It's amazing how God often uses short-term trips to be a catalyst for someone's missional lifestyle. And we know you want your participants to view a short-term trip as more than just earning a merit badge, but rather something that impacts the way they live their life. We agree!
We believe short-term trips are a gateway to someone’s heart taking in a rich meal of vision, purpose, and even calling.
But this is also a very challenging task when this isn’t modeled well many places. It takes time and there aren’t many tools and resources available. No problem! Let’s talk about what you can be doing to plant deeper seeds of purpose in someone’s heart.
#1 Make it an objective. It starts by making it an objective of your church or organization to move people from a “one and done” mindset to seeing missions as a part of their life.
#2 Talk about it. This is super simple, but take the time to talk to your trip participants once they are back to explain how to take a next step and give them tangible ways to do that immediately. If they don’t know what to do next, then they most likely won’t take any action. As a leader, be sure you're communicating well. For example, be sure you're setting proper expectations before, during, and after missions trips.
#3 Train your Team Leaders. Your team leaders are your advocates for your mission and vision...and spend the most time with your participants. Make sure to train them so they are guiding participants into a perspective that this is more than a single short term trip but an opportunity for a lifetime of mission work.
#4 Debrief the day and the trip. Take advantage of great debrief questions to help shape each experience into a step for what’s next.
#5 Capture stories. Stories are powerful ways for sharing your vision, but also powerful ways for your participants to unpack what’s going on in their lives and share it with others.
#6 Journal. Similar to sharing stories, journaling helps us internally process our experiences and gives us time to work out what the Lord might be calling us to do next.
#7 Missional.Life. Have your participants complete a free Missional.Life profile where they can build a plan for mission engagement, invite in family and friends, and post stories, prayers, and goals. It’s free and it’s extremely powerful for helping people see it’s more than a single event.
#8 Training resources. Point participants to great resources like Perspectives, missionary biographies, and other training materials. We have tons of resources and support here.
#9 Sign up for another trip. Take the momentum of the current experience and invite them into signing up for another trip or even more, signing up for a longer trip somewhere to get a deeper experience.
Andy Stanley once said, “think steps, not programs” as he presented guiding principles for his organization. We agree. Short-term trips are steps toward a greater goal, not an end in themselves. And your calling is to guide people into a lifestyle of mission with countless engagement points.
Action: Have a conversation with two (2) key staff members about how to engage participants within the first week/ month after they return from a trip. Have your team members create a Missional.Life profile at https://missional.life
This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact.
This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.