Our little church, about 60 people on Sunday mornings, sent one quarter of our congregation on a weeklong mission trip to Haiti. Here’s how we did it.
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1. Begin with a personal connection. A mission-minded church member had visited Haiti several times, and he’d met a Haitian pastor named Marcel. Soon that person (and several others he recruited) began financially supporting Marcel’s church and school. A few others traveled to the church, bringing back dynamic photos and stories of their experiences.
Capitalize on the contacts and experiences people in your church already have. Build on that familiar foundation.
2. Form a passionate core group. Two couples collected and distributed funds for the Haitian school. Pastor Marcel visited our church and spoke in our worship service. A mission-trip dream began to emerge. After much prayer and discussion, we sensed God’s “green light.”
If you put outreach opportunities before your church, you’ll attract a core group of people who feel a burning connection to a dream. Fan their flame.
3. Give yourself time for patient planning. Those who’d already visited Haiti told of the challenges and benefits awaiting us. We agreed to follow God’s timing for putting the many pieces into place, including funds for supplies and travel, the specific work roles and responsibilities, and the dates for our trip. We waited two years, but the trip went smoothly and was a priceless experience for us all.
Actively, patiently, pursue God’s timing.
4. Get the whole church involved. We knew we couldn’t pull off this trip on our own and didn’t want to. We repeatedly presented our Haiti dream to our church. We asked people who couldn’t go along to help with plans, fund raising, and prayer. In the end almost everyone in our church played some role in the trip.
Looking to partner with Group to bring a youth mission experience? We’re looking for volunteers, churches, and co-sponsors to join us all across North America for 2018, 2019, and beyond.
5. Gear up to go. During the final month, we distributed a Prayer Countdown Calendar to our supporters. Our group met to discuss final details and double-check our arrangements. The church commissioned us during a Sunday worship service. Later that week our Haitian adventure began.
I know that the same God who managed to take so many of us to Haiti can send people in your church somewhere, too.
Stephen Klotz is a youth minister in Pennsylvania.