The best mission trip is the one that helps you reach the goals for your youth group. So selecting the right style of mission trip is very important. We created this tool to help you think through what you want to get out of your mission trip. We want your mission to be more than a fun memory; we want it to be a milestone for your group.
What is Your Purpose?
Before you start planning for any mission trip, it’s important you have a purpose for the trip. What do you want to accomplish through this trip? How does it fit with your church’s strategy for youth ministry? At LeaderTreks youth ministry, we know the difference between a good mission trip and a great one is purpose. Teams that come on trips with a clear purpose accomplish more and see a greater impact on their students. Areas of purpose could be leadership, improved communication, growing deeper in Christ, evangelism, expanded Christian worldview or cultural awareness. LeaderTreks has created a free book that can help you through this process called The Student Mission Trip Greenhouse. You can download this resource for free or purchase physical copies.
Take a moment to write down the purpose you have for the trip. This could even included specific goals. The more specific you get, the easier it is to select a trip.
Now that you have your purpose and goals in mind, take some time to go through the following assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to identify opportunities for improvement. Use the following 6 categories to help you determine where your students are currently. Be honest and have high expectations for your students.
Rate your students based on the following:
1) Never True 2) Seldom True 3) Sometimes True 4) Often True 5) Always True.
1) When one person talks everyone listens1 2 3 4 5
2) Students listen attentively1 2 3 4 5
3) Many of our male group members are strong communicators1 2 3 4 5
4) We have a weekly sharing time that is very strong1 2 3 4 5
5) Words of encouragement flow naturally1 2 3 4 5
1) Our students love to serve1 2 3 4 5
2) We do “at home” service projects on a regular basis1 2 3 4 5
3) Students put a large amount of time into the yearly missions trip1 2 3 4 5
4) Students consider missions part of their future1 2 3 4 5
5) Our mission is clear and our students live it out1 2 3 4 5
1) Our students have a daily quiet time1 2 3 4 5
2) Our students independently study the Bible1 2 3 4 5
3) Our students use a prayer journal1 2 3 4 5
4) Our students meet weekly in small groups1 2 3 4 5
5) We focus on having adults in mentoring relationships with students1 2 3 4 5
1) Every student feels welcome in our group1 2 3 4 5
2) Our strong communication leads to great teamwork1 2 3 4 5
3) Our students serve utilizing their spiritual gifts1 2 3 4 5
4) We make developing teamwork a high priority1 2 3 4 5
5) We do team building games throughout the year1 2 3 4 5
1) Our students focus on sharing their faith1 2 3 4 5
2) Evangelism is a central focus of our youth ministry1 2 3 4 5
3) Our students use a specific technique for sharing their faith1 2 3 4 5
4) We have many new believers in our group1 2 3 4 5
5) Our students serve on ministry teams1 2 3 4 5
1) The juniors and seniors are seen as the leaders of the group1 2 3 4 5
2) Our student leaders shoulder a lot of youth group responsibilities1 2 3 4 5
3) Younger students look up to older students1 2 3 4 5
4) Leadership development is a major focus of our ministry1 2 3 4 5
5) We strive for excellence in everything we do1 2 3 4 5
Take some time to evaluate your answers. What seem to be areas of strength for your group? What seem to be areas of needed growth for your group?
What are your team’s strength areas?
In what areas does your team need to grow?
Look back at your purpose and goals above. How do your purpose and goals line up with the areas of strength or needed growth? Do you want a trip that focuses on the strength areas, or a trip that can help your group grow in areas of weakness?
What Trip is Right For Your Team?
Matching teams to the right trip is very important. At LeaderTreks, we have four different kinds of trips because each group is different and has different needs. Our trips were developed so each group would get the most of their LeaderTreks experience. When considering which trip is right of your group, don’t just think about how much experience your students have but think in terms how much leadership of the trip they can handle. Call Dan or James at LeaderTreks and they would be happy to walk through your results so you can get the right trip for your group.
Helpful Tips For Your Mission Trip
Communicating the Mission
When students and parents hear about a missions trip, the first thing they think about is where they are going. They make judgments about the trip based solely on the sites location. We have been doing missions trip for a long time and have never seen a site change a student’s life. What changes a student’s life is the team members, challenges they overcome and spiritual commitments they make. The site plays a role in the students experience but it’s a small one. Make sure when you are telling students about the upcoming missions trip you communicate the mission and how you want this experience to change their lives. Remember: students hear what they want to hear, so go to great length to communicate your goals for the trip.
Get Students and Staff Involved Early
Look for students who are fully devoted followers of Christ, good communicators and teachable. Get them involved in site and team selection. Give them responsibilities in communicating the mission to other students.
Look for support staff that already have a relationship with students and are involved in the ministry. Communicate with them the purpose of the trip and their roles and responsibilities. Make sure relationship building is their main focus. Students don’t need chaperones; they need mentors that will build into their lives.
Set a schedule of weekly meetings and detail job expectations for the whole team. Ask for a commitment from students in terms of participation, standards of behavior and servanthood. Hold students to their commitments. If a student is not willing to keep his or her commitments, remove them from the team. The truth is students that are not willing to keep commitments in the training time will not magically become committed when the trip starts. A big mistake leaders make is thinking that a missions trip will change bad behavior, it seldom does.
LeaderTreks Wants To Help You Have The Best Experience Possible
At LeaderTreks, we have many programs, assessments and strategies that will help your group get the most out of your mission trip experience. We would love to help you. Let us know where your group is and how we can bring our experience to serve you. We desire to use the missions experience to change your student’s life.
Selecting the Right Trip Assessment © LeaderTreks 2013