Frequently Asked Questions
Who is International Teams?
Founded in 1960, International Teams is committed to continuing the work that Jesus started and brings people together to help the oppressed in order to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the whole person. We partner with churches, businesses and schools to send workers to serve on multicultural teams throughout the world. We want to continue the work of Jesus in bringing food, freedom, and forgiveness to victims of economic, physical and spiritual oppression. We want to see lives and entire communities transformed by the power of God.
What is ITeams’ Statement of Faith and Values?
What is Integrated Community Transformation (ICT)?
We’re passionate about delivering an authentic Gospel that fully integrates mission and compassion. Rooted in Jesus’ own ministry model, we will continue the work that he started in order to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the whole person. Integrated Community Transformation is an approach that compels us to see each person in a community through the eyes of Jesus. Because there are no marginalized people in God’s kingdom, we’re able to work alongside the oppressed in our efforts to see deep and lasting transformation in communities.
Where do you serve?
International Teams is a truly global organization. We serve in many countries around the world. A listing of current locations can be found here.
How does ITeams define short-term, mid-term, and long-term?
ITeams sends both teams and individuals to serve in cross-cultural work. The distinction in time is the most significant difference between our serving opportunities. Other differences include the application process, training requirements and finances.
An individual going short-term with ITeams serves for 1 week to 9 months. Those serving mid-term serve from 10 months up to 2 years. Long-term workers make an initial commitment to serve at least 2 years.
For information about short-term teams, please contact STTeams@iteams.org.
How do finances work? Do your workers receive salaries? Do they raise their support?
All of our workers are required to raise 100% of their financial support. This is usually done primarily through relationships they have with churches, friends and family. If you have further questions or special circumstances, please contact the Mobilization Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the basic requirements for serving with International Teams?
To serve with International Teams, you must be a follower of Jesus Christ and be actively participating in a local church body. We participate in cross-cultural work because it's God's desire that all peoples know His love and glory. Therefore, it's imperative that each worker is experiencing God's love and forgiveness personally.
The second requirement to be a worker with ITeams, whether for short-term, mid-term, or long-term, is that an individual must be 18 or older. (If you are younger than 18, however, you can still participate on a short-term team that International Teams can help facilitate through your home church or community. Contact Short-Term Teams Coordinator at STTeams@iteams.org for details.) Other than those 2 basic requirements, all other situations are considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions about your personal situation, please contact us about next steps and a mobilizer will be in touch with you.
How do I start the process of serving with International Teams?
The first step is to complete our simple next step form. Once we hear from you, someone from our Mobilization department will contact you to talk about your interests and answer questions you have about our organization or opportunities. The Mobilizer will help you determine your next steps if you choose to move forward in the process. If you're interested in starting the application process now, click here.
I'm not sure exactly what the Lord is calling me to do. Is that OK?
Yes, it is ok! Sometimes the Lord gives us a grand vision for our involvement in His kingdom work, and other times He asks us to take one obedient step at a time. If you're feeling a desire to be more involved in cross-cultural ministry, but aren't sure how that might look, take the first step of letting us know that you're interested on our website. After we receive your initial inquiry, a Mobilizer will speak with you and help you discover what might be the best ministry fit according to your gifts, skill, and passions.
How soon can I be on the field?
Several things need to be completed before you arrive on the field including the application process, fundraising, and training. As you can imagine, these things take different amounts of time depending on each individual or family situation. If you are looking to get to the field as soon as possible, keep in mind that it will be critical for you to complete the application steps and the training homework in an expedient fashion, and will require you to give a lot of time and energy to your fundraising. On average, it can take 4-7 months for someone serving mid-term to get to the field from the time of application. It can take a long-term applicant an average of 10 months to 18 months to get to the field.
What role does my church play?
At International Teams, we believe that workers are truly sent by their local churches who have the privilege of prayer, direction, support and partnership in the Gospel with them. We desire that churches support their workers in the following ways:
- Affirm a worker as an extension of the church itself, ready to establish and maintain them cross-culturally through consistent prayer, financial support and personal care.
- Commit to a partnership with the worker and International Teams.
- Communicate with International Teams so that we can provide the greatest possible benefit to them and their worker.
- Communicate regularly with their worker. This will help the worker to maintain a vital connection with their sending church. We look forward to partnering with churches to send laborers into the harvest!
What is the value in working with an established agency/organization?
Serving God internationally is a decision not to be taken lightly. While some may think of serving independently, we believe that there are many reasons to work with an established agency. A few things that an agency can offer include the following:
- Placement: Joining an established team or ministry will give you an opportunity to have a role that is part of a "bigger picture."
- Support in Fundraising: As you raise up your support team, we can guide you, offer relevant resources and ideas, provide your supporters with tax-deductible receipts and provide coaching and encouragement along the way.
- Orientation and Training: It is important to us that all workers serving with International Teams are equipped and prepared for their work and life among the oppressed.
- Supervision and Member Care: We want to create an environment in which workers will thrive. In order to do that, we provide supervision and member care to each worker and worker family.
How is International Teams similar to/different from other mission sending organizations?
Founded in 1960, International Teams is committed to continuing the work that Jesus started and brings people together to help the oppressed in order to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the whole person. We are part of a global International Teams family that brings together like-minded people from countries around the world to build transforming communities on intercultural teams. We are distinctive because of our vision, our values, our integrated community transformation approach, and our ministries in both international and North American urban contexts.
Why do people choose International Teams?
Most of our workers say that they were drawn to International Teams because of our vision, values, and the wide variety of opportunities to serve in North America or around the world. Others might say that they choose to minister with International Teams because of the family atmosphere, the feeling of being part of a larger team and the fit with a local ministry team.
FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD
What kind of training will I receive?
Training is an important part of preparation for overseas service. Our training program will address issues of spiritual formation, cross-cultural preparedness, and fund-raising preparation, among other topics. Our training takes place both online and in on-site training modules, held twice a year in Elgin, IL. The length of training required varies based upon your length of service.
What if I have debt?
Debt can feel like a major obstacle for those desiring to serve as a full-time worker. Most debt falls into one of two categories: educational debt or personal debt. While educational debt can be a hindrance, there are many different ways to deal with this kind of debt. There are some federal programs available to relieve educational debt for those engaged in charitable work as well as several private organizations that may be willing to take on your educational debt if you are serving in cross-cultural ministry. You can also allocate some of your worker support to make the, usually minimal, payments required on school loans. Only you know the best way to decide how to deal with educational debt, but our Mobilizers would be happy to counsel you in this area. It can be more challenging to go to the field if you have significant personal debt. It is important to develop a plan to eliminate personal debt before leaving for the field. We would encourage you to seek help through debt counseling at your local church or through one of the many Christian debt-counseling organizations.
Will I need to learn another language?
International Teams has ministries in locations around the world, as well as in the US. In many of our ministry locations, you will be required to study and learn another language. Generally this is not a prerequisite, but something you do while on the field. We believe that language learning is ministry and that this process can be both productive, fun, and an opportunity to minister to others. We believe that studying and speaking the local language communicates value for the culture in which you are serving and enables you to have the most effective ministry possible. There are only a small handful of locations that would not require the ability to learn a foreign language.
Will I have to find my own housing?
Housing situations vary greatly from country to country. As a new worker, you are not required to make your housing arrangements on your own. Your supervisor or another designated member of your team, will work before you come to secure temporary or permanent housing and help you if you need to change your housing arrangements during the course of your ministry.
What will a typical day/week look like?
Each worker serving with International Teams has a schedule that is unique to their ministry focus, host culture, family needs, role on the team and particular responsibilities. Many workers find that significant ministry opportunities occur during the normal tasks of life and language learning as well as when they are engaged in specific ministry-related responsibilities. We encourage workers to establish healthy rhythms of work and Sabbath rest as part of their weekly schedule. Your supervisor can tell you more about typical rhythms in that particular location.
How does ITeams handle vacations, furloughs, need for time away, etc.?
The amount of vacation time allotted will vary depending on the length of your assignment with International Teams. It is up to the individual worker to decide how they would like to spend their vacation time, based upon personal funds available for travel and approval from the team leader. We definitely value the discipline of Sabbath rest and encourage each worker to develop healthy rhythms of work and rest in his/her ministry. Furloughs are generally scheduled in advance.
Can family and friends come to visit me?
Most locations are happy to host family visitors and short-term teams from your supporting churches. This is a great way for your family and supporters to get a better picture of your life and ministry. You will just need to clear all personal visits in advance with your team leader in order to make sure that they come at the most convenient time for the team and the overall ministry. Also, all short-term teams should coordinate their trip through our Short-Term Teams Coordinator at STTeams@iteams.org.