NYWC Exhibitor Spotlight: Experience Mission
At Experience Mission we’ve brought thousands of youth on mission trips, and we’re honored to partner with youth pastors to lead students along their faith journey. We’ve learned from both our successes and failures, and we’re constantly thinking about how to do missions better. As youth leaders start planning next year’s mission trips, we’d like to share our thoughts on 5 Common Mission Trip Objectives:
Serving may be more than just working hard to finish a project. It could mean taking a break when you would rather get the job done. We’ve seen local people make hot coffee for volunteers in the middle of the workday. A steaming cup of coffee may be the last thing we want on a sweltering summer day, but it’s their way of saying “thank you.” Stopping and accepting the coffee—the best thing they have to offer—dignifies and builds them up. Serving is being willing to lay aside our personal desires to do what is needed.
Volunteers may think they’ve come to serve the poor and it’s just an added bonus if they make new friends, but we’re convinced that building meaningful relationships should be more than an afterthought—it’s the main point. Mission trips offer a unique opportunity to connect both with your teammates and people from another culture. The practical work you do won’t last forever, but the impact you have on others and the impact they have on you just might.
We believe we’re not doing volunteers any favors by telling them they’re the saviors when they’re not. They are learners on a mission to serve and partner with people from another culture. Mission trips are an opportunity to direct youth toward expanding their faith through new and challenging experiences. A mission trip could be the first step toward a pattern of learning and growth that continues for the rest of their lives.
The reality is mission trips are hard. It can be tempting to oversell the fun aspect of a trip to get youth to go, but volunteers are challenged, uncomfortable and sometimes even bored (because, let’s face it, waiting around without a smartphone now qualifies as bored). But discomfort, exhaustion, boredom…this is all part of what it means to serve. Mission trips are a perfect opportunity for youth to learn that the most meaningful experiences in life require sacrifice.
We often tell youth volunteers, “We’re not on vacation; we’re here to work.” While this may be true, we may be defining our mission too narrowly. Sometimes a trip to the beach with your translators or an impromptu soccer game is the key to cementing meaningful friendships. If mission trips are about relationships, then having fun is part of the mission.
We invite you to join us on this mission.
Register for a MISSION TRIP at EXPERIENCEMISSION.ORG/MISSIONTRIPS.
Download Missions Training Resources at EXPERIENCEMISSION.ORG/RESOURCES.
Come say hello at the Experience Mission booth at NYWC Louisville!
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.