The Strategic Importance of Mission Trips in Youth Ministry…
Real life transformation occurs when Jesus disrupts our routine and gets us outside of our comfort zones…can I get an “Amen”?! When teenagers get outside their daily routines and away from their phones, powerful growth occurs…especially when they serve others. They are able to take the focus off of themselves. They’ll get away from peer pressures and embrace their identity in Christ. Millions of teenagers over the years have been transformed by mission experiences.
Planning a mission trip can be intimidating, so we want to help you by sharing some wisdom we’ve learned from more than 40 years of organizing mission trips. Here are eight “sanity tips” to plan a life-changing mission trip without losing your mind…
- Don’t do it all yourself. You might be great at planning events but mission trips require different expertise. Maybe you’re looking for a community service mission trip, but unless you have relationships with local non-profits or ministries in the area you want to serve, it may be very challenging to find meaningful service partnerships. Perhaps you want to try international missions, but don’t know the first thing about customs or packing light for a youth group. We can save you time of figuring out those details so you don’t miss a beat.
- How long do you want the trip to be? If you are just starting out, try a shorter trip (Check out our four-day Weekend Workcamps). Get comfortable with the process of doing a mission trip before you jump off the deep end. It’s similar to running a marathon, if you strap on your running shoes and try to run 26.2 miles on your first run you will end up dead.
- Domestic or international trip? The choice is going to be driven by what everyone is comfortable with and where you feel God is leading you. The right mission trip provider can help you find the right destination. If you are going international, find a mission trip partner who embraces the concept of sustainable local ministry…where you come to serve and not be served.
- Engage key teens and parents early and often. Talk to them about the benefits of going on a mission trip and how this experience will help teenagers with leadership and life perspective. Parents can be your best ally. They want their kid to embrace their faith and a mission trip can do just that. OVER COMMUNICATE! Once is never enough, so keep the conversation going.
- Shocking truth…the type of mission trip is not as important as you think. Getting into the habit of serving takes a lot of pressure off of finding the perfect trip. Start with the date that works best for everyone and then work back into the type of service. Going the other direction can cause a concussion from constantly beating your head against the wall.
- Don’t wrestle against other activities. You are trying to work with these other activities not against them. Early in January, most schedules for summer events will be posted. Find the most amendable date and go with that.
- Use this as a strategic way to get more committed volunteers for your youth ministry. Identify key parents who you want to be more involved in your youth ministry. Approach them with this opportunity to not only have their son or daughter to on a life-changing mission trip, but that they can be a part of that experience.
- Emphasize friendship. Deepening friendships with others and Jesus is the secret to growing and sustaining a vibrant youth ministry. Start with friendship first then move to Bible knowledge.
Group Mission Trips has been helping teenagers and youth leaders have the best week of their lives. It doesn’t just happen by accident, but by honing our craft. We partner with you to take care of the details so that you can take care of the relationships. Click here to learn more about all of the mission trip options we offer.