By Teresa Kelly
Many challenges face groups that want to undertake a mission trip. The need for passports and visas, dealing with logistics in an unfamiliar country, and planning activities while respecting the nuances of specific cultures can overwhelm even the best of intentions.
While the need for foreign missions is immense and the experiences gained by participants can be life-changing, there is no reason to be denied the mission experience because of these requirements.
You’re Never Too Young
If a person isn’t introduced to the idea of sharing their testimony or participating in missions until they are old enough to join their church youth group, the true meaning of what they are doing and why they are doing it may very well be lost. Lessons about serving that can be taught to children, even as young as elementary school, can’t be underestimated.
Children need to be given the chance to relate to people who are different than they are. Children who are accustomed to having everything they need given to them can understand at a very young age the blessing of serving others. Establishing this mindset early prepares their hearts and minds for wanting to do more when they have the chance.
No Passport Required
Going on an overseas mission trip may not be an option because of limitations of time, finances, and qualified leadership. One way to overcome this challenge is to remember that all mission trips don’t have to include a trip to a foreign country. From the most remote rural locations to the largest cities, there are countless opportunities to serve.
When planning for a mission trip, group leaders should first survey the talents and abilities of the mission trip participants and use that information to find a way to serve locally or regionally in the most impactful way.
Be Creative With Fundraising
Paying for a mission trip can be daunting, but the tremendous increase in Internet use and the power of social media has also resulted in lots of options for fundraising. These options are designed to be much easier to implement and also give the mission trip participant the chance to add their personal testimony and detail the goals they have for their mission.
With just a few clicks, this message can be sent out to as many people as necessary, including family members, friends, business associates, etc. Through the organic reach of social media, each of these people can also spread the message about the mission trip and give others a chance to give.
Use All Available Resources
Participating in a mission trip through local churches or youth groups isn’t the only option. The emphasis on serving and giving back has transformed holiday breaks, family vacations, and sabbaticals into opportunities for missions. There is no better lesson for a child to see than their parent living out the example of serving others.
When planning a family trip, look for nonprofit organizations that set up mission trips for churches as well as families and individuals. These are a great option because they handle all the logistics and you simply pick the location and date that works with your schedule.
The bottom line is this…we are called to missions. With all the resources and creative options we have available, there is no reason why each person can’t find a way to fulfill that calling in ways that fits their particular season of life.
Teresa Kelly is a founder and partner of Sorgente Consulting, which provides professional services, system solutions and premium products that maximize the success of churches, nonprofits and commercial enterprises around the globe, www.sorgenteconsulting.com.