Monday, March 30, 2015

How to choose a mission trip destination

Deciding how to choose a mission trip destination often begins in winter - or early spring at the latest. You are ready to pack your bags and serve God on a trip, but where? Just as importantly, does anyone else want to?  Before the church van leaves the parking lot, your team has to choose a mission trip destination. This article outlines how my church enthusiastically did that. Are you ready to embark on your adventure? Here's how we did it.

Who is ready to pack?
Make a simple announcement in church. "I'm planning a trip! Who wants to go?", will suffice for now. You are testing the waters to see who is interested in missions work. If the words "me" and "I do" are sounded out from the back of the church, then it's time to start planning. Who responds will also give you an idea of what kind of experience will suit your group.

Call a meeting
Hey, you've a church right? It's time to call an interest meeting. Except this meeting, will be one to get something done. Let people know that they aren't making a commitment by attending.  The meeting is to discuss a few destinations and choose one for your group. By now you probably have a few ideas in mind. This meeting is to discuss those ideas, and see who wants to go. Anyone who wants to commit may do so at the end of the meeting.

Research. Research. Research.
You've talked with people and have a general idea of what type of service work may be appealing. My husband and I researched three different possibilities, in three different price ranges. Cost projections ranged from less than $300 for one, about $700 for another and over $1500 to fly across across the continent. One trip was VBS, the second was a combination VBS and construction and the third was construction only. We contacted each destination and assembled packets for each opportunity.

Meeting day
We set out a sign in sheet on the day of the meeting and handed out the packets. After an icebreaker and introductions, my husband and I presented the information and discussed pros and cons of each mission trip destination. We then asked whoever was still interested to indicate their destination choice on the sign in sheet.

The process led the group to choose destinations that they are excited about. One opted for the cross-continent mission trip for VBS and another group is going for construction.

Why not just pick a mission work site and go from there?
Granted, it would have been easier to choose a work site, see who wanted to go and make it work from that point. There's nothing wrong with doing it that way if you know your potential group.

However, allowing team members to choose a worksite put them in the driver's seat. Involvement is high and team members of both worksites are very supportive of one another. Most of all, each person is excited about serving God through missions. Choosing a mission trip destination doesn't get better than that. Don't you agree?