student ministry, youth worker, youth ministry

Trouble Shooting A Mission Trip

By Doug Franklin February 14, 2013

It takes a lot of effort to lead a mission trip. The pre-trip set-up, communication with parents, getting buy-in from the church, release forms, fundraising, getting the students signed-up, especially the boys. I haven’t even mentioned going on the trip. It’s a big investment to go on a student mission trip. One thing I have noticed over the years is that most youth workers miss a very important step and it usually comes back to bite them. It’s communicating the vision for the trip to the adult volunteers who will be going with you. When the adult volunteers don’t know the reason for the trip, the “why” behind they make up their own purpose and start living it out. This leads to a head on collision with the youth workers purpose and ends up in a crash.

The key to a great mission trip is asking your adult volunteers to join your vision before you ask them to join the trip. Once they commit to the vision, have at least two training where you reinforce the vision. Adults often think their role of a trip is doing only logistics. If you want them to mentor students you need to communicate that and train them how to make it happen. Make sure you continue to cast the vision for them on the trip. Check in with them and make sure they are making progress on the vision. Offer additional training for the trip if that will help. Remember: On most trips you will never have a problem with students; if you do have problem it will be because your adults volunteers on the trip had a different vision than you for the trip.

Just a quick side note; sometimes adults think they are on the trip to watch you and keep you in line. They tell parents, “I will be there and make sure nothing goes wrong.” Get these folks off your trip because to make themselves feel valuable they have to find something you are doing wrong.

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