For a youth group student, a mission trip can be life changing. Going on trips to Mexico, England, and Haiti in high school helped me understand the world more and realize that God was able to work in my life. As youth leaders, the more we can give that experience to our students, the better. Here’s a few things to consider and tips for planning a mission trip for your youth group.
- 1) Where are you going?
The first thing you need to determine is where your trip is going. There are a number of countries with groups of missionaries that house teams of missionaries and would be happy to help in your planning. Perhaps a major disaster has just occurred and you have a connection in that country that can help you get there. Maybe you simply know of a pastor in another country you wish to help. Figuring out where you want to go will begin to help you figure out the questions you need to answer like booking flights and finding appropriate housing.
- 2) Who are you bringing?
A parent can find it very frightening to send their child on a mission trip. Very soon after announcing the trip to your group, you will want to nail down who your leaders are for the trip. If your group has many young leaders, you may want to extend to parents the chance to help you chaperone the trip. Knowing other parents are going will make parents feel much more secure about sending their child. Once leaders are selected, begin figuring out what students want to go. Make sure you are pretty confident that each student you bring will be serious about the trip. (Side note: you do not need your team selected before you book your flight. To get cheaper rates, book your flight early and then put the names on the tickets later)
- 3) What will you do there?
Knowing your group will help you figure out what you will do in any given location. If you are bringing a team of high school or middle school students, getting involved in construction work may not be the best idea. For our group, we do most of our ministry going into villages, playing with the children, giving away small gifts, and performing a skit that shows the gospel message. Be aware of your group’s abilities as you plan out your trip.
Mission trips, when done well, can be a great tool in the lives of your students. Go out there and you’ll often be surprised by how well your students respond to the opportunity to make a difference in the world.