Road trips are a biblical staple. In fact, some of the greatest Bible stories involve road trips. The tale of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) is a good example.
While on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, a Samaritan traveler comes upon a man beaten, robbed, and dying by the side of the road. A couple of road-trip wimps have already passed by the suffering man without offering to help. But the Samaritan is a road-trip warrior-a man ready to serve.
How about your group-are your kids ready to serve when they’re out on the road, headed to camp, a choir concert, or an amusement park? All it takes is a willingness to stop and a willingness to serve God by serving others.
1. It’s Road Crew Time!-Before you leave your church, pack a cooler full of canned soft drinks. As you travel, have kids keep an eye out for all types of road crew workers. Whenever a group member spots a road worker, that person should shout out, “It’s Road Crew Time!” Then stop your vehicle and have several volunteers pile out to give free, cold soft drinks to the workers. Restock your soft drink supply the next time you stop for gas.
2. Impromptu Serenades-(This outreach idea works especially well on youth choir tours.) In the spirit of street musicians and actors, have your kids prepare short musical or dramatic presentations that can be performed on any street corner. Then, as you travel, have kids look for at least five different places to perform impromptu serenades. For example, kids might stand in the outdoor eating area of a fast-food restaurant and provide free “dinner music” for its patrons. Or, when you’re stopped at a park or rest stop, have your teenagers gather families there to view a five-minute skit or “variety show” presentation.
(Note: Some kindhearted people may try to donate money to your group. Let them know you appreciate their generosity, but that your performance was intended as a gift and no financial contributions will be accepted.)
3. Highway Miles-Before you leave for your trip, pack some heavy-duty plastic trash bags and ask kids to bring along work gloves. Then, while you’re out on the road, look for a stretch of freeway that your group can “adopt” for a one-time cleaning session. (Usually, a one- or two-mile stretch is appropriate.) Once your group chooses its roadside site, have kids put on their work gloves and use the trash bags to pick up all garbage in that area. (Be sure to caution kids to work only on the side of the road, and to be careful to stay off the freeway itself.) Dump the trash at your next rest stop.
4. We Do Windows-Have your kids provide a quick, helpful service for all people parked at churches along your route. Before you leave, type on a slip of paper the words, “Your windows have been cleaned by the youth group of (Your Church’s Name). Thanks for allowing us to serve you this way!” Make dozens of copies of that slip of paper to use on the trip. Also, bring along paper towels and a few bottles of glass cleaner. On the road, look for churches along the way. When you see one, stop and have kids clean the windows of every car in the lot. (This usually works best if kids work in teams of three or four while cleaning windows.) Leave your paper-slip announcements under the cars’ wiper blades. Your goal is to run out of those paper slips before you reach your destination.
5. Pit-Stop Samaritans-One sad commentary on our society is that many stranded motorists stay stranded because travelers are afraid to stop and help. But when you go on a youth trip, you’re not alone-in fact you’ve got a whole crowd of young people with you! So encourage your youth group to take advantage of their “safety in numbers” by stopping to help at least one stranded motorist along your route.
Perhaps several of your kids could pitch in to change a flat tire; or maybe you could offer to jump-start a car. If all else fails, you can promise to make a call for help for the stranded person as soon as you reach the nearest phone.