I belong to a Disciples of Christ youth leader yahoo group and lately we've been engaging in a great discussion on mission trips. Rob, one of the members of the group, shared with us his general strategy for offering mission opportunities to the youth:
We have begun a four-year rotation of Mission Trips here at our church for our high school youth: a. Year One = F.A.S.T. (or similar Appalachian- type trip) b. Year Two = Disaster Relief Trip (Gulf Coast hurricane relief work, etc.) c. Year Three = Local Trip (we serve as the host site for smaller churches to come here for their mission trip. Our youth plan the whole thing - from work projects, to meals, to t-shirts and supplies) d. Year Four = National Trip
I am particularly intrigued by this idea of involving youth in hosting other groups who have come to do mission work in their area. Rob goes on to explain:
The "Local Trip" actually doubles as another small "fundraiser" in preparation for our National Trip. Since we are hosting the event, we charge a small registration fee to help offset our costs and then most of the meals are donated by our CWF and CMF [women and men's]
groups. We call our local trip "DAWG" (Disciples At Work for God) - and we made t-shirts & everything. This summer, our Chi Rho [middle school] group is going to host a weekend version of this mission trip and they are calling it "Puppy DAWG."
What a great idea for involving youth in hands-on mission that happens right in their backyard, plus offering them a chance to engage in the spiritual practice of hospitality.Note: For those of you planning to send your youth off on mission in the coming weeks/month, check out this nice responsive reading which would be great for a commissioning service.