5 Tips for a Safe and Fun Summer Mission Trip

Jungle drums beat rhythmically and a smoky haze is filled with mud-emblazoned inhabitants speaking in foreign chirruped tones and devouring indigenous fare-noir. This is the Missionaries field, or so we were led to believe. Our lens a collage of a hundred media images, grainy slides and sermons expounding the lips of a venerate preacher. Ministers and Elders speak of Missionaries in dulcet hushed tones and issue calls from the pulpit to fullfil your Holy Commission.

Assuming you have decided to embrace this fearless endeavour, be you a first-timer or an old hand, overwhelming excitement is mixed with the colonic constitution of a small child. Missionaries, welcome to God’s front line!

Let’s consider an itinerary of five helpful, but by no means exhaustive missionary tips for a safe and fun Summer Mission Trip.

Prayer

It may be obvious but as potential missionaries if we are going to set off into the wild to do things for God, we need to know that it’s His idea. Enthusiasm to ‘save the lost’ on foreign shores is admirable, but if it’s only our idea we’re in for an uphill battle. Be encouraged to spend lots of time in prayer, alone and with family.  Missionaries want to be sure it is not only the right thing to do, but that it is the right time to do it.

Where is your heart? Is it evangelical in nature or practical, breaking new ground or cementing the work done by others? Little point going to a South American ghetto if you want to build palm huts. Likewise, remember ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ so pray about how a summer mission trip fits into a bigger diverse journey. It may be just as much about family togetherness as it is preaching to strangers.

Planning

For the mission minded a summer mission trip is often about achieving the most impact both for ourselves and God. Moreover as Christians and people leaders we are often called to a particular ministry. What is your summer mission trip ministry and what tools do you need to achieve it?

It’s easy to be swept up in our thinking about what God might accomplish, but we also need to briefly step aside from the grand plan. Think about the little things like where and how to eat and sleep language barriers, money and emergency medical and travel plans. Likewise consider visas, permits and vaccinations, if not a seasoned traveler you soon will be.

Little point planning a summer mission trip if we are turned tail unable to get into the country or fall victim to dengue fever.

Peace

Because peace and peace-time for the overseas evangelist is a big thing, when thinking about your summer mission trip perhaps ask yourself two questions. Is it peacetime where I am going? And do I feel God’s peace resting on the journey? Knowing the political climate is a great place to start so some early research is wise. Consequently many of the places in most need of God’s love are those in political, religious or military turmoil.

These are not the places to go bearing only holy water and a Bible. We all want to accomplish great things in His name but likewise we want to return home in one piece. Religion no matter where you go is a touchy subject. Remember those wise words imparted from our parents to never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table.

Christ spoke about setting brother against brother (Matt 10:21) and Christianity can be divisive by its very nature and command. Some countries are closed to the idea of any sort of Christian influence and therefore can be dangerous. If you feel called to a conflict zone ensure you are convicted in your calling and that external confirmations are in place. Accordingly this is where established Missionary organisations may be of help.

When we desperately want to do something we can fall into the trap of forcing doors open. Instead allow God to open them in His Sovereignty. If it’s right God will make the path straight and we will feel God’s peace upon our planning. No matter how frightening a summer mission trip may seem, once we sense God’s peace upon it we too will feel at peace in the process.

Practicality

Remember that Missionary trips don’t have to be to darkest Africa or the depths of the Amazon, we all can’t be Dr. Livingstone or Robinson Crusoe. Moreover, charity begins at home and somewhere closer by might just be where God is calling you to. Sometimes we need to be practical.

You can be a missionary helping at a local food kitchen or even ministering from a hotel for a week. You can spread God’s word resorting in Fiji and building huts for three days. Let the Father decide. God will work with and through His people wherever they are.

Processing

Your summer adventure is done, finally your bags are unpacked and you feel renewed and exhausted. But something is different. Like warriors in battle Missionaries, you have returned from God’s front line. You are changed. Take time to process what you have become and where you have been.

You have seen things we have never seen and done things we never dreamed. Nevertheless processing that experience is important for our Spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Put in practical terms we need to get our feet back on the ground and self-care. Take time with God, family and friends and allow things to sit. Acclimatise and regroup, pray, celebrate and cry. God has done big things in and through you. You are truly blessed.

The summer mission trip is a great way for Christians, Leaders, Pastors, Teachers and would-be missionaries everywhere to spend a well earned break. It is an enriching alternative to the busy schedule of theme parks and tourist attractions. Using these five tips this summer what experience will your mission trip provide?

References: NIV Study Bible, 10th Anniv. Edn. Zondervan: 1995

Originally trained as a Minister, Andrew Jewell is a Writer, Counselor and Itinerant Christian Speaker and is the founder of Wedgetail Ministries. Andrew maintains an online blog and writes articles, prayers, parables, and reflections. Connect with Andrew: 

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Google+

Medium

 

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and get updates on every new article that we publish!

6 Great Mission Trip Fundraising Ideas

There are not many tasks in the church world that are more difficult than marrying missions and mission trip fundraising. That is, it’s one thing to implore the church to be on mission—to challenge people to leave the comfort of American lifestyle (which is necessary) in order to share the best news in the universe with those who are desperately in need of grace.

Mission is part and parcel with gospel ministry and is central to our DNA as Jesus people. But then to add insult to injury we say, “Oh, and by the way, if you’re going to be obedient to the call to go, it’s going to cost a boatload of cash and you need to start fundraising right now!” People are already nervous about heading to Eastern Europe or Northern China or wherever your church is going–they’re already stepping out of their comfort zones in a big way. Then being asked to raise several thousand dollars to fund this mission can easily seem like a sign from God that they are not equipped, ready, or courageous enough to go.

They need help! This is why churches not only need to develop a comprehensive mission strategy, but they need to develop a mission trip fundraising strategy as well. A fundraising strategy asks (and hopefully answers) the question, “How can we help fund the church to be on mission around the globe?” While this article is certainly not a strategy for raising capital, the hope is to give you a few helpful starters for great mission fundraising.

When asking people to part with their hard earned cash, you either have to appeal to a sense of mission or a sense of value. That is, if someone is going to give you money, it’s either because they believe in you and what you’re doing, or they believe they will receive a valuable good or service in return.

6 IDEAS

I’d like to give you six ideas that have the potential to fall into both categories—fundraising options that appeal to both a sense of mission and to the provision of a valuable good or service. Before we get to the list, it’s important to remember that for most people, asking for money is just plain hard! This is why we want to make our fundraising efforts as accessible and turnkey as possible.

1. Mission Letters

I can’t think of a more effective way to raise money for missions than with a passionate plea in letter form. Writing letters to send to potential supporters allows up to put our hearts and desires for people and the nations in clear, concise, and emotionally appropriate language. People will appreciate a carefully crafted letter that describes where a mission team is headed and what they will be doing. While mission letters are typically written with a gospel-focused tenor for believers, letters are also incredibly effective for those who don’t yet know Jesus.

Even those who would not call themselves Christians want to do good in the world. That’s why a letter should not only include ways in which the team will be sharing the gospel, but also ways in which they may be providing clean water, working in an orphanage, or building a shelter for street kids. There are great resources for mission letter templates online. Here is a solid one to give you some ideas.

2. Crowdsourcing

Don’t be afraid of technology. Crowdsourcing is leveraging your social media influence by asking people to give online to your cause. Don’t dismiss this too quickly! Some of the weirdest things have been funded because somebody simply asked online. Check out how this guy raised $68,000 online to rescue circus lions. Crowdsourcing sites are easy to set up and easy to donate through. Crowdsourcing is like the digital cousin to the mission letter–it’s the opportunity to share your heart online. It also integrates easily enough into Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. For starters go to GoFundMe. If you’re looking for other crowdsourcing options, check these out.

3. T-Shirts

Cool, hipster, and missional t-shirts can be a cash-cow. This fundraiser requires a bit of capital on the front end, but it’s usually worth it. Come up with a design, put it on a t-shirt, and sell the t-shirt. That’s it. Everyone likes a good t-shirt. To increase your potential for profit, design a few different options. Create one mission shirt that’s funny; create one that is serious. Then make sure you research the many sources for purchasing inexpensive shirts so your profit margin can be fairly high. Here are some cool t-shirt ideas on Pinterest.

4. Church Talent Show

This one is a risk. Not because people won’t show up and pay good money, but because so few people actually have real talent. If you want to have some extra fun with it, call it a [No] Talent Show. Either way, people are always looking for something to do, somewhere to go to have a laugh. Secure a venue (coffee shop, church sanctuary, or your backyard) and sign up 15 acts. For good measure, sprinkle in some legit talent (a local band or illusionist) to help draw a crowd. Then invite your friends, advertise on social media, sell tickets, and let your talented church folk to do their thing. It might be a bit cheesy, but nobody is expecting to see America’s Got Talent.

5. Fundraising Meal

Everybody has to eat. This is the meat and potatoes (pun intended) of all fundraisers. There is no better way to get people to give you their greenbacks than by giving them some good food. Breakfast food is the cheapest so your team will have the best return on their investment. But getting people out of the house early in the morning may be a challenge. So find out what works best in your area. Selling tickets for a chicken box, BBQ plate, or spaghetti dinner is an incredible way to put money in your mission’s coffers.

6. Follow-Up Meal

Capitalize on passion by raising money after the trip. I know this is counter-intuitive but most mission teams are the boldest and most committed to the nations when they return from their trip. This is why hosting a dinner with donors after the mission trip may be your most fruitful fundraiser. Create a slideshow, share some of the most powerful stories and experiences from your trip, and then make an impassioned plea for donors to give toward the next trip.

WHAT NOW?

Missions is the lifeblood of the local church—I don’t think anyone is arguing that. Where the contention often lies is how to fund it. With each new project, trip, and gospel venture the church needs to be increasingly more creative in finding ways to make the name of Jesus famous to the nations.

Do you have any other fundraising ideas? What’s worked in your area? Let us know!

Jon Quitt is a pastor and writer (We’re All Heroes In Own Story, Crosslink, 2016). He is married and has two teenagers. Visit his website, or connect with him on Twitter.

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and get updates on every new article that we publish!

5 Do’s and Don’ts for Sharing Your Summer Mission Trip on Social Media

We’ve had the recent joy in our church of seeing several key members go off on long/short-term mission trips. The heartbeat of our Christian faith is this ‘going’ and ‘sending’ and so if you’re in a church engaged with the cross-cultural mission field, you’re in a good place!

Each mission trip is going to be different. Some trips are for a few weeks or even days whereas others are for months and even years. Some are to countries and cultures similar to our own, others are not. If you’re going on a mission trip this summer think about how wisdom would function in your use of social media before you go, during the trip itself and after you return.

1) Don’t Make Assumptions

Hopefully, the organisation you’re working with for your summer mission trip will have a clear policy for their own use of social media including for volunteers like you. One of the biggest considerations to this will be which country/nation/ethne you’re going to. For example, I almost went on a Bible-smuggling trip to a country in Asia a few years back but the whole trip was completely ‘off line’ and, therefore, social media wouldn’t be allowed at all in any way. It was absolutely a matter of safety for both those on the trip and those within the country.

2) Do Use Common Sense

Even when there are clear policies and guidelines in place, it’s vital that you think carefully about how you use social media before, during and after your trip. You will want to safeguard children and young people who you may be working with so always check with parents that they are happy for you photograph, video and publicise moments that may involve their kids. This will protect you as well. Again, ask your sending organisation if they have policy and forms for this. Or you may be in sensitive cultural situations where there are issues to consider that simply don’t exist for you at home. Be a student of the culture you’re going to and find out where boundary lines may be that you may not have expected. For example, when in Africa one year as a young person, I didn’t realise that wearing shorts wasn’t OK within the culture there.

3) Do Put Social Media to Good Use

When social media is completely cool to use, why not consider running a little social media campaign to raise awareness of your summer mission trip. You may need to raise funds or a prayer support network. Using a mix of social media and email marketing can very much help with this! Get creative so you have content to share with people. Blogging and Vlogging are great ways to document your time away as well as in the run up to going. Vlogging, especially while you’re away, will give people a real insight into what you’re doing! Take photographs of key moments so that you have great memories documented and, you never know, you may then have something amazing to share with a testimony when you’re back.

4) Do Use Social Media to Connect

It’s highly likely that you’re going to make significant friendships during your trip. Social media is a powerful way of connecting socially – remember we’re talking about social media. How can your use of Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook be about connecting with people socially rather than use broadcasting yourself. Perhaps you could start impromptu prayer groups on Facebook? Perhaps you could start a hashtag trend within your new friendship group so that all of your digital content is pooled together? How could you use social media to connect your friends with other people you think will get on well? Use shout-outs to encourage someone. It’s such a simple, easy and inexpensive thing to do but can literally change someone’s day or even the course of their entire life. Be generous in your use of social media that encourages community!

5) Don’t Miss the Moment

What is going on in your heart and your life generally, how it is that God’s on the move and how He’s connecting you to others, is the most important aspect of your summer mission trip. Please, please, please don’t miss out on what’s going on because you’re head is stuck in social media. Use social media to serve you before, during and after, but have a clear social media detox plan in mind as well. For example, you’re on a short trip to Africa to reach people who need help with a building project there. One evening you’re out with new friends and old as the great African sun is going down. You’re surrounded by immense beauty in a rare moment in life….what’s more important: capturing the moment on social media or being fully present as it happens live?

Nick Franks is a freelance digital leader living in resplendent Edinburgh, Scotland. Learning to love as he should, Nick is engrossed in living a contagious lifestyle of worship and prayer. He sweats under his eyes when he eats too much cheese, adores Liverpool FC and has a strong preference for Earl Grey leaf tea. Nick is married to the beautiful Mairi. Consider contacting Nick at www.nicholasfranks.com for any of your media-related projects in photography, writing and film. 

You can find Nick online:

Website

Twitter

LinkedIn

Instagram

 

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and get updates on every new article that we publish!