The ‘Mission Trip High’ as I call it is no secret in ministry. It’s that feeling people get after experiencing God in a unique way and they feel like they are spiritually on top of a mountain. It’s a great feeling, but it certainly can be dangerous if it is not handled in the right way. I think the enemy licks his chops when he sees Christians on that ‘Mission Trip High’ because he knows they are easy prey.
Most Christians who return to normal, everyday life after their mission trip or retreat do not prepare themselves for re-entry into the world and therefore fall prey to the onslaught the enemy throws their way as soon as they get home. So what can we, as youth pastors, do about it? Here are a few ideas:
- Make your students aware that life after the mission trip, or retreat, is going to be difficult. Let them know that the enemy will be waiting for them and will want to make them fall. A firm realization that they are in the midst of a battle is a must.
- Give them practical, user-friendly ways to spend time with God after the trip. It could be a devotional packet, a book, text message reminders, a prayer request list, or Bible reading; the point is that you are setting them up to succeed. You are giving them the opportunity to meet with God on their time and encouraging the development of their spiritual disciplines as well.
- Pray earnestly for your students after you get back from the trip. Commit time to surround them in prayer and let the Holy Spirit do his thing.
- Follow up with your students in the days and weeks after the trip. Ask them how their experience on the trip has changed the way they live and serve God. Reinforce the concept that discipleship = life change. When we meet God on a mission trip or a retreat, or anywhere really, our response should be worship and a change of life that more closely aligns us with God. This is an ongoing process and is not without its setbacks, so be sure to encourage your students to press on and when they fall to get back up and keep on moving closer to God.
These are just a few of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours. Comment and let the discussion continue.
Cam Brennan is just finishing his first full year of Youth Ministry and is the Youth Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Gardner, KS. He blogs regularly at www.anewgravity.com.