Mission Trips that Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World. By Don C. Richter. Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2008. Available from upper Room www.upperroom.org/bookstore and other book sellers.
Explores the purpose of a mission trip and highlights preparation and readiness for new experiences. Part II's chapter headings offer a hint of what is to come: Attentive Eyes, Attuned Ears, Sturdy Backs, Beautiful Feet, Open Hands, Courageous Lips, Conspiring Noses.
Getting Ready To Come Back: Advocacy Guide for Mission Teams. By Bread for the World. UCC is one of sponsoring partners in the creation of this resource through your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing©. Order from www.bread.org or 1.800.82.BREAD (800.822.7323) $10.00.
Helps short-term mission teams understand how political, social and economic systems contribute to hunger and poverty. The guide will support and encourage mission teams to engage in advocacy as informed Christian citizens upon their return home. The guide focuses on advocacy for international mission teams, but is very appropriate for use by short-term mission trips within the United States.
Deep Justice Journeys: Moving From Mission trips to Missional Living. By Kara E. Powell and Brad M. Griffin. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. Leader's Guide and Student Journal.
Useful resource for leaders and participants. The books emphasize reflection on the mission experience by creating space and structure for that reflection before, during and after the trip. From a chapter on "mentoring for justice" to the ending section on "ongoing transformation," the book offers tools and ideas for journeys into deep justice commitments. The Leader's Guide includes sections for parents called "More than checkbooks and chauffeurs" and for the congregation, "Your Church: More than Just isn't that Sweet ...?'
Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World. By David Livermore. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.
Great Resource for mission trip leaders seeking to equip themselves and their group with why and how to reach across the chasm of cultural difference in ways that are loving and respectful. This book is part of baker Academic's Youth, Family and Culture series seeking to raise the level of dialogue concerning how we think about, teach, and live our youth ministry. It's not only for youth ministry though.
Fighting Poverty with Faith is a nationwide, interfaith movement to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020. http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com/f2/about/what-is-fighting-poverty-with-faith/.
Resources for developing awareness of poverty and for taking action against it.
Merge: A Guidebook for Youth Service Trips. By Krista Dutt. Order from Mennonite Publishing Network: http://store.mpn.net/ or 800.245.7894.
Merge is written for use with youth groups participating in service trips. Through seven sessions of preparation, on-site reflection, and follow up, this guidebook offers step-by-step plans for each session with discussions, fun activities, and reproducible journal pages for youth to record their experiences and thoughts.
Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short Term Mission with Cultural Intelligence. By David Livermore. Ada, MI: Baker Books, 2006.
Highlights the importance of cultural intelligence in the context of mission trips. It is written for global cross-cultural encounters and is usable for internal U.S. cross-cultural contexts.
When God's People Travel Together: A Trip Leader's Planning Manual. By Debby D. Vial. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1999. Order from Presbyterian Distribution Service 800.524.2612 PDS #: 74-400-98-066.
The strength of this resource are the 'to do' checklists and sample leader forms and instruction. The book also includes reflections on definition of a mission trip and daily briefing and devotions ideas.
* On-Site Participation & Reflection:
Meeting God in the Ruins - Devotions for Disaster Relief Volunteers. By the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Available free by calling 800.328.4648 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
Disaster recovery mission trip groups are encouraged to make use of resource. It leads volunteers through the preparation of leaving, working at disaster sites and returning home. The 48-page guide was written for individual devotions, but reflection questions can also be used in group settings. Since disaster volunteers often work in poor areas, the guide also offers facts on poverty.
Mission Pilgrimage Journal: Seeing the Face of Christ in our Global Partners. By global Ministries of the UCC/Disciples of Christ. Available from United Church of Christ Resources www.ucc.org/ucc-resources or phone: 800.537.3394 Code: WCMPJ Mission Pilgrimage Journal.
Written particularly for participants in People-to-People Pilgrimages through UCC/Disciples Global Ministries, this booklet prompts reflection on the short-term mission experience with Bible passages, prayers and questions that are important within the United States as well as around the globe. It helps embody the local-global connections of mission.
Halos and Hammers Handbook "Organizing Your Toolbelt" Section. United Church of Christ, Southbury, CT.
Your Local Home Improvements Store - For Building Skills Preparation. Attend trainings on specific construction/building/repair techniques offered at your local home improvement store. Or invite experienced home contractor to teach the group basic or advanced building skills.
* Follow-Up Action:
Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Advocacy Toolkit
"This toolkit is designed to encourage local community interfaith groups to advocate governments, religious groups, nongovernmental agencies, corporations, labor groups, foundation and individuals to develop the will to make changed and to seek to end poverty by providing adequate shelter for all people."
Public Policy Briefing Book, 2013 -2014. Wider Church Ministries/Justice and Witness Ministries, UCC. Download copy from www.ucc.org/justice/uccbriefingbook or contact 866.822.8224 ext. 3725 to place an order for a printed copy.
Section 1: Advocacy 101 addresses a biblical call to advocacy, developing an advocacy strategy, engaging in effective policy advocacy, media advocacy tips, and getting involved through the Justice and Peace Action network (JPANet). http://www.ucc.org/justice/join-the-network.
Remaining Faithful: How do I keep My Experience Alive? A manual for Reflection, Integration and Prayer after a Short-Term Experience in another Culture. By Julie Lupien and Michelle Scheidt, Longmont, Colorado: From Mission to Mission, 2006. Available from Mission to Mission.
Questions and reflection starters for use after returning home. Includes a list of websites helpful for further action, justice and mission. Can be used as a group or as individuals.
Youth Advocacy Toolkit. By Habitat for Humanity.
This toolkit demonstrates the interrelationship of mission and advocacy. "Effective advocacy comes in many forms. Ultimately, by changing the public's understanding of an issue and its solutions, advocacy can lead to a more just World." (p.6) It's suggested advocacy events and strategies relate particularly to Habitat for Humanity and safe, decent, affordable housing, but can be adapted and utilized for mission and advocacy around other issues and organizations as well.
Suggestions for Storytelling
- Put a human face and three-dimensional life on issues encountered. relay the stories and concerns you heard directly from the people you met. tell of your personal experiences, learnings, inspirations.
- Be intentional in your language, so as to not cause your listeners to be defensive and to keep their attention. Do not report everything that was said or done. refrain from stating generalizations. Use language that expresses your personal connection to the concerns or injustices witnessed.
- Do not be discouraged! People at home have not had the same experience. Know that you have a valuable and unique experience to share. You never know who could make connections with their own similar previous experience and be influenced for later action. Telling the story makes a huge difference for those you met during your trip that would otherwise have no voice!
- Be an organizer yourself! With your stories, draw connections between what you observed in your mission trip setting and the reality of the community in which you live. Get involved in your community and help organize opportunities for others to interact with and serve with people affected by these same issues.
- Share Your Story - Some ideas
- Participate in worship leadership at your church. Preach the sermon; write the liturgy; compose songs; create banners ... soon after you return home, and 3 months later.
- Plan a gathering with family and friends. Share your photos and experiences.
- Show a relevant DVD to friend and relatives, church groups, student groups, etc., and facilitate a conversation about the issues you encountered. Have information available about the cultures, social and economic issues effecting people in your mission trip setting. Provide opportunities for conversation and dialogue.
- Do a presentation for a larger community group, rotary club, church congregation, or other group you may have a connection to.
- Determine a format for the event then put together a PowerPoint presentation, slide show, or panel discussion, if possible. A compelling presentation will engage your participants.
- Organize a teach-in. Partner with local organizations or activists involved with the issue to provide an educational event for the public.
- Write a Letter to the Editor. Tie your letter into a recent story in your local newspaper. Your letter has a better chance of being selected for publication if it is a response to a recent story or issue. Limit your letter to 150-200 words and keep in mind that the editors may shorten it due to space limitations. Lead with the most important information and then write in short paragraphs, focusing on one main issue. Read other Letters to the Editor to get a sense of how letters are structured. Include your full name, address, phone number and e-mail at the tope of the page and sign the letter at the bottom. The paper will need to verify via phone or email. Follow up to see if the letter was received.
- Write an article. Write an article about your experience and submit it to magazines that focus on the issues you are addressing in your article. Keep your story at 800 words or less unless the style guidelines say otherwise. You can always go back and expand.
- Plan your next mission trip. Get others involved.