So you've made the decision, the church is on-board, and you are ready to take the youth group on an international summer mission trip. Now what?
A one-week mission trip in June or July really starts weeks, even months before you arrive on the filed. Every Mission Discovery trip leader is encouraged to attend a webinar or weekend event we call Pre-Field Orientation (PFO). When that training is complete the team leader has tools to prepare the team for the best possible international mission trip!
We build our PFO around a simple outline that expands to six steps or meetings that will give your team a head start in seeing success during and after your trip.
Here is the simple outline. We encourage every international summer mission trip team to go as:
Let me explain. Think about who your best friend is right now. What are the characteristics that make him or her that best friend to you. It may be that they are always ready to talk, or you've shared a common experience with then through a painful time or you just have a lot in common. They've surfaced though to the top of your list of friends.
When I think of my best friends, (I have many "bests"), they are the people who sit down with me and want to know about me. They actually don't give a lot of advise, but, simply listen, share stories of their personal experiences or offer a prayer. They are what I call "learners." These friends connect with me on deep levels.
We encourage every leader of a group going on a summer mission trip with Mission Discovery to spend time exploring how they might become "learners" during their trip. This "learner" model starts well before the trip by exploring and studying as much information about the culture you will be serving as possible. I find it very interesting that the scripture says that, "Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature and size, in favor with God and in favor with man." (Luke 2:52) Even Jesus approached his time on this earth as a learner! This is the God who knows everything about human kind...approaching His divine life here as a learner! Amazing.
Secondly in our simple outline is going on your summer mission trip as a "servant." This seems so simple, so simple that is is often overlooked during a week of "service!" What if every team member approached the week with the attitude of taking the lowest job on the trip? Jesus did that when washed His disciples feed. In John chapter 13 verses 3 through 5 read what it says:
"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him."
Two things. Back during His day one of the lowest jobs one could have was the job of a servant in the house who was given the task to wash the feet of those guest who entered the house. Washing dirty feet must have been disgusting. Notice that Jesus did not connect who He was to "not" do the task of a servant who washed guests feet but rather connected who He was "to" washing the feet of His disciples! It says "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that He had come from God, and was returning to God; so......" Interesting isn't it that it was knowing who he was that moved Him to take the lowest of job descriptions! Purpose to do that either as a leader or a participant in your summer mission trip!
Finally in the outline is Story Teller. Every team member, every leader of a summer mission trip has a powerful story of the work of God in his or her life. I won't go into depth, but we use a simple outline to help leaders teach their team a simple outline of exposing that story. Story Telling is another way of looking at sharing God's love and how His love has impacted you. Consider this too. Everyone you serve on your mission trip has a story. Ask them to tell it to you....ie start as a Learner!
Learner, Servant and Story Teller. Try this outline in the initial steps of preparing your team for the best international summer mission trip ever!