1. Mission Trips Bring People Together.
If you’ve ever been on a retreat or a serving opportunity before, you know how that experience can build community. Teenagers ride together, play together, eat together, stay up late together, get up tired together… “Together” is a powerful word. Students feel a deep sense of belonging and purpose while serving shoulder to shoulder with friends.
2. Mission Trips Broaden Perspectives.
Teenagers might be more connected than ever with what’s happening around the world, but more than likely they haven’t seen need first-hand up-front and personal. Pulling students from their typical context helps them understand that the world is larger than their daily lives would have them believe. By beginning to understand another setting, their own context comes into truer focus.
3. Mission Trips Challenge Comfort Zones.
Beyond broadening perspectives, mission trips demand that students participate. Painting a house, playing with kids, serving a meal, sleeping on an air mattress, experiencing a new culture – these are a few examples of ways comfort zones are crossed. But when coupled with intentional processing and times of connection with God, mission trips have the unique ability to challenge students’ comfortable perceptions of God and the world. Faith steps beyond the doors of the church and demands to be applied to real-world living.
4. Mission Trips Empower Students.
God is doing incredible work through the Church. The energy, authenticity, fresh perspective and passion teenagers bring are a vibrant part of what God is doing. Done well, mission trips help students take ownership and initiative. Eyes are opened. Passions are ignited. Possibilities are exposed. Pursuits begin. Mission trips help students see what they are capable of, hand and hand with God.
5. Mission Trips Create Sacred Space.
Ancient Israelites built monuments by throwing together big piles of rocks to point to later and say, “This signifies God’s goodness to our nation.” For many teenagers, mission trips represent a time and a place when God worked in and through their lives. More than a mere ‘mountain-top’ experience, these sacred spaces both anchor students in their faith and propel them forward in their relationship with God. Even in times of difficulty, teenagers often point back to their mission trip experience and say, “That signifies God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life.”