Going on a Youth Mission Trip 101: Part 1

As the closest people on earth gathered around him, Jesus, ready to return to his Father, uttered these amazing last words to them:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

How do you think the disciples felt hearing this final command of their beloved Savior, leader, and friend?

They probably responded a lot like we do when we hear it. We desire to obey but are a little fearful of and overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Although there is a healthy, holy fear and overwhelm that comes with understanding our weakness and limitations in serving, the whole prospect of missions doesn’t need to be fearful and overwhelming.

By laying a biblical foundation and using practical wisdom, the process can be more straightforward than it might originally seem.
youth going on a mission trip

Mission Trip 101: Where Do You Start?

Acts 1 records a conversation Jesus had with his disciples shortly after his resurrection. This conversation, pieced together with his parting words from Matthew 28, provided the disciples a little more clarity for their mission: 

“[Y]ou will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

They were to start their ministry of witness where they were, in Jerusalem. From Jerusalem, their witness was to spread to the nearby areas, and then abroad, covering all the earth with the good news of Jesus’ saving power.

These verses help narrow the question of “where do you start?” because you see that you have the freedom to literally start anywhere! You can start near or far and still be obeying Jesus!

So the next question is:

Mission Trip 101: Where Should You Go?

youth holding a hammer on a mission trip
Although you have the freedom to go anywhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go anywhere. There are some wise things to consider as you decide where it’s best for your group to serve. Here are some questions to ask as you plan ahead, take inventory, and count the COST:

  1. Commitment – How long can your group commit to serving? A weekend? A week? A few weeks? 
  2. Organization – What does your group’s leadership look like? Do you have someone in charge who could organize the trip, plan fundraising, communicate with parents, spiritually prepare the youth? Do you have adults who would be willing to be chaperones and take off work to help if necessary?
  3. Size – Who in your group is eligible to go? How large is your group once eligibility is confirmed? Big enough to divide into a few different groups to serve? Small enough that it would be helpful to combine with another church’s youth group to serve? 
  4. Travel – Does your group prefer to travel farther away or stay nearby to serve? If traveling farther, do have the resources/budget to cover flights, and/or fundraise for more expensive travel costs?

As you answer these questions above, a clearer picture should form of what type of mission trip is wisest for your group to take. However, as more questions are answered, most likely there are a few more questions raised. We’ll answer those in, “Going on a Youth Mission Trip 101: Part 2.”

Interested in a mission trip this summer? Check out our summer locations!