I love short-term missions trips! This summer we are taking teams to Nassau, Bahamas, and Virginia.
I know of no better way for you to see how God can use you to impact the life of someone else, and for you to see the world as God sees it than by going on a missions trip to serve others. Here are the steps you should take:
- Pray – Ask God if He wants you to go and serve Him on a missions trip this summer.
- Reflect – Consider what your motives are for wanting to go. Going because your friends are going, or because you think it’s a cool location, or because you want to complete community service hours for your school are NOT reasons to go on a missions trip. The worst thing possible on a missions trip is having disunity caused by people who go with wrong motives which manifests itself in a self-centered attitude which is detrimental to the team. Missions trips are NOT vacations, and they are NOT for people who are not serious about showing and telling people about Jesus. Your heart should be set on serving God by serving others. You are going as a minister of Jesus Christ.
- Discuss – Share your desire to go on a missions trip with your parents and other important people in your life, and ask them for their prayers and counsel.
- Pick Up – Stop by our website or the church and pick up an Application packet. Be sure to read the information carefully and follow all instructions.
- Apply – If you feel you can commit to the trip requirements, complete the Short-Term Missions Application and hand it in along with your Signed Trip Agreement and Non-Refundable Deposit. An interview might be arranged with you and your parents to ensure that everyone understands the commitment being made.
- Live Right – We are meant to live on mission for Jesus every day! Your serving Jesus doesn’t start the day the trip begins; it starts now. Spend time daily connecting with God, growing in your faith, and being a missionary right here, right now. Respect your parents, do your best in school, share Christ with your friends, etc. Missions trips should just be an extension of who you are every day at home.
- Get Your Passport & Shots – Once you receive a letter of acceptance onto the team (if you’re going on an international trip), getting your passport and any required shots is job #1. Don’t hesitate! These things can take time. If you have a passport, be sure it does not expire within 6 months from the end of trip. (Example: If the trip is June 17-24th, your passport needs to be valid through December 24h.
- Raise Support – Write your support letter and send it to your friends and family, inviting them to participate in your faith adventure! Do this sooner rather than later.
- Work Hard – Missions trips don’t just happen during the week you’re gone. They take a lot of work, commitment, and sacrifice in the months leading up to them. Journal – As soon as you’re accepts onto the team, begin documenting your experience – the practices, how God is providing, your prayers, etc. Participate in group fundraisers, team meetings and practices, and attend youth group weekly.
- Go – You’ve prayed. You’ve taken a step of faith. You’ve prepared. God has provided. Now it’s time to go!
- Serve – You will be asked to do all kinds of things on a missions trip. Remember, nothing is below you as a follower of Jesus. Serve the Lord in humility and with gladness, because you are serving Jesus Himself when you serve people. And be flexible. Things will not go as you planned. Just keep smiling and roll with it.
- Reflect – When you return from your trip, be sure to take some time to reflect on your trip. What did you learn? About God? About yourself? About your team? About the culture? About God’s heart? How can you continue to build on your learnings now that you’re home? What are the transferable principles?
- Share – Be sure to share what God did through you and in you during your missions experience with your friends, classmates, teachers, etc.!
- Thank – Send your prayer team and people who prayed for you and helped you financially a Thank You letter for their support. Include a report of your trip so they can see how their prayers and money made a difference.
- Keep Living on Mission – Missions trips are not the end-all. They are a step on our journey of faith. Allow the experiences you had and the lessons you learned to shape you and motivate you to serve God each and every day with more passion than the day before.