Lessons Learned From Going On a Mission Trip
This past week I had the privilege of taking a group of students on a mission trip to New York City. This is our third year going to NYC and our second one with our church partnership. I thought I would share some things that I have learned from going and planning a mission trip.
- Look to partner with a local church. Whether you are going home or abroad, look for ways to partner and serve other churches. This is the best way to for a mission trip to have the best impact on a region or city. The local church is there long after a mission team is gone. Look for ways to serve that church in whatever they are in need.
- Plan in advance. One thing I have learned this year is to plan out even the details more in advance. You will not be able to figure out all details but you might be able to plan out most. Some details to figure out in advance are: travel plans, lodging, ministry and daily schedule, and meal schedule. With meals, I have learned that many restaurants do not take reservations but there are many that can take a reservation up to a year in advance.
- Plan with flexibility in mind. One thing that I have learned from ministry and especially from going on many mission trips is that you must be flexible. Flexibility is the key to a great mission trip. That does not mean that you do not plan but that in your detailed plan you recognize that things can change. There are always certain things in a schedule that has more probability of changing than others. This past trip, part of our last service day got cancelled and we ended up doing another thing. If we can recognize that things can change then we can have the right attitude and mindset when things happen to make the most of a situation.
- Train everyone going on the trip. Take time to plan out your training. Some trips take less than others but all should include plenty of time to teach evangelism and time to practice what was learned. Don’t forget to talk about what it means to serve the church and people where you are going.
- Plan out devotions for the trip. The last few years I have written some simple devotions and it has made a difference with our students during the trip. Last year we focused on a different theme and passage from scripture each day. This year we went through the book of James. Each time we went through some Bible study techniques to help the students go through the passage and then we talked about it as a team. Leader Treks also some devotions for students that I plan to use sometime in the future.
- People Matter. The people you are ministering to are real people with real struggles. Every person and every soul matter. Learn to listen to the people you are serving and the people from the local church.
- Learn to love the Gospel and seeing lives changed. This is the primary reason that we go on missions and will carry you and your team throughout the trip.
I pray that these things will help as you plan out your next trip.
What are some tips that your would add?
Here is an article from one of my friends on this subject. Check out The Longer Haul for some other great material.