youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, goals

The Mission Trip Partner

By Doug Franklin May 3, 2013

If you are going on a mission trip this summer you probably have a partner. Someone on the ground in the location where you are headed who is going to make things happen for you. They will organize the work project, buy supplies and gather tools. They may plan the Vacation Bible School, making sure ahead of time kids will know when VBS starts. They will help you make connections at the local churches and even help you with housing. Some of your partners may go as far as cooking meals for your team. These ministry partners are one of the keys to a great trip.

They are going to do a lot for you, but what are you going to do for them? Do you have a plan to bring them support and joy or will your time with them cause them to lose ground in their ministry?

Having run LeaderTreks Trips with students for the past 25 years I think about our impact on our ministry partners. I want their time with LeaderTreks teams to be the best time of the year. I want to be a catalyst for their ministry’s growth. Here are three ideas to make sure you’re supporting your mission trip partners:

1. Home by 5 pm
I guarantee my missionary partners that they will be home in time for family dinner. This takes the pressure off their family and thus takes the pressure off them. They can still enjoy the week we are there by staying in their routine and not worrying about us every minute. This means I need to know my way around and I need to provide for our meals, which honestly is not that hard.

2. “What would make this week effective and a blessing for you?”
I ask this question then I do what they say. I know many of you have asked this question and you don’t get an answer or you get, “you being here is enough.” You should not accept this answer. I tell them to answer or we don’t come. This shows I am different and will let nothing get in my way of blessing them. You must be tenacious about this. If you wear your partner out they will not want to have short-term missions at their ministry.

3. Teach me
I need the missionary partner to teach us because they are the ones that know. I need to listen to them and be sensitive to what is important to them. I need to put my team second. When I do I serve and bless the partner.

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