Mission Trip Opportunities 2017
“Catch the Service Bug,”
This video resource debuted during the UCC’s National Youth Event in July 2016 is a companion to this list of host sites of UCC Mission Trip Opportunities. During workshops at NYE, leaders of youth- adults and youth themselves- shared questions and ideas for leading youth groups in mission trips. Experienced group leaders nodded as the recorded interview between myself and Nate Taylor, Youth Minister at Avon Lake, OH UCC was shown, with knowing looks or smiles of inspiration crossing faces as each recalled their own experience of the topic. New mission trip leaders found collaborators and encouragers for embarking on their own adventures of mission trip leadership. The wisdom of those with experience – your life will never be the same again. In the recorded interview that is this new training resource, Nate calls it “catching the service bug.”
“Catch the Service Bug” highlights the importance of adults for a youth mission trip. It offers experiences to help in training, orienting, encouraging and celebrating the adult leaders of youth mission trips. If you have never led a mission trip before – check this out. You are not alone. If you are experienced in mission trip leadership – new ideas may await. Reflections from past youth, presented in another new resource of 2016, Alan Kobs’ The Fruits of Our Labor: Creating Meaningful Workcamps and Mission Trip Ministry, reinforce these highlights.
- Adult Leaders as the Magic Makers “You were heartened together miles and miles away, having incredible conversations.” [Patrick Harley in The Fruits of Our Labor]
- Accomplish Something Big – Walk Alongside Each Other “The people we worked for, they gave a name, a face, and a real story , to what were formerly just abstract concepts to me.” [Greg Kausch in The Fruits of Our Labor]
- Do Life Together. Adopt practices of Sempra Gumby (Always Flexible), Embrace the Awkwardness, and the Power of Breaking Bread Together [ Nate Taylor, Avon Lake UCC]
Impact Lives in Ways You Will Never Know “I realize I can’t solve the world’s problems. But I know that I can make a difference because I’ve done it before.” [Amy Prugh Stumpfl in The Fruits of our Labor]
Get on the Same Page – The How Tos. . . “Every kid has the opportunity to add to the story. There are a hundred different kids having a hundred different experiences” [Nate Taylor]
- Called to Serve this World in a New Way – Mission Trip Follow up and Advocacy “You can become an advocate for people living in your host area. You can commit to advocacy with God, with your community, with the public, in the marketplace and with your nation’s decision-makers.” [Bread for the World, Getting Ready to Come Back]
So, “Catch the Service Bug.” You can make a difference in the lives of people who host you and in the youth who travel with you. Indeed, your life – nor theirs - will ever be the same again.
Mary Schaller Blaufuss, UCC national setting Team Leader,
UCC OGHS ministries (disaster, development, refugees) and UCC Volunteer MinistriesHow