Every summer that I have been a Youth Pastor has included a summer mission trip. These trips have been to a variety of locations and have served a variety of purposes. Below are four goals of student summer mission trips:
- That the students would know Jesus more as a result of serving on this trip. We want the week that the students are serving to be a monumental week that marks spiritual growth in their own lives. Many people return from mission trips with comments about how their aim was to serve others when really they were the ones who were changed. Mission Trips are unique opportunities for spiritual growth.
- That the students would see the other fifty one weeks of their year differently because of the one week that they served on this trip. Serving God for one week over the summer is important. However, serving God for the other 51 weeks is also important. We want mission trips to teach students that they are capable of serving God in their normal and routine weeks which usually include school, sports or other activities, and time with friends and family. Maybe this one week away can open the eyes of the students so that they can realize the potential of following God during the other 51 weeks.
- That the mission work would encourage what God is doing somewhere (other missionaries). In my opinion, one value of mission trips is to encourage other missionary partners that our churches are already supporting. This can remind the missionaries that we care about them beyond just giving them money. It can also grow the relational bond between the missionaries and the church, which can have positive effects for years into the future.
- That the students on the trip will grow together relationally. We want our students to grow closer together as they serve God. This can have lasting effects on our youth ministries and, similar to another point listed above, should help our youth ministry culture during the other 51 weeks of the year.