By Guest Blogger: Jason Lewis from StrongWell.org
Mission trips are an amazing opportunity for people young and old to travel and help people through the light of the Lord. They give you a broader perspective of the world and shake up your humdrum routine. Mission trips teach people about the importance of giving to those less fortunate and how to work as a team. They provide an opportunity to bond with the people you know and meet new friends, as well. And, perhaps most importantly, a good mission trip helps strengthen your relationship with God. In fact, the scripture tells us to go out into the world and spread His word:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Tips for Planning a Mission Trip
When planning a mission trip, the more organized you are, the smoother the whole thing will go. You want your trip to be free of distractions so you can have more time focusing on fellowship and working on your relationship with God. Whether you are planning a short-term or a long-term trip, take the following advice in mind.
1. Pick the Right Destination
You don’t have to go around the world to spread the word of Jesus, but a mission trip gives you the opportunity to spend time in a place that is different than what you are used to. However, the further you travel, the more money you will have to raise for travel expenses. Decide whether you want to go international or stay in the United States. Once that decision is made, make a short list of possible destinations and run them by the people who have already expressed interest in the trip. If you are still having trouble choosing the perfect destination, step away from the decision and pray on it. In the end, the Lord will send you where he wants you to go.
2. Raise Funds
If you are planning your mission trip through your church, your youth group may have funds available to help. However, it is likely you will need to raise your own money, as well. Make a rough budget to get an idea of how much each person will need to go on the trip, then implement a fundraiser in which each person can participate until they make that particular amount. You can even utilize various fundraisers as a way to garner money from as many angles as possible…
- Set up a crowdfunding site with details on your mission trip goals. Share the site through social media and ask people in your congregation to share, as well.
- Have friends, family and local businesses donate goods and services and set up a charity auction.
- Start a serve-a-thon where sponsors donate a fixed amount for every act of service the fundraiser does.
- Put a few containers throughout your church for a penny drive. Every cent counts!
- Host a community yard sale that turns pre-loved items into cash for your mission trip.
Tips for planning and organizing a church mission trip: fundraising, places to go/avoid, how to keep your group safe while traveling and what to do/not to do when traveling abroad.
Planning for Safety
Once you have the specifics of the trip planned, you want to do everything in your power to keep those volunteering safe. When teens and youth are in new situations, they may find themselves in precarious situations. You may even see drug and alcohol use. Talk about drugs and alcohol with those going on the trip and how to avoid them together.
A mission trip is a great way to expand your worldview while serving the Lord. When picking a place, consider your budget and time frame when deciding whether or not to go international. Come up with creative fundraising ideas that can raise money simultaneously. Finally, communicate with your team about the dangers that may be present and back each other up for safety.