There are plenty of reasons to get your youth group involved in missionary work. Some are obvious: Youth mission trips give youth a chance to help people in need. They give youth a chance to see how other people live. They give youth a chance to gain perspective on their own lives. Those are often the first benefits that come to mind. But here are three not-so-obvious ways that mission work can strengthen your youth group.

A Cord of Three Strands…

Nothing strengthens relationships like sharing a powerful experience, and Christian mission trips give plenty of opportunities for those. When you combine teens, travel, and unfamiliar environments, your group will inevitably experience something random and unforeseen. Let God use events like these to knit your youth group together. Dealing with adversity as a group will strengthen them and make them more likely to support each other after they get back home.

A Fresh Perspective… on Perspective

Gaining perspective on unfamiliar cultures is one of those obvious benefits of missionary work. But you can use that lesson to help teens gain perspective… about their perspective. Teens who volunteer abroad are usually surprised by how many things are different from home, and they’re often just as surprised by how many things are similar, too. The same is true for teen missionaries on domestic mission trips, although it’s true for opposite reasons. Have each member of your group write down one thing from each category and share. Ask them why they were surprised by those things. Eventually, they’ll see a common theme, and they’ll be more aware of their preconceptions.

A Chance to Learn How to Teach

Many Christian mission trips involve teaching. This can take the form of teaching children, or perhaps sharing the Gospel with children and adults. Present this opportunity to your group as a chance to learn how to teach. Encourage your teen missionaries to teach by asking questions. This allows them to learn, and perhaps more importantly, it teaches humility and helps them to avoid condescension.

It’s never too early to start praying about how to apply these concepts on your next youth mission trips. Whether you choose to do work in the US, or to volunteer abroad, you’ve got plenty of options with Mission Discovery. Please don’t hesitate to visit our website to see the variety of mission trips we have available for all ages, genders, and lengths of time. Now is the time to start planning for a mission trip with Mission Discovery.

-Jason Torrence