How to Keep the Flame Alive After Your Missions
Trip is Over
By DELTA Ministries International
The “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
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
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
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.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.