10 questions to help parents decide whether or not their child is ready for an international mission trip

This year my youth ministry is offering two summer mission trips: A domestic trip to a nearby town (that we offer every other year) and an international trip to Haiti.

Some of our families do both trips but others choose only one. We know this. In fact, we say outright that the international trip might not be the right fit for every student in our ministry for a variety of reasons. Whenever a parent asks me whether or not I think their student should participate in our international trip, I ask them these 10 questions:

1. Has your teen been on a mission trip before? I sometimes require this for international trips. Why? Because previous mission trip experiences enable teens to have an understanding of what to expect; they also give them a framework for the experience they’re about to have.

2. Does your teen take their faith seriously? It’s okay for mission trip participants to be in different places in their faith. However, they have to take it seriously. They have to know that everything you do will be tied to faith. They have to be willing to grow in their faith and to share it with others.

3. Are you and your teen willing to make the commitment necessary to prepare for this trip? International mission trips require preparation – spiritual, cultural, financial, and team-building. If you’re not willing to commit to being all-in, then an international mission trip may not be the right fit for you.

4. Does your teenager enjoy traveling? To go on an international mission trip, a teenager need not have extensive travel experience. However, to flourish on an international mission trip, they should enjoy traveling.

5. How well does your teen do away from home? Some teens suffer from a great deal of anxiety whenever they’re away from their parents or home for an extended period of time. Teens who thrive on an international mission trip will be able to get by with limited (if any) contact from their parents (or family).

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

Order Now

Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

Order Now

The Real Jesus

Order Now

The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

Order Now




Recent Posts