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:
- A blessing for youth leaders nurturing faith beyond youth group
- 8 ways to help mission teams conclude more than “poor people are happy”
- The fantasy youth ministry candidate
- What students need most when they’re stuck spiritually
- The tearing of the curtain
- How do you not hate them?
- Messy Ashes
- What it means to be a Bradbury
- The (false) unity of 9-12
- Notes from the pandemic: The plight of young (unvaccinated) children & their parents