misunderstanding. Write things down as you think of things that need to be communicated. Don't however, share areas that could be unhelpful, or could be gossiped. Encourage in all areas as much as you can.


Keep a healthy balance between a friend and a leader. Ask three basic questions regularly:

  • How is your relationship with God?
  • How is your relationship with others?
  • How is your thought life?

If anyone struggles with impure thoughts, deal with it by giving practical advice - eg how to overcome temptation. Encourage each team member to go back to the Lord with their difficulties after you have prayed. The more they learn to lean on God during the small team time, the easier it will be for them to adjust to their situation after the team. Find out how each person is doing on an individual basis once a week. This can be done in a relaxed, natural way, not necessarily by appointment.


Don't lay guilt on the whole team if one member is doing wrong. Deal with it privately. Encourage openly and privately. Correct privately. Don't be manipulated by: tears, anger or other subtle ways.

Don't judge a situation before knowing the facts and background... and both sides of the story! Don't make judgements according to hearsay (Isaiah 11:3-4). Remember to meet difficult situations in the opposite spirit.

Recognize that you have been appointed. Don't let pressure dictate your decisions, and don't let strong or older team members threaten you - even if you are wrong, and you probably will be at some point, you are still the leader.

Prayer and Praise

It is important to maintain praise and worship times as a team; introverts may need encouragement. If your team members are not very good singers, ask God for creative ways to praise Him with. Spend much time in prayer. Seek the Lord about details. (Joshua 9:14)


If you are in charge of setting up your own itinerary, take each person into consideration. Keep an eye on the weakest link on the team. This can help determine the pace for the team.

If someone on the team is not coping, find ways to relieve the pressure for them, unless it is just laziness.

If you are working with another organisation or church, be willing to lay down the YWAM way of doing things if necessary. Explain your stance with the team, so they understand the limitations.

Please make sure any information shared on YWAM - its work and bases, is shared accurately. It might be best to take YWAM literature with you (DTS brochures etc.). Read up on the most recent statistics before you go.


Lead the way!


Have a good idea of what each person is planning to do after the small team. Remember that you are the recruiting tool during the team time, and encourage any desires towards missions, e.g. SOM or BLS wherever possible, in students.


Hopefully your team will have set up a website to communicate regularly as appropriate. Enlist everyone's family and friends to check up on it daily - they'll want to do a DTS next year!

If you take it in turns you could put a couple of pictures and a paragraph up on the blog/website everyday. That way everyone is aware of how things are progressing and can pray for you. Communicate the vision of what you are doing.

An additional email or phone call, with your personal needs is also appreciated. Share the team members needs too; sharing your needs in an honest way to "sell" your team to those at the home base. They want to pray for you.

Let Holmsted know how long each team member plans to stay at the house on your return. Find out present costs for your stay on returning.

Let the leaders at Holmsted know particularly if anyone is showing signs of mental instability, a lack of submission, lack of teachability, or is developing boy/girl relationships.

On Return to Holmsted

Report Back

On return to Holmsted, you may be asked to report back at a staff meeting, house worship, or with the current DTS. Be prepared to share reports, testimonies, photo's etc.

Fill out your team report into the base database and hand in your book-keeping records.

Share with the school/base leaders, any necessary guidance difficulties team members are having.


Upon your return, each leader and student will be personally interviewed by the school/base leader. The purpose of this is to ascertain the benefits of the small team in each person's life, and to make sure that there are no unresolved conflicts of any sort. Mention this meeting to the students so that they will not be frightened at the thought of meeting with the leaders, but instead come prepared to share what they've learned - any constructive criticism etc.

Report for Advance

Please write a brief report for the Advance explaining what you've been involved in on the small team, plus testimonies. If you have good, sharp colour photo's, or black and white ones, please send them as well. This should be mailed to Harpenden.


Please make sure that where you are staying (either out in the tents or in the house) is clean and tidy before you leave with your small team, and also before you leave after your small team is finished.

Case Study: Taking a Small Team to India

The following unit is a model for teams to duplicate. Each team that goes out should have as a goal the writing of a similar booklet for all that follow them. As targeting, engaging and pioneering increases we can expect many documents like this one.

Guide to Taking a Team to India.

In YWAM England over the past few years there has been a growing interest in taking teams to India and many teams have gone to places such as Bangalore, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. (For the years 2008 till 2012 we will focus quite a lot on our Beijing to London Project)

My purpose in writing this guide to help you in the organising and taking of a team to India. Each team should learn from the last but this is not always the case so I am asking previous team leaders for their input into this guide. I hope that we will learn from our mistakes and therefore save time, money and possibly embarrassment.

This guide is not intended to be the only document that you read but will hopefully direct you to other people, books and resources that will give you all of the tools that you will need to plan and lead a successful team to India.

Table of Contents

Where to Go and What to do

During the past few years most of the teams have joined a YWAM base or team in India and fitted into their ministry schedule, this forms a relationship with the host team and enables their ministry to continue once you leave. India is a diverse nation and it is possible to get involved in every kind of ministry conceivable. There are teams in India involved in mercy ministries, evangelism, community development, church planting, education, research projects, running YWAM training schools, etc. It is important that you decide what kind of ministry that you want to support and to make this clear when you communicate with your host team.

Problems arise when you have a different priority to the host team, for example you may want to take a mercy ministry team to work with YWAM and find that the host team are primarily involved in discipleship and church ministry. If at this point you go ahead and start doing mercy ministry you will force the people that you are working amongst to look to YWAM to continue this work once you have left. This forms a negative relationship between the people that you sought to help and the team you hoped to work with and in the long run will only prove damaging to all concerned. Bearing this in mind it is of utmost importance that you ask the host team leader to give you a clear idea of what ministry they are involved in and how they see you being of help to them in their long term strategy.

The ideal way to plan a team would be to write to two or three YWAM locations in India and ask them what ministry they are involved in and how your team could help them. Another way would be to contact the Overseas Missions office at Holmsted Manor and ask them where teams have been to recently and what kind of ministry they have been involved in. This will help you to recruit a team without raising any false expectations in the area of ministry.

The key to finding the right location is to ask the right questions. Find out what ministry they are doing, if your team can be of help and if so then how? Once these things have been established then it is time to start planning.

Working With a Church

Many times a team may stay in a church building. Untidiness can spoil the testimony of the whole outreach and leave a bad impression. It's good to leave the building cleaner than when the team moved in.

Have some strategy for follow-up after your team leaves. Keep a record of addresses of good contacts you made with people you ministered to so you can pass on their names to the church when you leave.

Make sure the financial policy with the church is clearly defined before the outreach begins eg who pays for what and when. Things to consider would be food, transportation, P.A system, outreach literature etc.

Beware of controversial areas in which team members could be involved within a church. Be sensitive to the spiritual condition of the church. Some areas may be Baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, water baptism, raising hands, dancing, or using YWAM terminology that no one understands.


When applying for Visas you must apply only for a Tourist Visa. The Indian Embassy will only issue your team with tourist visas for a maximum of six months, usually only three months. If you are planning to go for a longer period of time then you will have to apply for a visa extension in India during you stay. DO NOT state that you are a missionary and DO NOT give any YWAM address in India or mention YWAM.

It is best to apply as soon as possible for the visas in case there are any difficulties. You will need to telephone the Indian Embassy (Tel 071 836-8484) for information and ask them to send you the appropriate number of visa application forms. Once you have the forms you will need to send them back completed and with the right money and photos. It is usually best to apply individually as this helps to avoid any unnecessary suspicion. It is also best to put your profession down and not student as they will only ask for proof that you are a student and this will delay procedures.

Another way of obtaining visas is to use a visa agent such as the Visa Service (Tel 071 833-2709). The Visa Service will send you the appropriate forms and will then apply for the visas on your behalf. This usually saves a lot of time and also means that you do not have to travel to London and queue at the embassy. This service does cost but you may find it cheaper than doing it all yourself. (For up to date costs you will need to call them). Using an agent also means that you can send all of the forms in together and get them back together. It usually takes them three working days if there is no problem with your applications.

Medical Information

Before going to India you should consider some serious issues. India is not a country for emotionally unstable people; the spiritual atmosphere can be very oppressing. If anyone has serious health problems they should not go as medical help is not always available. If any of the team members are especially susceptible to any of the major diseases to the Asia region they should not go unless they have consulted their doctor.

The following information changes from time to time so please check with your local doctor as to the validity of the recommendations below.


The vaccinations you are likely to need are Gammaglobulin, Typhoid, Cholera, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Malaria, TB and Hepatitis. Please contact a local doctor for more information about the correct time. Allowances for these vaccinations and costs.

First Aid and AIDS (HIV) Kits

It is YWAM's policy that you take with you an AIDs Kit.

For medical supplies (for your team and also further supplies you wish to donate to those you work with in India) First Aid and AIDs Kits you may contact the following:

Ullswater Cres
Tel 081 660-2220 Fax 081 668-0751

Mildmay Mission Hospital
Hackmere Road
E2 7NA
Tel 071 729-4230

Medical Insurance is not an option, you must be covered. This can be obtained from your travel agent.


India has many doctors, hospitals and chemists. Most of the basic medicines and first aid equipment is available in the larger towns and cities but we recommend that you take your own for peace of mind and to be sure of sterility.

Always wear shoes or sandals if the weather is wet as HOOKWORM can be picked up through bare feet.


The "western" way of thinking does not easily fit into the Indian way of thinking. As God's people you need to come with the attitude of a learner. Please come with questions such as, How do they view life? poverty? money? death? marriage? children?

lost! The last part of this is lost and will need to be retyped in all probability.

Steve Sullivan