youth worker, youth ministry, secrets

3 Secrets of an Intentional Mission Trip

By Doug Franklin May 24, 2011

Many of us in youth ministry are getting ready for the annual summer mission trip. Some of us are going to the same location and planning on doing the same stuff hoping that God will show up in the exact same way he showed up last year. It’s important to remember that God never does the same stuff twice, so why do we think we should? This year a few secrets of the trade can make the outcomes of your trip more effective. It starts with us being intentional with the trip; listen, going is not enough. Sure it’s awesome that your students are going on a mission trip but what would truly make it awesome would be if there was a transformational change in their relationship with Christ because of the trip. To put your students in the best place for these transformational changes to take place try the following:

1. Have a plan for spiritual growth

Spiritual growth does not happen by listening to an emotionally charged speaker. We can get encouragement from a speaker but real growth takes place by spending time with God. So create space on your trip for your students to connect with God. Time to read scripture, worship, pray and connect can be done in some very creative ways. Pick one that works for your group and make time for your students to connect with God.

2. Bring trip mentors
Instead of having adult chaperones, bring adults who want to be trip mentors. Adults who will spend the trip building transformational relationships with students. This will require you to spend time training the adults before the trip, but it will be worth it.

3. Debrief the trip
I find that youth workers all want to talk about debriefing before the trip but have no energy for it when the trip is over. Students make transformational change in their lives the week they come home but most youth workers take that week off. Realize that some of the most important work you will do in youth ministry happens the week after major activities. Plan your schedule in a way that allows you to be ready to help students live out their applications from the week of missions.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More