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youth ministry, youth worker

Effective Mission Trips

By Doug Franklin May 29, 2012

Many of us take our students on mission trips. They have become a standard for youth ministry. So why do we do them? They cost a lot of money and take tons of time. Parents are often luke-warm to the idea and church leadership is scared that someone could get hurt. There must be a great reason for doing mission trips. I believe it’s student spiritual development, or other words, discipleship. So I suggest spending less time on information about the location and weather and spend more time focused on using the experience for discipleship.

Using an experience to develop disciples is an art. Most of the time we think going is enough but not if you want to craft an experience that will bring about change or transformation. We have to be intentional, for example: trips are a great place to focus on a personal relationship with Christ. So we need to put time in the schedule for students to meet God. We also can make a devotion tool to help them understand this spiritual discipline. By being this intentional we can move our mission trip from a good experience to a great one.  Here are a few more ideas of how to be intentional with your missions trip:

Spiritual Preparation
Most student mission trips have pre-trip meetings where all kinds of issues are discussed but little time is spent on the purpose of mission. God made mission part of the life of a believer and many of us don’t understand why God has called us all on a mission and how to live out the mission. We need to let students know God’s purpose and their part in it. This will allow them to see that mission trips are not summer options for students but power packed opportunities to see God at work. God doesn’t need us or our students; He only invites us to come and see His mighty work!

Student Focused
We like to think that this year’s trip will change the world, but it won’t. In reality though, it could change the world of your students. We need to understand that student mission trips are about students. Trips allow them to see God at work and allows them to discover their strengths and gifts. There is nothing like a mission trip for students to discover their spiritual gifts. So plan for impact, bring a spiritual gift assessment along

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