Where Should You Go on Your Mission Trip?

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So you’ve decided to go on a mission trip! This is an exciting time of gathering ideas and interest from your students, but it can be overwhelming when you have the entire world to choose from. While this decision should be made with input from your church and students, as well as a tremendous amount of prayer, we think there are some questions that can help you narrow down what’s possible for your group. These four questions can help you narrow down where in the world you should go on a mission trip, but don’t be afraid to speak with a reputable mission trip organization for more input!

1. How far will you go?

For every group, there are some practical limitations to consider. This question can help you narrow in on a location or region. There are a few factors that go into answering this question including budget, time constraints, and desire to engage with language and cultural barriers. Generally speaking, the further you go, the more apparent some of these things may be, but none of these are insurmountable barriers! If you feel led to serve far beyond your borders, just know it’s going to take a little more time to plan.

2. What are your hopes for your trip?

There are a variety of mission trip opportunities that all offer unique value, both for your students and the community you are serving in. Taking stock of what you hope to do on the trip can narrow down some locations. If your group is handy and ready to jump into construction projects, hurricane relief mission trips or other construction-based trips are an incredible way to use and develop your skills. Not as prepared for physical labor? Urban mission trips provide great opportunities for relational ministry that can be incredibly impactful for everyone involved.

Are you hoping to engage in what’s happening in the headlines? Or embrace struggles happening in quiet corners of the world? There’s value in both, but we encourage you to look into options beyond what’s in front of your face. There’s value in returning to a community on the long-term path to restoration and there’s beauty in showing up in the wake of disaster. Reflection on what this should look like for your group can steer your decision in a healthy direction.

3. What do you hope your students take away?

Every mission trip should first and foremost be a positive experience for the host community, but the reality is, mission trips are also an incredible way to grow spiritually and develop leaders among your youth. So, knowing your students and what you hope they gain from an experience can provide helpful direction for your trip as well. Students often walk away from trips with a greater understanding and appreciation for new people and cultures, greater leadership abilities, and a deeper faith in the God who created and watches over all of us. While these can be fostered during in a variety of serving experiences, consider how exactly you hope your students will grow and make sure your mission trip selection will allow those experiences to take shape.

4. What happens after the trip is over?

No matter where you choose to go, consider the impact your trip can have on the big picture, rather than just focusing on what your team might accomplish alone in the short span of a week. Partnering with a community or organization over a longer period of time or going somewhere where long-term relationships are already in place will allow you to get the most out of your experience. If you’re feeling called to help in the wake of natural disasters, pray about your options and consider looking beyond what’s currently in the headlines. Places like Texas or Puerto Rico, where disaster struck a year or so back, are still in terrible need and are already almost completely forgotten. Rebuilding after disasters often takes years, even if we only hear about the efforts for a matter of months.

Need help figuring out where to serve in 2019? Speak with a mission trip support representative from Experience Mission today. Call 888-475-6414 ext. 1 or fill out a mission trip interest form.

5 Reasons to Start Planning Your 2019 Mission Today

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In the midst of a busy season of mission trips and youth camps for your students, it’s easy to get caught up in just keeping up with what’s going on. But taking a few minutes to think ahead could save your future self a ton of trouble. Getting a jumpstart on planning your mission trip for next summer will mean you might be breathing a little easier this time next year as the finals details fall into place more naturally. The team at Experience Mission have compiled a short list of the reasons why they recommend planning early for your 2019 Mission Trip.

1. More Time To Recruit for Your Team

When you have a longer window to let people know about your trip, you’re likely to get more students on board, as well as more adult chaperones. Adults will have ample time to plan their work schedule around the dates that you’ve selected, and parents can avoid scheduling vacations during mission trip week when they know in advance. Often times, word spreads slowly about the mission trips. It’s important to allow enough time for the excitement to build before deposits and registrations are due!

2.  More Time to Fundraise

Fundraising can be a daunting task for any group, especially when you have a tight deadline to stick to. By assembling your team and making plans early, you open up more opportunities throughout late summer and fall to do a few early fundraisers like car washes and fall festival activities that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in. More time turns what could be an overwhelming goal into easy bite-size chunks throughout the year.

3. More Time to Prepare Your Students

For many students (and adults!), going on a mission trip is a very spiritually impactful experience. How much more effective could you be at reaching your students and building meaningful connections in the community if you had ample time to prepare everyone beforehand? By planning early, you have more than enough time to host several pre-trip trainings where you can explore what it means to serve cross-culturally and maybe even read a book together! These types of pre-trip activities are crucial for helping your students feel equipped for what they will experience when they go.

4. More Options for Locations and Dates

Many mission sites fill up early. By planning for your summer trip in the fall, you will have a wide selection of dates and locations available to choose from. There’s no need to for last-minute scrambles and frantic calls in the Spring, hoping there’s still space for your group. Lock in your dates early and enjoy the assurance that you have plans you can count on for next summer.

5. A Better Mission Trip Experience for Everyone

By planning early, you can take it slow, make intentional choices, and involve your students in the process. You have time to pick options, present them to your group, pray, and make decisions collectively. No need to make a last-minute decision when you realize registration deadlines are closing! You have the ability to help everyone going on next year’s trip to feel informed, prepared, and committed to the mission when you give them the time they need to be ready.

Ready to start planning for 2019?

Registrations are already open for all 25 communities where Experience Mission leads teams on short-term mission trips! Fill out an interest form today to find the right fit for you or talk through your options with one of EM’s mission trip support staff.

 

How to Set Your Students Up for a Successful Mission Trip

Summer-Mission-TripAs you plan your summer mission trip, it’s easy to get stuck checking off logistical boxes. What will you be doing for the week? Have you secured lodging? Have you communicated details with all of the parents? These questions are big and important, but there are more important things you can do to prepare your students then just taking care of these details.

The team at Experience Mission has learned a few things along the way that can make or break it for youth pastors as you prepare students for a life-changing experience. The first key to success is to equip your students with flexible expectations.

Don’t get us wrong—we’re big on the details. We spend months making sure all of our mission trips are well-organized and the logistical details are in place when you show up to serve. But as you probably know from past experiences, even the best-laid plans can change on the mission field.

Over the years, we’ve learned to plan well, adjust when necessary, and hold our expectations a little more loosely. Because it’s often in the unplanned or unstructured moments of a mission trip when God shows up.

When we come on a mission trip with flexible expectations about how or where we’ll best be used, it sets an important tone for the week. It’s as if we’re saying, “It’s not about us, but rather how God wants to use us.” By letting go of our expectations, we can roll with the inevitable changes and jump in wherever we are needed most. And that’s a great place to start.

Interested in learning more tips for planning a successful mission trip? Download Experience Mission’s free PDF “5 Keys to a Successful Mission Trip.”

About EM: Experience Mission exists to spread the love of Jesus by mobilizing volunteers, developing leaders, and empowering communities. Every year, volunteers disperse around the country and across the world on Experience Mission trips, and you could join them! Fill out an interest form for a mission trip at experiencemission.org to begin planning your youth group’s next missions experience.

Help Give Their Summer a Purpose!

A relief mission trip is a great way to add purpose to the summer and build unity with your students this summer!

Last fall, the southern coast of the United States—as well as several areas in the Caribbean—were devastated by the winds and flood waters of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. As images of the devastation splashed across the media, relief volunteers and resources rushed to aid these communities—gutting homes that had flooded, cleaning up debris, and helping to relocate families that lost it all. What seemed like a tragedy sparked hope in mankind and brought our country together.

Now, nearly a year after the devastation, resources have dried up, volunteers have dwindled, and families are still struggling to rebuild without the help that was promised to them. Thankfully, churches and mission groups are filling in the gaps. This summer Experience Mission will mobilize more than 1,000 volunteers (mostly youth groups) to serve in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.

While most affected families in the area had their homes gutted (flooring and drywall included), many people are still struggling to find the resources (or time) to put their homes back together. Volunteer groups will be bringing hope to this situation by installing drywall and flooring, painting, and fixing up minor landscaping issues alongside local families and partner organizations around the area.

Groups from around the country are helping to bring hope to this region through construction projects and there’s still time for your youth group to join them!

Experience Mission trips are launching every week from May 20 through August 12, and many weeks still have room for additional volunteers. To get started, fill out an interest form for an upcoming mission trip! You don’t need to be highly skilled in these areas to contribute! EM will have staff and supplies on hand to ensure that your group will provide a meaningful service to community members. You might be surprised just how much you can learn from working together, meeting families in need, and being the hands and feet of Jesus for a week.