youth worker, youth ministry, mission, size

Mission Trip Size

By Doug Franklin June 1, 2012

A mission trip can be an effective tool in the spiritual development of a student. It can also be just another church activity. Many things have an impact on the effectiveness of a trip. I want to focus today on group size. I have found in my 25 years of doing student mission trips that when the group size goes over 15 the impact of the trip changes. The larger the group the lower the impact. I know how cool it sounds when we say we have 45 students going on the mission trip this summer. Congregations and church leadership thinks it’s really special that so many students are going. Truth is a group that size will allow students to hide, cling to cliques and avoid challenge. Adult youth leaders will not be able to build a personal relationship with each student. The service and ministry projects will fall to a few students who will really be engaged. Most students will float on the outside watching others lead. If at all possible take smaller groups, this will mean more trips and more time away from home but it will also mean great impact in students’ lives.

Many youth workers don’t have a choice they have to take groups this size. When group size is too big, work hard to make your team small. Break the team down by creating small groups of students (4-7) who will stay together for the whole trip. Assign one adult leader to serve with them. Have that adult focus on building relationships with just those students. Give each team responsibilities that will keep them engaged throughout the trip.

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