Maybe it’s heresy for a youth worker to say this, but I’ve actually never been on a missions trip with a missions organization, like Group Workcamps, Global Expeditions, or Youth Works. It’s not that I’m opposed to them — it’s just that the Lord has always provided other personal connections to serve, both in the US and overseas.
Based on my experience, there’s several benefits to organizing your own missions trip.
1. Total flexibility. You’re in charge of the dates, where you go and what you do there, how long you stay, and everything else you can think of.
2. It’s cheaper. Since we’re not paying to support a missions organization, the cost of the trip is whatever we need it to be to cover expenses and not a penny more.
3. Serve according to your gifts. You can tailor the trip to the specific gifts and talents of your teenagers. Got lots of singers and kids who love to share Christ with strangers? Or do none of them sing and talking to strangers is like a Fear Factor mission?
4. Push the teens without breaking them. You can create a missions experience that will challenge them, but not push them over the edge. Since that breaking point is different for every group, so a one-size-fits-all trip may be too much for one group, but not stretching enough for another. Only you, their youth leader, know where that point is.
Again, there’s there’s nothing wrong with using an organization to plan and coordinate your missions trip. But if you’re considering a trip on your own next summer, these might be some reasons to give it a try.
Posted on August 5, 2008