United Church of Christ

Mission Trip Resources


THE TRANSFORMATIVE MISSION TRIP EXPERIENCE

Use these resources to promote preparation, reflection, and advocacy.

 

Mission Trip Leaders Training Resources

“Catch the Service Bug:  Preparing for your Mission Trip with Youth”  Leaders’ video in 6 segments


Preparation:

THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR:  CREATING MEANINGFUL WORK CAMP & MISSION TRIP MINISTRYBy Alan J. Kobs..  Lincoln:  Hungry Beggar Press, 2016.
Recounts inspirational stories of people impacted by their participation in youth mission trips and shares practical ideas for the planning of those trips.  Kobs emphasizes a model that trusts youth to be a strategic part of the planning process with the importance of small group reflection during the experience.  The latter part of the book has instructions for organization of the work camp.


R.E.A.D.Y.! REVOLUTIONARY, ENGAGED AND DRIVEN YOUTH. GLOBAL MINISTRIES  Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples).
A four-session online youth curriculum and leaders guide. Challenging stereotypes and prejudices; Recognizing God in all religious traditions; Discovering differences and similarities to people in different cultures; Realizing God's mission requires a constantly evolving worldview.

R.E.A.C.H.  RENEWING, ENGAGING AND ADVOCATING CHURCHES   GLOBAL MINISTRIES  (UCC/Disciples)
This three-part adult curriculum expands an understanding of God and the world we share.
Sections:  Renewing our understanding of mission today; Engaging God in all religious traditions; Advocating for a world where all of creation can share in God’s abundant life.

MISSION TRIPS THAT MATTEREmbodied Faith for the Sake of the World.  By Don C. Richter. Nashville:  Upper Room Books, 2008.  
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.  

HALOS AND HAMMERS HANDBOOK:  Where Faith Meets the Road Southbury UCC, CT.

CONSTRUCTION SKILLS PREPARATION. Attend trainings on specific construction/building/repair techniques offered at your local home improvement store.  Or invite an experienced home contractor to teach the group basic or advanced building skills.



On-Site Participation & Reflection:

Deep Justice Journeys:  Moving from Mission Trips to Missional Living.  By Kara E. Powell and Brad M. Griffin.  Fuller Youth Institute. Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2009.   Student Journal and Leader's Guide with 50 activities.

Meeting God in the Ruins - Devotions for Disaster Relief Volunteers.  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 preparations 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.

Getting Ready to Come Back:  Advocacy Guide for Mission Teams.  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.

Follow-Up Action:

UCC Justice Advocacy Resources   
Sign up for publications with background information and for curriculums on specific issues.  Access Faith-Based Advocacy Basics.

Join the Justice and Peace Action Network (JPANet) 
JPANet is a UCC electronic grassroots advocacy network. It's composed of individual members and local UCC congregations across the country.  JPANet both educates and engages its members in shaping public policy in keeping with God's vision of a just and loving society. 

Habitat for Humanity:  Advocacy Get Involved
Rules and regulations about land and building have a major effect on access to housing. In places where there are smart policies in place, there is more access to decent housing. In other places where there are uniformed policies and systems, there can be barriers that make it difficult for people to find land for construction, build the home itself or be able to afford a place to live.

Habitat for Humanity:  Interfaith Toolkit
This toolkit is designed to encourage local community interfaith groups to advocate governments, religious groups, nongovernmental agencies, corporations, labor groups, foundations and individuals to develop the will to make changes and to seek to end poverty by providing adequate shelter for all people.”


ADVOCACY TAKES MANY FORMS

(from Bread for the World, Getting Ready to Come Back)
Advocate with God, with your community, with the public, in the market, and in the political arena.

Prayer
Advocacy is often inherent in prayer whenever requests for comfort, peace, or understanding are voiced. Advocate through prayer by placing your concerns, your demands, and your pursuit of justice before God. You can also organize prayer vigils and invite neighbors, religious leaders, or the local media to make an even greater impact.

Advocacy with Your Community
You have many stories to tell. Turn to your immediate community, families, friends, and neighbors, to share these stories, your thoughts, and your reflections. This can be done via emails or blogs. It can also take place from the pulpit, in Sunday school rooms, or informal gatherings with colleagues and confidants. In educational contexts, there may be student groups devoted to similar advocacy goals; feel free to join these organizations or create one of your own.

Advocacy with the Public
Expand your community by writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. A personal letter expressing your opinion may open unexpected doorways and further your goals. Remain active on social media, create signs or protest when necessary. These are all public ways of advocating for an issue and discovering new partners devoted to similar objectives.

Advocacy in the Marketplace
The way we spend our money has profound implications. We advocate by choosing to support certain companies and/or boycott others. Purchasing Fair Trade items is one way to support local economies and avoid oppressive trade deals. You can also write letters to major companies and corporations to protest or support specific issues. Market advocacy encompasses intentional decisions to live more simply. The money saved when choosing not to purchase unneeded items can be donated to a worthy cause.

Advocacy in the Political Arena
Visit your elected officials and tell them your stories. By calling, writing, or visiting members of Congress, you can effect policy change both here and abroad. To call Congress, dial (202)224-3121.  To find out who represents you in the United States Congress, visit www.house.gov or www.senate.gov. You may also wish to sign petitions or write letters.