Planning a Mission Trip: Picking the Team

1. Handpick, don’t Cattle-call. It can be easy to overreact and panic when it comes to getting your team in place. But this is too important for the standard ministry call-out. Posting the need for adults to go on a mission trip in your weekly bulletin is probably going to lead to some awkward conversations later on. Start planning early enough that you can hand pick the people that you most want on the trip. By asking them early, you will have time to go to Plan B instead of just having to settle for whoever is “available.” 2. Recognize there are certain roles you need to fill with qualified people. On every trip, there will always be certain jobs that need a face to go with them. For instance, since we drive large buses to all of our destinations, I know that I will need at least 2 to 3 qualified, CDL licensed, passenger-endorsed bus drivers. Typically, you want someone who is very comfortable cooking for large groups to make your meals throughout the week as well. You may also need to identify key people who can help you complete the work projects that you will be doing. Write down the specific people that you need, and go get them! 3. Prioritize the people you want interacting with your students. Having the right adults on your trip can make a world of difference.  Often, I have more issues dealing with the adults on a trip than I do the students.  Prioritize the people you want to be with you on your mission trip, and go after them. My priority list always starts with my normal adult leaders.  Having these trusted leaders with you can stave off a lot of headaches.  Plus, it will give them great opportunities to connect on a deeper level with students.  Secondly, I go after the skilled leaders I need.  Maybe I need a bus driver, an electrician, a contractor, or someone who has experience with drywall.  Look for people who can meet a need, and make it clear to them that they have the skills you need for this trip.  Usually, when you show them they bring something valuable to the table, they are more likely to go.  Finally, I pursue parents or other great people that I know will do well with our students.  By prioritizing and communicating, you can have a great team in place quickly, which can help you avoid awkward conversations with people you don’t really want to come along. 4.  Don’t fear parents. I know parents can sometimes be a drain, and sometimes they can be very critical, but most parents want the exact same thing you do.  Most parents want their student’s life to be changed by the message of Christ.  If you truly want to partner with parents in ministry, consider taking a few of them along with you on your next trip.  It might be good to set a few guidelines before the trip, but with some clear communication, you might gain some great allies by bringing them along and letting them see your ministry up close. 5.  What “new” people is God putting before you? Sometimes, before a trip, I will be approached by someone I would have NEVER considered as a potential mission trip leader.  Before I turn them away, I commit to pray over it and think about how they might fit.  Sometimes, God may lay someone at your feet that you would have never picked on your own, but they end up being a great fit.  So don’t forget to be open to the Lord’s movement when it comes to picking your team. Setting the team can be one of the most important parts of planning a mission trip.  What challenges have you faced when getting your adult leaders in place?  What does your priority list look like?  Who do you seek out first?

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