Summer's nearly over and your youth group members are returning to school. As a youth worker, you know what that means, right?
Even if your bags are barely unpacked from this summer's trip, it's time to start planning your next mission trip.
Before you zoom in on the specifics of your next mission trip, zoom out. Spend time with your church's staff, as well as your youth ministry's leaders prayerfully considering your ministry's overall missions strategy. To do this, consider these questions:
1) When a student graduates from your ministry, what do you want him or her to know and understand about missions?
2) When a student graduates from your ministry, what type of mission experiences do you want them to have had and why?
3) How large is your ministry's budget? How expansive are your ministry's fundraising capabilities?
4) How does your youth ministry's mission strategy connect with and relate to your church's (or denomination's) missions strategy?
After wrestling with these questions, consider not only planning next summer's mission trip, but a mission trip cycle.
For example, you might use Jesus' directives to His disciples in Acts 1:8 as your ministry's strategy for a missions cycle that takes you first into your Jerusalem (local trip), then into your Judea and Samaria (domestic trip), and finally to the ends of the earth (international trip).
My church does a modified version of this three-year trip cycle, going first to our denomination's national youth gathering (which includes a justice component) and then on a domestic mission trip before finally venturing on an international mission trip on the third year.
The benefits of such a cycle are many.