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MISSIONS

How to Keep the Flame Alive After Your Missions Trip is Over

By DELTA Ministries International

CBN.comThe “high” is common…as is the return to normalcy that all too often occurs. We’ve all seen it, whether it’s spending several months on the mission field or a week at summer camp, the euphoric excitement that permeates our minds as we experience being “on fire for God” so often dissipates when we return to our normal schedules, with our normal acquaintances, and our normal habits. How can we fight this return to routine? DELTA Ministries International has some suggestions.

Below are 20 semi-simple ideas we think will help you in your pursuit to inspire and invigorate your group after they’ve returned home from the mission field.  They are designed to integrate the group more effectively into the church body and to include them in the Great Commission on a more personal and meaningful level. Us all of them; use a few of them, change the order, and customize.  Let the Lord lead you in this great adventure.

Week #1 Live and Learn

On-Field Debriefing: Before the team heads home, have them answer questions relating to the mission in a group setting or in journal form. Some questions to answer could be: 1) Looking back at your experience what has God taught you? 2) What changes have occurred in my life (physically, socially, spiritually, etc)? 3) How has my understanding of people and culture deepened?

Week #2 Laugh and Cry

Post Field Debriefing: After the group gets home from the missions field, have a time of reflection and sharing. This can include drawing or writing stories or poems. Encourage them to talk about the good and the more difficult times abroad. This will further bond the group and will bring stories to the surface that may want to be shared with the church.

Week #3 Tell a Story

Report back to the church: Have a few of the more brave members of the team share with the church on Sunday. Share stories of how God is moving on their mission field, inside the group, and how this experience can be incorporated into the church body.

Week #4 Focus on People

Everyone can bring pictures of people from their lives and from the mission field. Put the pictures on a bulletin board. Each group member should attach a short explanation of who the photo is of, what makes that person special, and how that person has impacted that group member’s walk.

Week #5 Names Night

Team members can make name cards for each of the people on the mission experience who impacted their life (or who God touched through the team member). Put the cards on a board in your meeting. Take time to tell a short story about that person then pray for them.

Week #6 Potluck Party

Remember what dishes were served to the group over the duration of the missions trip. Have a potluck where each of the group members brings one of the dishes. This event can be in conjunction with a church potluck, giving the church body an understanding of the “out of the norm” experience the group had.

Week #7 Foto Friday

Everyone can bring extra trip pictures and make a photo album (in traditional or scrap book style). Send the album to your field host with an update and a ‘thank you’ to them for all that they did for your group.

Week #8 Big World

Find a cross cultural location, event or option within your own town or city. Have the group attend or volunteer their services. This could be at an ethnic Christian church, a soup kitchen, a garbage pickup for a neighborhood, a rescue mission, etc.

Week #9 Give ‘em a Break

Have the members of the group help with the nursery or in another church ministry. They can volunteer their services for a Sunday during service(s) to show their involvement and dedication to their home church family.

Week #10 Phone-Call Friday

Pre-arrange with your missionary host for a conference phone call. This may need to be at a unique time, depending on the time change for the location of your ministry. Have an outline for your phone call such as two testimonials. Know who is going to say a word of thanks and who is going to pray. Be sure to ask the missionary to share about how things are going there.

Week #11 Fast and Pray

Remind the group they have been away from the mission field for a few months now. Their hosts are still in the mission field doing their jobs for the Lord. Set aside a school lunch day where they’ll fast and meet in the library, on the lawn, etc. during their lunch period. They can pray for their hosts and the mission field and to whom they’re ministering.

Week #12 Favorite Friend

It’s probable that some of the group members made some special connections with individuals/families in the field. If it is feasible, write letters to the friends they made while on the missions field. This may be the beginning of a life long relationship! Note: letters may not be easily delivered in all areas of the world; e-mail may be a viable option. If the host missionaries’ address is the only one available, check with them to make sure they have time to translate/print/deliver these messages before burdening them with the task.

Week #13 Missions Team

Before the fire created by the missions trip dies down, present the idea of starting a Missions Prayer Team to the church. It can be a time when the youth gather and prays for missionaries and those who are unsaved around the world. Invite the congregation to join in praying. This bridges the gap between generations! (The time can be before regularly scheduled group time or at another more appropriate time.)

Week #14 “Thanks Giving” Letters 

Write “Thanksgiving” letters to the host missionaries. If the hosts aren’t from the United States, include a statement explaining the American custom of Thanksgiving Day. The letters may include things about the members’ lives that have happened after they got home and how the trip overall has changed/is changing their lives and/or their worldview.

Week #15 Tithe Time

The group members have given time to the missions field. Living for Christ involves more of our lives than our time and limited efforts. He requires all of us, including our time, efforts, and money, all of which belongs to Him in the first place. Bring up the idea of giving monetarily to missions (in your community and around the world) as a way of furthering the great commission of spreading God’s love.

Week #16 Home Mission 

Group leaders usually know of another group at a nearby church or in a nearby community. Contact that youth group and schedule a time for your group to visit them to share your recent experiences with them. The groups can compare missions experiences or invite them to go on a missions trip too. It’s a great way to spread excitement about the great commission!

Week #17 Mailing the Masses

Group members can take the time to write a note that can be included in their family’s Christmas Cards to be sent out. This is a great way for friends and family to know how they’ve been touching the world with God’s love. It may inspire them to be enthusiastic for the Lord!

Week #18 Adopt a Road

Coordinate with your local county office (or other agency that manages the roads in your area) to adopt a section of road in or near town. Adoption of a road usually entails a commitment of cleaning the roadsides on a frequent basis and should be the commitment of the group, not the leaders. Consider crediting your host missionary’s names or church name on the sign, if signs are available. Check your local governing agencies for more information.

Week #19 Christmas Greetings

Have the group get together and write letters to the host missionaries for Christmas. Include prayers written specifically for their mission field and for them individually. Include pictures of the mission trip and/or pictures of the group since returning home.

Week #20 Penny War

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, have a competition within the group between boys and girls. The main goal: to collect as many pennies as possible for the mission field they visited (as a Christmas gift to the missionaries’ ministry). The plan: have two coffee/pickle jars in the entrance way to the church with a sign up behind it. The sign explains how the boys and girls are competing to get more pennies than each other to win a sundae party or the prize of your/their choice.

 

DELTA Ministries International (DELTA) is an interdenominational evangelical organization specializing in short-term and mid-term missions that supports the ongoing work of local churches nationwide.  Since 1979, DELTA has trained and sent over 3000 individuals, from over 350 mission teams, to over 50 countries to help fulfill God’s Great Commission.


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