MSTs are made up of people from the missionary's congregation, family, and friends. These teams, along with EMM, form a vital part of the network supporting the missionary. EMM recommends that both short- and long-term missionaries form MSTs by inviting people to serve in the following roles:
- Team leader: convenes team meetings and orchestrates the team's work in cooperation with the missionary and EMM; usually someone with administrative and motivational gifts.
- Prayer facilitator: circulates the missionary's prayer requests and leads the prayer network; usually someone whom the missionary trusts deeply and who has a heart for prayer.
- Pastoral care provider: mentors the missionary in spiritual and emotional well-being throughout preparation for service and time on the field, and during reintegration into the sending community when his/her mission assignment is completed; can be a pastor, mentor, or other trusted spiritual adviser.
- Finance coordinator: tracks financial contributions and monitors the missionary's financial support; usually a person who likes numbers and details.
- Church communicator: ensures that communication flows freely and frequently between the missionary, supporting congregations, and other members of the support network; often someone with the gift of encouragement who is comfortable speaking in front of others.
Note: Parents of missionaries often make valuable contributions as MST members, especially in the children's advocate, church communicator, and newsletter manager roles. EMM recommends that a parent not serve in the roles of team leader or prayer facilitator.
Missionaries serving more than one year often ask people to cover two additional roles:
- Newsletter manager: receives and distributes updates from the missionary to members of the support network; usually a person with ability to maintain a database of addresses and sometimes with graphic design skills.
- Children's advocate: discerns and tends to the special needs of missionary children; usually someone with a special interest in children. If the missionary child is older, the advocate could be a peer.
Of course, each team is unique. Sometimes one person covers more than one role. Sometimes a married couple shares a role. Sometimes teams adapt the recommended roles to better fit the missionary's and the team's particular needs. This is perfectly acceptable.