Team Building for Mission Trips

Successful mission trips require preparation. Proper preparation builds and unifies teams, roots them in Scripture, equips them for cross-cultural ministry, and focuses them on Christ. Regardless of what type or duration of mission trip your team will be taking, effective mission trip preparation includes team building, Bible study, cross-cultural training, and the creation of a team covenant.

To some extent, team building may seem unnecessary for ministries that meet regularly throughout the year. Such teams likely include students who know each other well. Yet, the reality is such teams also include more marginal students, as well as adult leaders who may not know team members well. Moreover, because mission trips require teams to work together in new ways, often in difficult or stressful circumstances, the more you do to build and unite your team prior to your trip, the easier it will be for you to function as a unified team during your trip.

To help build and unify your team prior to your trip, use a portion of each of your preparation meetings to do team-building activities. Use team-building activities to simulate unusual circumstances, force students to work together and overcome obstacles, and discover the strengths and weaknesses of your team as various personalities emerge.

A few simple team-building activities you can use for any size group or space include:

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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