Who Should You Take On A Mission Trip?

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It’s only October; however, it’s time to think about the summer in some areas of ministry.  It’s that time of year to look at what mission trips and work camps your going to do.  We haven’t done a work camp for high school students the last few years because of a variety of reasons.  Since that has now changed we are hoping to plan an experience that works with the overall youth ministry and church.  What that means is not only picking the best place at the best time of year, it also means knowing who we are going to take with us.

When you plan a youth trip the tendency is not always to think about who you are going to take, because you really just want “ENOUGH” people to go.  With costs and the work you put into a trip being so high you want to make sure that the fruit outweighs the labor. However, if you do not take the right people on the trip, all you will find is an entertaining event that doesn’t fit into the mission of your youth ministry.  By taking the right people you can make an event like a mission trip and turn it into a movement that changes the lives of who you serve and who is serving.  In order to figure out who to take you need to implement these three steps:

  1. Create An Application Process – With an application process you might create more work on the front end; however, the fruits of bringing the right people along outweigh that labor.  An application process allows you to figure out people’s intentions, motivations and how they will work as a team.  You will not only select individuals but be able to put together a team that can have the most impact on a particular project.  
  2. Set High Expectations – No one likes creating hoops for teens to jump through; however, if there are no expectations then there is no commitment.  Your expectations should include attending preparatory meetings, a significant financial investment and the ability to be present in the church community.  A mission trip isn’t for entertainment, it’s an opportunity to advocate on behalf of your church and Christ.  You want teens who are going to take this seriously.  Setting expectations is asking them for an investment.
  3. Layout A Realistic Calendar – Sometimes you find the right people but not at the right time.  By laying out a realistic and detailed calendar of meetings and payment due dates you allow participants to answer the question, “Can I actually do this?” Many times you have teens signed up because they are moved by the experience; however, realistically their calendar and priorities don’t match up.  

Missions are a value and an experience you should want all of your teens to have; however, it isn’t a process that should be taken lightly.  While you want to open the doors to everyone, if you don’t set clear expectations and have a system in place your results will be random at best.

Should there be a selection process for who goes on a mission’s trip?  Share your thoughts.

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