Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’d love to go on a Team, but I didn’t go to Seminary, so I don’t think I’m qualified?” Often this, or some version of this, is the reason many people will give for not applying for an OCMC Teaching Mission Team. The truth about these Teams, though, is that you don’t have to be a priest or theologian to go on them—you just have to be Orthodox, at least 18 years old, and willing to Learn, Love, and Share.
“But I have to know how to teach lessons, right?” Even if you have minimal teaching experience, OCMC can help you by giving you ideas for how to prepare lesson plans, tips for giving successful presentations, and advice for getting your point across effectively. It would also be beneficial to take the time to find out about the country and the people with whom you will be working—often finding out about their experience of Orthodoxy can enrich and direct your own faith and ability to articulate it. While you do need to research and prepare, you do not need to have a higher degree in theology. If you are willing to learn about those you will serve, about the Faith, and about communicating it effectively, you are qualified to go on a Teaching Mission Team.
Teachers are often told, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is never truer than when you are participating in cross-cultural ministry. Much more important than knowing the answers to every question or teaching the perfect lesson is the love that your presence on a Mission Team conveys. If you are willing to reach out, to very simply love as Christ loves, then you are qualified to go on a Teaching Mission Team.
To serve on a Teaching Team, you must be willing to give of your time and money, travel to a different culture, and talk about yourself and your Faith. You must be willing to open yourself up, to know and to be known by others. If you are willing to share your learning, your time, your very life with others, you are qualified to go on a Teaching Mission Team.
Rev. Mark Leonidis, Youth Director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, recently returned from an OCMC Teaching Team to Kenya. He reports from the field what it means when you are willing to Learn, Love, and Share:
We taught on the history of the Church, Epiphany, Saints, Living the Faith in our homes and iconography. The people were hungry for the Faith….After over an hour of teaching….I walked over to the “Mamas” group. There were over 100 of them, listening attentively to Deacon Paul Zaharas teach them the Faith….The joy of the Mamas was unbelievable—in the middle of the session they broke out in songs of thanksgiving to God.
In 2009, OCMC will send out Teams to teach ESL, youth ministry, spiritual growth, and basic catechism. If you are called to serve on a 2009 OCMC Teaching Mission Team, visit http://www.ocmc.org to get details on specific Teams.