5 Ways to Process & Celebrate Your Summer Trip

Ben Marshall
August 15th, 2019

Summer is coming to a close, and with the end of summer comes follow up from summer trips. These trips can be mission trips, service trips, camp trips, etc. Whatever the particular trip you and your group took, there will come an end to the trip and the question, “What now?”

Here are five easy ways to process and celebrate your summer trip:

1. Plan post-trip hangouts

The event has ended, but the experience doesn’t have to! Take the time, even before the trip, to plan hangouts that will happen after the trip. These could be as informal as a pool party at a team members house, inviting them to your house, or finding areas to serve together in your local community. These hangouts could even go online and be text groups or YouVersion Bible studies with friends and things of that nature. 

Get creative, but be strategic! 

2. Invite the rest of the group in

It’s obvious, that with most events, there will be people who aren’t able to go on the trip. This can happen through their decision, their parents, or just scheduling conflicts. Invite them into the experience. These students will miss out on the bonding of the team and relationships that have been formed, but invite them in to what you all learned and at least some of what you experienced. Hearing about it isn’t the same as being there, but it can be helpful in breaking down those mission trip/summer team “cliques” that can happen.

I would consider even making this invitation a regular part of the programming. We did this with students sharing testimonies because it was such a big part of the trip we went on this summer.

3. Celebrate while you’re still “on the ground”

The celebration of the trip can begin while you’re still there! Take a moment while you’re on the trip, if you’re able, to celebrate what has been happening in your group. Where have you seen God at work? Where have you seen spiritual growth and maturity? These can happen during the evening debriefs or, if you have a long return trip, on the way back home. Take the time to see what God is up to while you’re there and how you have already been able to experience Him.

4. Let the church know

It is a big deal to let the church know what has happened in the student ministry. There will be donors, prayers, and curious individuals who would enjoy hearing what happened. Consider sending out post-support letters to those who supported students, including pictures and a brief overview of what they did, a personal experience, and things of that nature to capitalize on the support that had been received.

If it’s a possibility, post to the church website or bulletin a big THANK YOU note to those who prayed and supported the student ministry on this trip.

5. Plan to return

One of the greatest ways to celebrate these trips is to plan to return. Relationships are built over time. Students begin to look forward to the trips more often, and those who have been on previous trips can be the biggest catalyst to new students coming on the trip. When the time to plan next summer’s trip rolls around, consider returning to the same place. There is power in relationship and even more amazing Gospel advancing work can happen through this type of investment.

A personal note: When you return from the trip, make sure you take the time to rest yourself! Everything will still be there waiting for you. Take a couple days and recuperate. You need it. 

Ben Marshall

Ben just recently became the Pastor of Student Ministries at Pathway Church in Beaver Falls, PA. He has a passion for discipling youth and young adults, helping them realize their God-given potential and developing next generation leaders. Ben is married to Connie and they have a two-year-old daughter, Aliya. Ben’s hobbies include kayaking, running, reading, playing guitar, soccer, and football. Follow him on Twitter @benmarshall3, Instagram @ben_marshall. If you want to continue the conversation or respond to what Ben has written, send him an email at bmarshall@lifeatpathway.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.