Hey GO Team Leaders!
I hope you’ve all had a great week. Fridays feel a little different these days, but yay for the weekend nonetheless!
A few important updates about Teams:
- On Monday, May 18th at 7pm Cam will be hosting a ‘Family Meeting’ online to cast vision for what the next few months look like, what the plan is for re-opening services, make some announcements about Student programming, and address the most common questions. All of your teams will receive an email today encouraging them to tune in, please make an effort to do so as well so you’re fully informed.
- Our domestic June & July Teams will be receiving notices of cancellation early next week. Unfortunately, circumstances have simply not improved enough to make it possible for our teams to serve effectively. If your team is in this group please plan a time to meet with them in the next week or two to answer questions and pray together. Please also reach out to your ministry partner in the field to encourage them and ask how you can pray for and support them from a distance this summer. Lastly, make sure to keep an eye on the task in Managed Missions tracking their cancellation fund forms and follow up with anyone that has not turned one in within the first week.
- Teams scheduled to travel August thru the end of the year continue to be assessed on a case by case basis with our partners and Team Leaders. After speaking with some of you this week select teams from the fall will also receive notification of cancellation next week. Otherwise, all active teams will be reassessed again on June 1st and final decisions on every team will be made no later than 90 days before your scheduled departure for international trips. I am calling Team Leaders with any updates pertinent to your teams. If you have questions or would like to talk through your particular team’s situation before June 1st please don’t hesitate to call me!
- Thank you to those of you that signed up to brainstorm areas of our ministry for the future! If you signed up to participate in one of those conversations you’ll be receiving a calendar invitation next week! If you haven’t signed up yet, but you’d like to be included please use this quick form so we can make sure to send you an invite: https://compassionoutreach.com/2020-go-team-leader-brainstorms/
Please keep in touch with us regarding any updates to your team and ministry partners as you connect with them. We can’t thank you enough for your flexibility, prayers and faithfulness in this season to continue to disciple your teams and support our partners well!
Hey Team Leaders,
It was fun to see your faces a week or so ago! This email includes an overview of what we covered as well as the link to make sure you get an invite to our ‘Blue Sky’ Brainstorming Opportunities!
I’m learning there’s a lot of ups and downs in pandemics. So many questions without clear answers. Some of us are experiencing rich time with our families and enjoying a slower pace of life. Others are bearing a heavy burden of anxiety and loss – our hearts have been especially heavy for the many people who were affected by the layoffs at Gulfstream last week. Thank you for your faithfulness in this season of uncertainty. Your leadership and encouragement for our partners and teams have remained a bright spot and makes me so hopeful for what the future holds!
We want to take this opportunity with a break from summer teams to look toward the future, and we want your input! Take 2 minutes to submit this form and let us know what ‘Blue Sky’ Brainstorm conversations you’d like to be a part of to invest in the future of Global Engagement at Compassion: https://compassionoutreach.com/2020-go-team-leader-brainstorms/
Overview of Key Points from our April 25th Zoom…
- All active GO Teams will be reassessed on May 15th for travel on a case by case basis.
- We will also reassess funding on May 15th. In the meantime, no team members should be actively fundraising. If you have team members that have funds they have not submitted that they want held for next year they need to do so asap.
- If your team has been cancelled, be sure that everyone has completed the Cancellation Fund Request Form by checking the task in Managed Missions. Anyone who has not responded after 30 days will have their funds transferred to support our Outreach efforts locally and globally.
- Team Members whose team has been cancelled can transfer to an active team later in the year with the understanding that travel on that team is not guaranteed – they will be given the same options for funding if the team they transfer to is also cancelled later.
- Our 2 TRAC Teams (local camp for foster teens) have been moved to October and are open to new members. Contact Christie Birchfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.
- Stay engaged with your teams through prayer, zoom calls with partners, or serve together locally! If you need help with ideas or facilitating connection to partners let us know!
- New website layout and opportunities to connect with local partners: https://compassionoutreach.com/
- Make sure to subscribe to receive our email updates so you’ll be in the loop with new videos & important info at the very bottom of the home page
- Here & Now Videos, check out the newest one about the shower trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzUFOHSyL34
- Local Outreach
- Biggest need right now is masks – encourage your team to get involved
Thank you for all you do!! You guys are awesome!
We have been praying for you as your teams get updated and you navigate conversations, questions and creatively engaging our partners in this season. As we celebrate Easter this weekend may we find joy in remembering that our Savior is alive! He is with us. His timing is always perfect. Please let us know how we can support you.
As a reminder, the next wave of GO Team updates and cancellations will go out tomorrow, Friday April 10th. Here’s what to expect, along with some important updates:
- International June & July GO Teams will be cancelled. I will be reaching out to our partners by email and copying team leaders. Your team members will also receive emails with notification and the link to the form they must submit regarding their funds.
- If you are a Leader for these teams please make a plan to connect with your team next week to pray together, answer questions and talk about what it looks like for you to ‘stay on mission’ this year.
- If your team has been cancelled, remember to monitor the ‘Cancellation Fund Request Form’ task in Managed Missions and follow up by phone with any team members that have not submitted their form after 1 week.
- Domestic June & July GO Teams will remain active until further notice. After speaking with our partners at TRAC, Ability Ministry and JAARS we have agreed to reevaluate these teams every 2 weeks and make a final decisions no less than 30 days before their scheduled travel.
- Details regarding how these teams should plan to engage moving forward will be sent to those leaders tomorrow.
- Support raising for these teams remains suspended until further notice. We continue to ask that teams not raise financial support until your team’s travel is confirmed. We will communicate new funding deadlines as more information becomes available.
- GO Teams scheduled for August or later will be reassessed on May 15th on a case by case basis. With cautious optimism we are lifting the suspension of Team Formations for these teams so that you can continue preparation. Here is the information they will receive tomorrow:
- It is our hope these teams will travel dependent on meeting our established safety & security guidelines.
- You are encouraged to meet virtually, pray, and plan as much as is practical at this point.
- Support raising for these teams remains suspended until further notice. We continue to ask that teams not raise financial support until your team’s travel is confirmed. We will communicate new funding deadlines as more information becomes available.
Please reach out to Carolyn on her cell (912-596-3898) or by email with any questions/concerns you may have. We’d love to hear how you are seeing God move or ways your team is connecting creatively that we may all learn from! THANK YOU for all you do!
Thank you for your incredible commitment, love for our partners, and leadership in this challenging season! It brought us so much joy to see your faces this week! Please read this email in its entirety as it contains important action steps regarding your GO Team. A few notes from our zoom call and reminders about next steps for your Teams…
- Today: April & May GO Teams will be notified that their trips have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled this year. If you are a Leader for these teams please make a plan to connect with your team next week to pray together, answer questions and talk about what it looks like for you to ‘stay on mission’ this year. If you need help with using Zoom or setting that up let me know! ALL 2020 GO Teams will receive an email update regarding the cancellation of these trips and how we will be making decisions regarding later teams.
- April 10th: Barring any major changes in the current circumstances, June & July Teams will be notified of cancellation as well and teams scheduled for later in the year will be given an update of when the final decision will be made about their trip.
- Once a team is notified of cancellation, team members will have 30 days to submit this ONLINE FORM regarding their funds with the following options (please fill out a form yourself regarding your personal deposit):
- Hold any funds they’ve raised in their name for use on another trip in the next 2 years (2021/2022) for them or an immediate family member
- Redirect funds they’ve raised to Compassion Outreach for our coronavirus response globally.
- Receive a refund of the funds they personally gave to their trip and have their donors notified of the option to redirect to Outreach or receive a refund as well.
- Important Reminders about Next Steps for this year…
- If your team is cancelled, please monitor the task in Managed Missions for the cancellation form, which will be updated by Sarah as we receive responses. Follow up by phone with any team members that have not submitted their form after 1 week.
- Remember that any team member that is participating on more than one trip that is cancelled must fill out the form for each trip separately.
- Encourage your team members to participate with you on a trip next year!
- Help us continue to lead our teams to serve our partners this year! While we wish we could be on the front lines with our partners, this means we must redefine our mission. Some ways to engage with your team include:
- Strategic Prayer – Our prayers are the most valuable thing we could offer our partners in this season when we cannot be together! Plan regular prayer meetings for your ministry partner – let them know you’re praying and invite them to share specific requests or join you online. Our partners are posting their specific prayer needs on our PRAYER WALL.
- Support Through Generosity – Encourage those on your team that can to reach out to their neighbors! If you or someone you know is vulnerable and needs help, please let us know by filling out the GET HELP form on our website.
- Serve Selflessly – If you can GIVE HELP by assisting vulnerable people in our community or coming alongside our Local Partners, join us! Sign up as a team for our MEAL TRAIN to the Weeks families who have returned from Ethiopia.
- April 25th from 10-11am we will have a Zoom call to connect, give you updates on our partners and teams, and brainstorm opportunities to stay connected this year! I will send you a calendar invite for that call.
THANK YOU!!! We love you and we’re grateful to be in this fight with you!
Hello GO Team Leaders!
I hope that this email finds you all well and at peace. We’ve said a lot in our house lately, “what a time to be alive!” (credit to Brittany Blackburn who coined this phrase on our team J). Every day is bringing new challenges and it feels like things we never thought were possible are happening every day. Even as we grieve the hardships being faced by so many here at home and around the world, we are also seeing God move in ways that give us great hope. We are anticipating that His goodness will become even more evident in the challenging days ahead as His Church rises to the occasion to bring His Kingdom here where it is desperately needed.
We have been praying for you and your Teams! We have also been prayerfully seeking what the future holds and what the way forward looks like as we try to provide the best possible support to our partners as the needs grow in every community.
We want to share with you some important updates about where we’re at, where we’re headed and invite your questions and feedback as we walk through this together and lead our Teams well!
In order to do this we will be hosting 2 Zoom calls this week in an effort to catch everyone at a time that will work for you. Please make every effort to make yourself available for one of these 2 timeslots: Tuesday, March 31st at 11:30am OR Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00pm.
I will be sending Outlook Calendar invites by email for both calls with a link to Zoom. Please accept the one you plan to attend and decline the other. If you do not have Outlook, please reply to this email to let me know which call you plan to participate on so we can be sure to connect with everyone!
Looking forward to seeing you this week! THANK YOU for all you do. We are grateful for you.
We need to be intentional about the language we use. GO Teams are ‘suspended/paused’ or in the case of April/May teams ‘postponed’, but not cancelled. As we’re all experiencing now, things are changing too quickly for us to make any permanent decisions at this stage. Of course it is our hope that circumstances will change and that many of our teams will be able to travel as scheduled, but we simply cannot make any guarantees to that end right now.
GO Team Formations are also suspended. This means that if you had a meeting planned for your team in the next two weeks, you should go ahead and cancel it letting your team know that you will reschedule it as soon as possible. Please notify your teams and remove any reminders for these meetings from Managed Missions. Any Formations scheduled after that need to be on a ‘wait and see’ basis right now. I know this is grey, but unfortunately that’s simply the season we’re in. We will notify as you as soon as it’s prudent to resume meetings again. Remember this is not about fear. We need to give people space to focus on what’s important right now which is caring for their families and neighbors.
Support raising and deadlines are also suspended. The giving links for trips are not closed, however, if team members or their supporters want to continue to donate to their trips they need to do so with the understanding that at this point we cannot guarantee that any team will travel as scheduled this year. Once those gifts are given they are non-refundable, so we want to ensure that we’re being transparent with donors. It’s important that your team members are transparent about this in any letters they send or communication they share about fundraising right now.
Please continue to be positive about this ‘pause’ in your communication with others. We do not want to create confusion by teams getting conflicting messages or frustration about whether this is the ‘right choice’. I’ve not heard this from any of you, so thank you! Team members are going to be disappointed and confused about next steps and that’s understandable. Let’s communicate with hope, not fear or frustration. When we lead with peace and unity our teams will follow.
I know your inbox is overflowing and that for many of us all the areas of our lives are being affected, not just teams (i.e. school, work, events and personal travel plans etc.). First, I want to say thank you for your timely and measured response to all of these changes. Your leadership and love for our teams and our partners are invaluable gifts especially in this season.
We are making an effort to streamline communication to keep from filling your inbox and give you opportunities to answer questions and talk through issues…
- ZOOM: I’ve set up 3 Zoom call time slots over the next 3 days starting tomorrow where I
will be available by video so we can pray together, trouble shoot and answer
questions! You can join from any computer or mobile device, just choose a
link below that works in your schedule and put it on your calendar. Simply click
on the link at the designated time to connect! If none of these work for you
feel free to reach out to me directly. These
are not mandatory, this is simply a resource. We want to be available to
- Tomorrow, Sunday 3/15 at 2:00pm – https://zoom.us/j/995025933
- Monday 3/16 at 7:00pm – https://zoom.us/j/118372059
- Tuesday 3/17 at 10:30am – https://zoom.us/j/434636902
- UPDATES: After this email, I will no longer be sending email updates. All Team Leader updates will be posted on our website here: CompassionOutreach.com/covid-19-updates. Previous emails have already been posted so you can access all the information we’ve shared about GO Teams in one place.
- TEXTING: We will use our texting service to text all of you with a link when a new update is posted. I promise to use this sparingly for changes that will affect all of your teams. If there is an update specific to an individual team or smaller group I will email you separately. You’ll receive the first text later today with an update answering some questions we’ve received in the last 24 hours regarding clarity on what ‘suspended’ means.
- TEAM MEMBER QUESTIONS: If you have team members that have questions you can’t answer, encourage them to use the form provided at the bottom of CompassionOutreach.com/COVID-19 to communicate directly with the Outreach Team.
Remember, these steps are about being responsible, not fearful, and focusing on what’s most important. Even though we’re not able to meet in the same building this week, the church is not ‘closed’, WE are the Church! Our Local Outreach Team is working hard to coordinate with our partners and identify needs in our area. Encourage your teams to reach out to their neighbors, especially those who are at higher risk and may be choosing to self-quarantine. Consider those who may have a hard time figuring out childcare if schools are closed etc. When we lead with peace and unity our teams will follow. Let’s BE the church in our communities and love one another well!
If you or your team knows of a need, wants to be contacted with local outreach opportunities, or want to get updates about church related events/services please go to CompassionChristian.com/Response.
Thank you again for all you do – it’s a joy to partner in the Gospel with you!
Below is a sample of the email that was sent to all of our Partners regarding the suspension of GO Teams…
I am praying as I write this email that it finds you all well and at peace. As the Coronavirus spreads rapidly across our world we are praying against a spirit of fear and that God would use His church to bring light and hope into dark places.
Currently the state of Georgia has reported 42 cases so far and our first death yesterday. Yesterday afternoon the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Global Travel Advisory of Level 3 which means they are encouraging all Americans to ‘Reconsider Travel’ outside the US. The CDC reports that, “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.” In addition, the US is increasing its limitations for travelers re-entering its borders from other countries and quarantine restrictions. Many countries where our partners serve are also starting to place restrictions on travel from foreign nationals.
For this reason, our Strategy Team has had to make the very difficult decision to suspend all travel for both domestic and international 2020 Compassion GO Teams indefinitely. We believe it is simply not wise or practical at this point for our teams to travel. We do not want to put our ministry partners or their communities at unnecessary risk by unintentionally spreading the virus ourselves – especially in places where there is already limited resources to respond to those in need. In many cases it is also reasonable to presume at this point that our teams would be too limited in their activities to be effective in carrying out ministry in the field. This is a burden we do not wish to place on the shoulders of our partners in the field.
Practically, what does this mean for the GO Teams who were planning to visit you this year?
- No steps will be taken to finalize travel plans for our teams until the restrictions on travel and/or re-entry are lifted. Essentially, everything related to our GO Team’s preparation is ‘on pause’ until further notice.
- This pause includes all support raising, financial deadlines and meetings for trips. We are encouraging our teams to use this time to serve our local communities. Compassion is proactively putting systems in place to serve the most vulnerable among us and those who will be affected economically and otherwise.
- We would ask you to please hold off on any in-country plans for our teams including airfare and lodging reservations etc. until further notice.
Does this mean that the team(s) are not coming?
- All GO Teams scheduled to travel between now and May 31st are officially postponed. After that, we will address each team on a case by case basis as soon as it’s practical.
- As soon as any changes are made to the status of your team and it is possible for us to move forward with their travel plans or reschedule we will contact you directly and work through next steps for preparation. We know that a pause on preparations now may mean that even if it is possible for the team to travel on their originally scheduled dates a postponement may be necessary in order to complete preparations on both sides. We will work with you when the time comes to decide together when it is reasonably possible for the team to travel.
- We are relying on your wisdom regarding whether it makes sense in your context for the team to travel. If restrictions are lifted here, but you feel it would be unwise or an undue burden on you to host a team, please don’t hesitate to share that with us. If your area is being affected by the virus we know that it will need to be your priority to serve your community.
Please let us know how you are and how you, your family or ministry may be affected by this pandemic. We want to support you in any way possible through strategic prayer or resources to respond in your communities!
We are praying that God would be made known throughout the world in this situation and use each of us to share the hope of Christ to those who are seeking it now. While our world is hurting, we know this is an incredible Kingdom opportunity. May we each do our part to be sure that His church brings Him glory!
As of today, we have officially postponed all teams traveling before May 31st.Our hope is that we would be able to reschedule these teams for later in the year, but no decisions will be made regarding rescheduling until the current travel restrictions are lifted.
Please know that it pains us to make this decision. We are sad for you, your teams and our partners, but hopeful for what the future holds and trusting that the Lord will send these teams in His perfect timing.
Your teams will be notified, but please follow up so they can reach out to you with any questions. And please let us know if we can do anything to support you as you shepherd them well!
THANK YOU! We so appreciate your commitment to love our partners and grow God’s Kingdom. It’s a gift to serve with you.
This is critical and time sensitive information regarding your GO Team. Please read the following communication in its entirety – action steps for you are included at the bottom.
This afternoon the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Global Travel Advisory of Level 3 which means they are encouraging all Americans to ‘Reconsider Travel’ outside the US. The CDC reports that, “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.” In addition, the US is increasing its limitations for travelers re-entering its borders from other countries and quarantine restrictions.
One of the guidelines our Outreach Strategy Team agreed on regarding COVID-19 protocol was that we would not send teams to areas where the CDC Travel Advisory was above a Level 2. As of today, this now includes every country outside the US.
For this reason, travel for all domestic and international 2020 Compassion GO Teams is suspended indefinitely. It is simply not wise or practical at this point for our teams to travel. We do not want to put our teams or our ministry partners at unnecessary risk, but it is also reasonable to presume at this point that our teams would be too limited in their activities to be effective in carrying out ministry in the field.
Practically, what does this mean for you and your team?
- Steps will not be taken to finalize travel plans for your team until the restrictions on travel and/or re-entry are lifted for the location of your trip. Essentially, everything related to your GO Team preparation is ‘on pause’ until further notice.
- All support raising and financial deadlines for trips are also suspended. It’s very important that team members communicate this information to everyone on their support team. As we’ve communicated before, any donations made to a trip will be held for that team member should your current team end up traveling this year or on another team in 2020 or 2021.
- All GO Team Formations (meetings) are also suspended. Please encourage your team to shift their focus to caring for your families and neighbors. Compassion is proactively putting systems in place to care for our communities by serving the most vulnerable among us and those who will be affected economically and otherwise. To find out more about how to get involved in our local response as needs arise in our communities, please go to CompassionChristian.com/Response.
- As soon as any changes are made to the status of your team and it is possible for us to move forward with your team’s travel plans or reschedule we will contact you directly and work through next steps for funding and preparation.
What do you need to do now?
- Please stay connected. Check your email for updates and let us know if you are getting questions you can’t answer or concerns from your team members or their families.
- Please communicate well with your teams regarding next steps. Take the steps necessary to cancel upcoming Team Formations etc.
- Please communicate well with our partners. I will be sending a message to each of them letting them know our current status with teams. It will be an encouragement to hear from you and to know that your team is continuing to pray for them as they respond to this virus in their own communities.
- Please be wise about what you post and repost on social media. You are a leader in our church and people will follow you.
- Please be ready to respond to our local communities. Your leadership will be invaluable across our campuses and communities should we need to respond to an outbreak in our area.
To find out more about the measures Compassion is taking to ensure that all our campuses are safe environments please go to CompassionChristian.com/Response and click on ‘Get Updates’.
Please reach out to Sarah or myself with any questions or if we can support you in any way! THANK YOU for your leadership in shepherding these teams. THANK YOU for your love for our partners and their communities. Please continue to pray with us that God would be made known throughout the world in this situation and that those looking for answers and hope would find them in Him. May His church bring Him glory!
The Outreach Team has been monitoring closely the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as the novel Coronavirus. Our first priority has been to work with our ministry partners in China and the surrounding region who are at risk of sustained exposure to ensure that our church is providing the necessary resources and support to them in this extremely difficult time. Your prayers for these families are greatly appreciated. As you know, the nature and spread of the disease is changing daily. There is still much that is unknown about what the future holds, so we are focused what we know to be true and the things that are in our control.
We will be
sending emails to each of your teams by the end of this week with a similar
statement regarding Compassion Outreach’s response. Here are some answers to
common questions that will be helpful as you speak with your team members and
their loved ones…
How will Compassion decide whether or not to send a GO Team?
· First, we will not make decisions about the future based in fear (Matt 6:34). It is too early at this stage for most of our international teams to make a decision about whether it is safe to travel. We can always cancel a trip, but we can’t make changes once it is cancelled. So we will move forward with caution until it becomes clear that it would be unwise to continue on a case by case basis for each team. Early Teams whose funding deadlines have been postponed will receive direct communication from us through Managed Missions.
· We are monitoring daily the numerous resources at our disposal in order to make informed decisions as the time for travel nears for our teams:
o CDC Travel advisories: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. At this time none of the countries where we plan to send Teams in 2020 have travel advisories.
o News outlets – in particular local media in the countries where our teams will be traveling. We gather our news from multiple US and international sources to attempt to gain a balanced and objective perspective on the potential risk.
o Our Ministry Partners on the ground are best equipped to give up to date and balanced insight into the current reality where they live and serve. Our partners are extremely conscientious of the safety of our teams and will err on the side of caution when it comes to encouraging our teams to come.
What will happen to the funds team members raised if their trip is cancelled?
· Because all funds given toward our teams are tax deductible donations they are non-refundable. However, if Compassion Outreach decides to cancel a trip, the entirety of the funds raised including deposits will be held in the team member’s name for use on a trip in 2021. If a team member is considering not going on their trip they should notify the Outreach Team as soon as possible and their funding will be addressed on a case by case basis.
When will GO Teams know if their trip is going to be postponed/cancelled?
· As much as possible we will decide at the time of the team’s 100% funding deadline whether or not the team will travel – before airfare is purchased. That said, we will continue to monitor the situation for each team up until the time of departure and make decisions as needed on a case by case basis.
We are taking this threat very seriously and know that we have a great responsibility as we lead and send. It is of no benefit to our partners or those they serve to put our teams at unnecessary risk. However, sadly it looks like this virus will be with us for a while and as you know there are confirmed cases in the US – including our own state. In God’s Kingdom Jesus made clear that we will not be insulated from the troubles of the world, but that we should face those troubles with courage and eyes fixed firmly on the One who risked it all for us (John 16:33). We are committed to being obedient to the call He has given our church and each of our GO Team members as ‘goers’. Please pray with us for all those affected and for wisdom as we move forward. Our world is in desperate need of hope – let us pray that His church would be used to bring Him glory.
If you have questions or concerns
about your team please feel free to reach out to me or Sarah directly.
Likewise, if you encounter Team Members who have questions not answered here,
please refer them to Sarah or myself.
Thank you for your leadership and commitment to these teams – we are so grateful for you!