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Is it already too late to plan a 2024 Mission Trip?




It’s no exaggeration to say that each year seems to get busier and busier as we all work to plan events for our churches and ministries.


As we enter Spring, you might be asking if it is too late to begin planning a mission trip in 2024. It’s a fair question, and you might be tempted just to “skip it” for another year. But we believe there is great value in planning a mission trip, and today I want to share a few reasons why you should consider putting that trip on the calendar and what steps you can take to ensure a successful mission trip for 2024. You still have time!


The first step toward planning a mission trip is to remind your students (and parents) of the

importance of living a missional lifestyle.


Throughout the New Testament, we see the pattern of believers receiving the gospel and then proclaiming it to others. Each gospel concludes with some version of Jesus commanding his disciples to go forth and preach the gospel to the world (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:46-47; Jn. 20:21).


We all have that same calling on our lives today. As we are called to love God and to love

others, one of the primary ways we do that is by pointing others toward the hope of the

gospel— the good news that our glorious God has graciously saved us through Jesus Christ.


Does that calling change during hard times? Absolutely not. If anything, as the world around us is broken and hurting, there is a greater need for faithful gospel witness. And yet, what often happens in our lives is the opposite. The complicated events around the world cause so many of us to be consumed with an inward focus. We’re thinking about our job security, our financial stability, our disrupted family rhythms, our shifting plans, and so many other ways that our lives have been impacted. Before long, we’re consumed with an inward focus that runs counter to that missional lifestyle we’re called to live.


When we engage in missions, we overcome that inward focus as we demonstrate to our

students that the mission trumps the circumstances. As we see in the life of Paul, even when we ourselves might be hurting, we still look to love and serve others with Christlike humility (Phil. 2:3-4). Planning a mission trip requires sacrifice as we give up our time, our finances, our vacation days, and much more as we seek to love others. Putting that mission trip on the calendar is a tangible way of teaching your students that even when the world around us stops and reconfigures, the mission of God continues for Christ-followers.


As you begin planning for a mission trip, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right location.


Choosing a trip location is a unique decision for each group based on a number of distinct

factors for your group, such as their mission trip experience, the group makeup and maturity, and how comfortable they are with traveling. Different churches may make different decisions about what makes sense here, and that’s ok! You know your group best, and you need to choose a trip location that will feel accessible for your students and parents. Here at Servant Life, we have many opportunities for your group both domestic and international. Our team would love to help you make a decision that is right for your group.


Once you’ve chosen a trip location, you need to announce the trip and begin building

excitement.


Don’t expect to have students rushing to sign up for the trip just because YOU think it’s a great idea. You have an important role to play in nurturing your students’ love for missions and helping them see the importance of such a trip. This includes spending time teaching about missions and praying that God will burden your students for the lost and give them a heart to be disciple-makers.


Your role also includes building up excitement for the trip. As you think about hosting your first trip announcement meeting, how can you build people’s intrigue? Do you drop hints about the trip location, bring a dessert from that part of the world, or draw for a small prize (or trip discount) at the first interest meeting?


At the very least, people need to understand that the first meeting is for anyone interested and not only for those ready to commit. Lower the bar to get people in the door and think about the trip. We don’t want to downplay the importance of the trip by portraying it as all fun and games, but we can help people understand what an exciting and potentially life-changing experience it can be, not to mention a faithful response to the calling on their lives to be disciple-makers.


As details begin coming together, you must be committed to preparing your group well.


This could be somewhat of a broad topic, but I will specifically mention two areas of preparation: the logistical (including the financial!), and the spiritual. Have a plan to help your students raise money for a trip like this. Don’t let anyone hear the price of a trip and immediately decide they won’t be able to afford it! Point them to fundraising ideas that they can do on their own, and possibly some they can do along with the rest of your group. Help them to understand that fundraising can be challenging and will require work (that’s part of the sacrifice of the trip), but that it is also a great opportunity to trust the Lord and his provision.


Similarly, you’ll need to have a plan in place for training sessions leading up to the trip. No team member should feel like they can’t go because they “don’t know what to do on a mission trip.” Coach team members by sharing the gospel, teaching them how to be culturally sensitive, and making sure they understand that our gospel witness goes well beyond our words and extends to our actions and mannerisms.


A mission trip like this is not just another week on the summer calendar, but a formative life

experience for most people. The discipleship, training, and preparation that take place for a trip like this have value well beyond the week of the trip itself. It is not uncommon for short-term trip participants to return home with a passion for sharing the gospel here in their home context once they learn to do it in a foreign context.


Get a Jump Start on 2025 planning?


Overwhelmed? Our team would love to help you think about how you can engage with short-term missions. There is still time to serve in 2024. We can also help you get a jump start on 2025! You can learn more at www.servantlife.com.

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