The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church strongly encourages every congregation planning a mission team to adhere to these guidelines.
- The leader of the team should be trained as a Volunteer in Mission (VIM) team leader. Each team should also have a Spiritual Guide who provides leadership for the spiritual life of the team. No conference sponsored team can be led by someone who has not completed VIM team leader training. VIM Team Leader Trainings are scheduled every year.
- Engage intentional prayer from the time you begin planning a mission experience through your return home. Remember, we are different from a work team. We respond from faith and seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
- Connect with an approved UMVIM mission project (www.umcmission.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer). Each of these mission sites are equipped to host teams appropriately and meet safety requirements of the General Board of Global Ministry (www.umcmission.org). In addition to projects on this list, opportunities to serve with our mission partners in Russia, SE Asia, Congo and Mexico are also available.
- If you are travelling internationally, familiarize yourself with the country and culture. Your host can also provide you with information about where you will be in mission. The State department provides current travel information about the country to which you will be travelling (http://www.state.gov/travel). The CDC will provide all the information you need about required vaccinations and links to find travel clinics in your area (www.cdc.gov). To find a travel clinic near you where you can receive required immunizations, please visit (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travel-clinics.htm). If you are travelling in the United States, learn about the community and people with whom you will be serving. We cross cultures within our own communities.
- Consult the UMVIM website (www.umcmission.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer) for helpful guidelines as you plan and as you are in mission. When you begin to recruit team members, it is essential that you describe the mission. Team members need to have a full understanding of what they will be doing and the conditions in which they will be living. The VIM forms are not optional. They provide critical information for you as the team leader. To find required forms, go to (link to Resources for VIM Team Members page).
- While in mission, adhere to the guidelines of your host. In all that we do, we seek to strengthen the witness and presence of the local church in that area. We will be leaving, but the leaders of the congregation will continue proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ in the community. We want to strengthen their witness, not detract from it.