So much work went into preparing your group for your summer mission trip. The trip went well, commitments were made and it appears that next year’s trip will be even bigger. You’re back home and thinking about followup. Here are three simple followup ideas.
First, on the night before you leave the mission trip ask your group what their response will be to the question posed back home by friends and family, “How was your trip.” I was with a team in Guatemala in March and Brad the leader asked this question of his group. He said his own experience was to respond to that question with, “It was good.” Brad challenged the group of high school students to think more deeply about that question and instead of just saying it was good to tell about one activity they were involved in. He pointed to a student and asked what his was. “Well I held an disabled orphan in my lap for a full morning. He had a feeding tube in his stomach because he had lost the will to eat. I just prayed for him.” Helping a group form the words of the personal impact of the trip is something you can do before you leave for home, is so important.
Second of all give the team at least one week at home before doing anything. One week after the trip send an invite to the team to a “picture party.” Gather all of the pictures from the trip from as many team members as you can. Put them in a slide show and walk down memory lane. You are not after a big production with music here, just a simple pic by pic slide show where the group can hear the comments, laughter, and sounds each other make. Now ask this question. Of all of these memories you revisited tonight what one stands out to you as a work of God you will not forget? While there may be tears during sharing you do want to close with the truth. The truth is that God is keenly aware of the needs of those you served and the scripture that supports that.
Last, set a reminder in your calendar to send an email to every member of the team 6 months after the trip. The email is simply a picture of one person from among those you served. It should be someone the entire team knows. The caption under the picture says simply, “Don’t Forget.”
A week or so later gather the team again for a prayer service. You’ll again project all of those pictures you gather for your first followup meeting and let them rotate while team member lift up the names of those they serve to the Lord. Worship together, thank God for his faithfulness to never ever stop loving well.
Now it’s time to serve those in need back home!