Earlier this month, I had the privilege of leading a group of students on a mission trip. We didn’t need plane tickets, or even a full tank of gas for that matter. It was a mission trip in our very own city. Our student ministry takes short-term mission trips very seriously. But missionaries don’t just live in foreign countries, but also reside locally as well. So each year, we try to give the students a different perspective of missions. Here’s what I learned from this year’s local trip:
- Train for the 100m AND the marathon. Runners have to train for running short distances as well as long distances. They have to eat right, train, lift weights, and stretch for each race. Same with mission trips. Just because it is a local trip, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have training. Use the time you have with your students for unity building, leadership training, discipleship, and evangelism training. You might be surprised how much the training will benefit a trip that is at your church or down the road.
- Don’t Miss What Is Right In Front of You. If a local trip is going to accomplish one thing, hopefully it increases the love for your community. This is something I really saw in the students as we they went out and did puppet shows, and did some painting projects. They really enjoyed serving and caring for their community. A great benefit of local trips.
- Expectations Blown. I set some expectations for the students each day of what I wanted to accomplish, and they blew those expectations out of the water. It was good to set a bar to reach, but when the students jump over that bar, it’s oh so sweet.
- Follow-up. Something I am learning I need to do is to make sure I follow-up more efficiently. Sometimes I give an assignment like an email…it’s sent, check it off the list. I need to make sure I give out assignments and tasks (delegation and leadership training is a healthy thing), but also follow up with those tasks. I’m a work in progress.
- Make the connection. We did some projects for our children’s ministry this week. We did puppet shows to help promote VBS, and we painted rooms in our children’s wing. Why? Because we wanted to love our community, but we also wanted our students to grow in their love for THEIR church. I want them to WANT to invite others to church, to be proud of how they are part of the church, and a growing love for their church family. I think this “trip” only added to those goals.
What about you? Have you done any local trips lately? What have you done, and what did you learn? Would love to hear the good, the bad, and the blessings.