If you missed the first article, you can find it here. Today, I’m going to touch on step 3 & 4 in better communicating mission trip opportunities. This week I’m going through each of these steps as I prepare for our student missions information meeting with parents December 5th.
1. Get your ducks in a row.
2. Set a date
3. Have the meeting
- Once you’ve got everything together for the meeting and you’ve finished your booklet, go ahead and have the meeting. As the meeting approaches, study what you’re going to be talking about. I know this goes without saying, but you won’t believe the times that I’ve let my pride get in the way of effectively communicating to parents. 10 times out of 10 when that has happened, it’s been because I assumed I knew the details of what I was going to talk about. You only get once chance with these parents to set the tone for the mission trips, use it effectively and wisely–STUDY.
- Here is what I suggest for the order of the meeting:
Why you are taking mission trips
Overview of the mission trips
The desired “end result”
Question & Answers
- Make sure you point out the application and let them know that you’d like them to take it home, talk it over as a family/pray, and then fill it out. What you want to avoid, as much as possible, are students filling out applications while you’re talking. Explain that they need to be more intentional about whether they go on the trip or not.
- This is the easiest step to forget. Remember to follow-up with students after they turn in their applications. In the past, it’s been really easy for me to get their application, glance over it, and accept them to the team. That habit has only hurt the team once on-field. Not every application you get should be approved. Read over the applications, pray about them, and CALL THE STUDENT to see why they want to go. I promise you won’t regret it!
It’s not a secret if you read my blog that we have a pretty structured way of doing student missions. It works for us and has been pretty successful in discipling students in global awareness and action. All of that being said, I realize that you probably don’t do student missions the way CSM does them. Regardless of our approach, we still have to communicate with parents about opportunities. My challenge is this…how do we communicate that missions is more than just signing up for a trip in hope of doing something cool and marking an item off of your Christian to-do list? Having a missions strategy is important, but I believe these tips can help any ministry who is planning a mission trip.
1. Get all your ducks in a row.
- What I mean by this is that you need to make sure you know all of the details you can BEFORE announcing the trip(s) to your students/parents. Email, call, text, look up online, etc any details you can about the trip. This makes you more prepared, but it also builds trust with potential trip parents.
- Once you have a good grasp of the details, make a folder (on your computer or physically) and put all of that information in it! This sounds stupid, but I’ve lost emails, links, and papers with critical details before.
2. Set a date
- By now, you should know the dates of your trips. If you don’t, get to work on that! Once you get that figured out, look at your calendar and set a date to meet with all the parents and students in your ministry. We call these “Parent/Student Informational Meetings.” You’ll use this meeting to communicate to any potential team members/leaders about trip details, costs, what you’ll be doing, etc. I’ve found it is best if you have a meeting like these as opposed to just posting the info online or in an email. Parents/Students ALWAYS respond better when you’re talking face-to-face. This also helps build trust in your ability to take their kids on a mission trip.
- As a side note, realize that for parents, mission trips are viewed as a little more “dangerous” than a ski trip or whatever. Even if you’ve been taking your students on these types of trips for years, parents will view a mission trip differently. Take the time needed to build trust with parents. If they don’t trust you, they won’t let their kid go on a trip no matter the cost, need, and coolness.
- At this meeting, you’ll want to give out a booklet or informational packet so they can write notes during your meeting and take the information home. Include all the basic stuff that you would want to know if your kid was going. [Download a sample] You might not know what you’ll be doing exactly (that is normal), but give some sort of description about trip activities. I include a application with this packet. [Download our summer 2010 application here]
Tomorrow I’ll post steps 3 & 4. Feel free to use any of our info to benefit your ministry. If you have photoshop and need the PSD file of the info poster, I’ll be more than happy to send that to you. Comment with your email address and I’ll get back to you. Thanks!
Each year our students have the opportunity to participate in three mission trips designed to progressively introduce them to missions. I believe that students should have an awareness of global conditions and have a safe environment to “learn” how to serve and share their faith. The ministry I serve in provides four levels of mission involvement. Feel free to copy this system and look for more details as I blog our progress with 2011 trips.
101- Local service projects
201- A work trip somewhere in America
301- An evangelism centered trip in Latin America
401- An evangelism centered trip somewhere in the world
For our students to progress to the next level, they must have successfully completed the previous level. Our 201-401 levels require monthly team meetings and training. My goal is to give each student the opportunity to experience four mission trip opportunities before they graduate. This year we’re going to 201 Milligan College, TN (with CIY Know Sweat, middle school), 201 New Orleans (high school), and 401 Japan (high school). 301 & 401 team members are required to support raise…a.k.a. their parents can’t pay the entire amount.
I realize that this system won’t work for everyone, but we’re in a fourth year and we’re experiencing huge growth over previous years. Let me know your thoughts…
Our student missions ministry is getting ready to launch our first team fundraiser on March 1st. We’re making our own spin of that other popular dancing show on ABC. We already have our senior minister, several other ministers, and a couple members gearing up to dance. It should be a blast! It’ll be fun to watch them “dance for dollars.”
As we ramp up our mission trip season, I’m looking for creative ways to leverage the internet/fundraising. Being a former missionary/trainer of fundraising techniques, I’m pretty “set” in proper ways to fundraise. However, I’m always looking for new ideas. One way that I’ve recently discovered as been a group called CafePress. I’ve used them in the past and their products are great. I created a graphic that would symbolize where we are going, created a store with CafePress.com, uploaded my image, chose the items I wanted it to appear on, and BAM! We’re fundraising with special clothing items.
In my opinion, here are some advantages to this approach:
1. I don’t have to buy a bunch of shirts and mess with sizes.
2. I don’t have to mess with any money or shipping.
3. The buyer can choose their product.
4. The store is international.
5. CafePress takes care of creating a storefront, site design, etc.
6. The buyer gets something for their donation!