PACT is an acrostic, standing for Personal Accountability and Care Team. There is also a hidden meaning which carries the sense of such a team’s purpose. A PACT is a “formal agreement between individuals or parties”, usually written down and has the weight of a serious promise.
The idea behind the concept is that a cross-cultural worker, couple or family intentionally and purposefully sets out to invite a group of their friends and supporters back home to ‘join’ them on their cross-cultural adventure and to track with them closely while they are on the field.
This means committing to keeping in touch over the long haul, listening to their stories, helping them process challenges, praying for their needs, encouraging them in their troubles. It will be costly for those in the support group. They must be willing to give time and energy to stay on board with the cross-cultural workers in this way, but there will be tremendous value in knowing they are playing a vital role in support.
Three reasons to invest in a PACTeam
- We passionately believe that those who have such a team will one day be able to keep going where others without one may give up. Over years of interacting closely with hundreds of mission workers from virtually every continent, we have been amazed how many do not have a committed team supporting them. Many fail to realise how crucial it can be in enabling them to serve cross-culturally for the long haul..
- Every missions agency is rightly concerned about ‘Member Care’. Opinions vary as to how, who, why it should be done. We suggest that a properly functioning PACTeam can give very practical and workable answers to these questions which will be tailored to those they are supporting.
- We believe that a smaller, focused team for each cross-cultural worker is more cost-effective for agencies, and for newer sending nations such as Korea, India, China & Brazil.
The five elements of a PACTeam
- A group of your friends selected by YOU - not by your church or Agency.
- Primarily concerned about YOU and your wellbeing, whereever God sends you, committed as your ‘water carriers’ (see quote below).
- Not controlling you or your ministry but you give them the right to speak into your life with practical, prophetic and prayerful input.
- Not a replacement for your agency or supporting churches at home, or local church in the field.
- Not a replacement for healthy local team relationships.
Finally, a quote which captures the spirit of the PACTeam, from Oswald J. Smith:
“Everyone must be in the bucket brigade. You may not be the one who throws the water on the fire at the end of the line, you may be somewhere in the centre passing the bucket, or you may be dipping up the water. The question is; are you in the line? Do you belong to the bucket brigade? Are you doing something - praying maybe?”
Rod and Ruthie Gilbert, close friends of the Patersons, developed this idea and have themselves built a robust PACTeam, who have journeyed with them for several decades now of working in a number of cultures and contexts. As two couples, we collaborated together in writing a small book on the subject, called PACT to Go, which you can find for Kindle or paperback here. This describes in practical detail how to invite friends to join your PACTeam and what the values (and limitations) will be in building such a team.