January 5, 2017

The Impact Fund helps build healthy teams!

Written by  Jimm Derksen

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

"Healthy teams don't just happen — they are built!"

Jimm Derksen’s words above are based on years of working with healthy, and unhealthy, missionary teams. Jimm is one of EMM’s personnel placement coaches. He and others at EMM diligently work with new appointees, providing them with training about healthy team formation.

It’s clear Jimm loves his job and has a heart for those who are passionate about missions.

“I love listening to applicants share their faith stories and how God has led them to pursue an assignment with EMM,” Jimm says. “They share about a journey of loving Jesus, loving people, and having a willingness to go.”

But Jimm knows that the absence of one of these characteristics is the top reason missionaries terminate their assignments. Can you guess which one it is? It is the “loving people” characteristic. “More specifically, it is missionaries who cannot get along with their teammates. And because of this, EMM makes healthy teams a priority," he says.

One tool EMM utilizes to resource teams is the Team Profile by Bobb Biehl. “The Team Profile is a tool that helps you and your team get 'round pegs in round holes.'” Jimm explains. “It also lets you tell others about what energizes you and what burns you out. I love when teammates understand the roles they most enjoy working in and what causes increased stress or boredom.”

Another tool the Human Resources team uses is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. “Most EMM applicants have had some experience with Myers-Briggs, but they haven’t had the personal consultation they will receive from EMM,” Jimm says. “Your Myers-Briggs Type is a four-letter code that reflects your preferences in how you take in information and what you do with that information. It helps you understand the differences you experience in others. For example, knowing that some personalities will hear ideas as decisions or vice versa will lead individuals to pay greater attention to clearer communication.”

As a Certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner, Jimm has enjoyed resourcing a number of teams, including teams outside of EMM both locally and internationally. He has helped them learn about their specific team makeup, which includes recognizing their strengths and blind spots in communication and problem-solving processes. After Jimm recently led a seminar at The Shalom Project, Executive Director Nathan Grieser told him, “I find that I discover something new about myself each time you lead this.”

“I think that the more we learn about ourselves and others, the more we love each other,” Jimm says. “And the more we love each other, the more we become the proof of God.” And isn’t that what EMM desires to do: to be be witnesses of God’s love, making disciples wherever we live and wherever we are sent?

Jimm Derksen is a personnel placement coach for long-term workers on EMM's Human Resources team. He is joined by seven other HR teammates who are in involved in testing, placement, support, hiring, spiritual nurture, and well-being care of EMM workers and staff.

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.