I was reading Tim’s blog the other day, and he said that he had never done a missions trip with a missions organization.
I think Tim gives some valid points about not using a missions organization, and I also think there are some good points for using a missions organization to organize your mission trip.
I’ve had the chance to lead countless short term teams during our time in Mexico (and before), so here are my thoughts on the subject.
Advantages of Taking a Missions Trip with a Missions Organization
- Lasting ministry by partnering with someone who’s “on the ground.” I know you can do this on your own, if you have the right contacts, but missions organizations spend a lot of time developing relationships with the national ministries with whom you’ll be working, allowing your two week ministry to have a lasting impact with less work for you.
- Short term trip fits into a long term strategy. Two weeks in a foreign country will do more for your students than it will for the local ministry. But, we should expect our time on a mission trip to play a part in a longer-term strategy. That’s where a missions organization comes into play.
Our strategy with YMI is to allow short term teams (called Quest Teams) to model youth ministry so that the local churches will invite us to train youth workers for their churches.
- Safety from working with an organization that knows the territory. The missions organization can help take care of insurance and help alleviate other safety issues that you might not be aware of in the region where you are going.
- Administration hassles are handled by someone else, giving you more time to minister to your students. I’m usually the guy at the missions organization doing most of the ground work such as keeping track of finances, deciding where to get food, details about lodging, and many, many other details. The youth pastor definitely gets to give his opinion and input, but he doesn’t have to worry about that stuff because the missions organization takes care of it for him.
- Quality experiences for all involved. This can happen if you plan your own mission experience or if you go with an organization. The point is to be involved in missions and give students an experience with missions that will impact them for eternity.
(image by: JPhilipson on Flickr)