Youth On Missions Guidelines For Leaders
Set Up Check-List
I. Set Up – Trip Organization
A. Secure a Date: Start here – Maybe have some date options to offer the missionary.
• When would it be best to go
• Consider your participants – School, College, jobs, etc.
• How long should you go? Be sure you are including travel days.
• How long should you stay? The key is to stay long enough but not so long that they will become home sick or bored. If you do not keep them busy, they will keep you busy by their mischief.
• If this is your first trips, it’s recommended a shorter trip. Longer trips require more funds and more planning. You need to fill the days with activities. Keep them busy! I can’t emphasize this enough.
B. Secure location – what countries (y) will you be going to go.
• You will need a good missionary who will communicate well with you on this and get you information in a timely manner.
• Your ground crew (Missionaries or contacts on location) will be the most important factor to making or breaking your trip!!!
• To find a good location, check with Foreign Missions Division, ask them for suggestions and maybe the Regional Director in that area. Ask for contact information to be able to communicate directly with the missionaries themselves.
• Get clearance from all appropriate departments and leaders.
• You may ask to see if other trips have gone there, so you may already get a feel for the trip and what to do. Contact the leader from those other trips and get their feedback and advice. Sometimes a missionary may think the group enjoyed a particular activity, and the group feel totally different about it.
C. Set up Activities you will be doing while there:
• Coordinate with the missionary – Tell them what you are wanting your focus to be: Church services, street services, personal evangelism, crusades, youth conferences, camp meetings, conferences, construction trips, medical missions trips, etc.
• It is strongly recommended that you balance your activities with recreational or sightseeing activities. You want to give your travelers a well rounded experience and also enjoy the country you will be going to.
D. Start listing your possible helpers. You must have adequate chaperones / include peer chaperones in the list. Be sure they are people that are willing to work with you and follow instructions. Not people trying to do their own thing. This is very important. Sometimes, a close friend may not be your best choice. (Please consider this in your pricing: See II. B. a.)
A. Airfare –
• Find a reputable company that will help you acquire group pricing
• You must have at least 10 people to have a group.
• Be sure you understand the contract –
• What are your terms, what are your deposits?
• When are the due dates for deposits and final payments?
• Will they allow name changes?
• How many name changes (percentage) will they allow?
• Up to when are you allowed to do name changes or cancel the contract?
• You need to ask if there are any free tickets (Usually you start getting free tickets at around 15 people.
• Depending on the airline and the contract.
• They are doing this less and less – but it’s worth the try.
• Free tickets may still mean you must pay for taxes and surcharges. So, remember to add this when you’re figuring your costs.
• If they do offer free tickets with your contract, that will bring your overall prices down for the whole group.
• Before setting the price – you need to add some extra for other expenses – such as supplies, medicines (see later), cover the costs of the missionary expenses.
• You will also be required to put down deposits on the hotels, buses and airfare. You will need to collect the funds far enough in advance to cover all these – read your contracts, otherwise you will need to front the money.
B. Hotels –
• It’s recommended you get (preferably) 4 people per room –
• You will get cheaper prices, (dividing the room by 4 people).
• Another reason you would want a room for at least 4 people is you will want a “peer counselor” in each room (this is a young person on the trip who is older/mature, who will answer to you for the activities in their room). It’s always good to know the young people that are mature enough and responsible enough that can be a part of your team.
• You need to come up with a cost per person per night.
• Sometimes you will be using many hotels – so be sure you’re figuring all the correct amounts and rooms/rooming in your figures.
C. Bus / ground transportation:
• Good clean buses, safe and secure drivers.
• Be sure you have the number of passengers the bus can handle
• You may chose a smaller bus or double vans or a large bus.
• To figure on costs – how many per bus – how much per person.
• If you are using vans, remember you will need van drivers.
• Please collect a tip from the group before you leave – you may also bring the drivers some gifts down with you. Usually you will be assigned one driver for the whole trip – so you will bond with them and the kids will too. Please interact with them. You want them to be your friend! They can make or break a trip for you!
D. When pricing the buses/seats, you also must add into the cost – the bus drivers / missionaries that may be added costs involved.
• For example, depending on your trip, if you are traveling overnight to other locations, you will need to add hotel space / cost for driver(s) and missionaries.
• NOTICE: Always be sure the missionaries are not paying for things out of their pocket to help you with your group!
• That includes: Food, gas, hotel, meals, etc.
• You want to cover ALL their expenses – and sometimes they have made expenses before you even arrived on location!
• Yes you will be a blessing but they need to keep their personal budget for the missionary assignments they are on – that didn’t include your tour.
E. I do not include meals in my pricing. I used to and it became too complicated. Trust me – just tell them how much they will need for food – overestimate, they can always use the extra cash for souvenirs, but let them manage their own funds for this.
• You will find the food courts at malls are your best and fastest way to feed them.
• There will be times you will need to eat at a restaurant – a set menu is best and collect all the monies on the bus before you arrive at the restaurant.
• Be sure to include the tips.
• Tips overseas are only 10% in most countries.
• Sometimes they already include it in the group meal price.
III. OTHER ITEMS TO TAKE / PLAN
A. Have someone in the group be in charge of security on the team.
• Usually an older youth or adult whose job is to always be on the lookout for any suspicious situation or person(s).
• I try to get two or three on our tours. One in charge of them.
• Anytime you are getting on and off the bus, or walking down the streets, or in the malls
B. Appoint someone to be your LUGGAGE personnel.
• They will be in charge of loading/unloading luggage.
• THEY ARE NOT TO DO THIS ON THEIR OWN… OR BY THEMSELVES…
• They are just to make sure all the luggage gets packed / fits in the bus – off the bus.
• And be sure the team brings down their luggage on time.
• You will want about 2 to 4 people on this team.
C. Bring Walkie-talkies for the team leaders. Rechargeable are best.
D. Have some way to identify your luggage – bright tape works good… so all your luggage is identifiable easily when you are at the airport.
• It helps in case someone walks off with someone’s personal luggage… you can see the id/identifyers and catch anyone trying to steal them.
• Everyone needs to be watching out for each other’s belongings!
• It’s easy in a group to get distracted and when you’re distracted you attract the wrong types of people who would want to take advantage of your vulnerability.
• We also use bright sticky dots too, all over the suitcases. Just as another added identifier.
E. Be sure to find out if you need shots where you are going
F. Be sure to find out if you need visa’s where you are going. You will have to get these from the embassies or the consulate offices of said country you are planning to go to.
G. Passports, etc:
• Number their passports with a sticker on the back… easier to keep track.
• You will want to collect and keep their passports with you so they don’t lose them.
• Have them make 2 photo copies of their passports – you need to keep a copy and they need to keep a copy.
• Trust me, in case they are lost, that photocopy can be extremely valuable.
• We also ask for 2 passport photos with their application. They are for legal purposes acceptable and in many cases will be required for travel visas.
H. Be sure to ask the missionaries if there is some item(s) they would like for you to bring down for them.
• Many countries do not have access to some things they may be missing from USA.
• You will score big points with them by bringing them some goodies from home.
• The world is getting smaller and more and more things are accessible, sometimes, however, they may be very expensive.
• Some things may be cheap enough where you could have the churches donate the items – things like hair spray, etc. it depends where you are going what they may not be able to get there.
• But if you find out and pass the list out – the church(es) can have people donate them and you’ll end up being a huge blessing to the missionaries.
• Used neck ties are almost always a huge hit. Collect the ties from the men in the church that they don’t wear anymore – you can give them to individuals when you go there. Young men and old love to get ties!
• As a reminder: “Wise men always come bearing gifts” –
• You will also want to collect an offering from the team at the end of the trip – many times they can just leave the money they have exchanged there and don’t want to bring it home. But allow the kids to give them something. It goes a long way! You will be well remembered when you leave!
I. You will want to bring a good variety of MEDICAL SUPPLIES.
• First aid kit and other medicines – for allergies, diarrhea, headaches, fever, pain relievers, cold medicine, anti-gas, feminine products for ladies, etc.
• Be sure you are aware of the medical condition of your travelers – those with special medical situations. Are they under doctor’s orders? Do they have enough medicines with them? You must keep all medicines in their proper containers in case you are inspected.
J. Chose leaders from the group that will help you with smaller groups.
• We divide the group down into smaller groups.
• They must stay in their smaller groups at all times.
• We have a no dating rule.
• We ask they stay focused on the mission so we are not distracted.
• The last thing you want to do is chase kids down and track where they are in a hotel or in the mall, etc.
• If you stat up front that there is a “NO COUPLES” rule, usually it helps with all this.
• They will begin finding “special friends” as the trip starts to wind down, but if you keep the lines clear from the beginning, you should not have any problems with them following the guildelines.
• We have a “hands off rule” – no touching.
• We have a “no members of the opposite sex in their rooms.
• We have a rule on the bus: Guys set on one side, ladies on the other. No guy or girl sitting together.
L. Ministry: PLEASE – PLEASE LET THE YOUNG PEOPLE MINISTER!
• Too many groups I’ve seen the team leaders do all the singing, testimonies, preaching and the kids feel totally left out.
• You will cheat them and yourself out of the best experiences.
• Let them minister, preach, testify, sing, work the altars. Even if they don’t speak the language, even if they are not the best preachers – you will impact the people there more by seeing a young person used by God (who they can relate more to because they feel our leaders are so far beyond them).
M. BREAKING DOWN INTO MULTIPLE GROUPS:
• Sometimes you will be asked to participate in multiple services at\ the same time in different locations (simultaneously).
• Plan ahead for this. Find out who are your musicians, singers, preachers.
• Set up mini-evangelism teams – where everyone knows what they will be doing.
• I usually set these same teams up as the teams for security reasons. I put a leader of them – it’s easier to count 8 leaders and ask them if their group of 10 kids are there instead of counting 80 people. Also, it’s easier on the bus for each leader to make sure their group is on. It’s also easier to count empty seats, than full ones. If the bus seats 45 and you have 35 kids on the trip – just count 10 empty seats and you’ll know they are all on board. Don’t forget to add “additional” riders – like missionaries or missionary kids. You may end up losing some of your team (we’ve done that before!).
N. You will want to put together a questionnaire to pass out at the end of the trip.
• You need to know their feedback – what they liked and did not like.
• This will be very valuable for planning your next trip.
O. You will want to do a FINAL NIGHT meeting.
• Usually the hotel will have a place for your meeting, in a lobby or room, etc. If you have to do this after a service – it is well worth anything you have to do. THIS IS A MUST to get all you can out of these trips. It’s amazing what you will hear and feel.
• If your group is small enough, you could go into the leader’s room or at a restaurant.
• Pass out “Awards” Have them pre-printed before you leave USA – leave the name blank or the reason why they are getting the award.
• Some will be funny – some spiritual – some serious
• Examples: YOMer of the year. Most likely to become a missionary. Clown of the trip award. Most Christlike. Etc.
• This night is your highlight.
• You will want to hear testimonies: “How did this trip change my life” – “How will I be different when I go home?” Etc.
• Some of their testimonies will make you laugh, and some cry.
P. PREPARE THEM FOR THE TRIP HOME:
• Finally, in this meeting, go over all the details of your trip home.
• You will want to remind them to keep eyes on their luggage.
• Be sure luggage is tagged with names etc.
• Be sure you are checking your luggage to the proper destination. Etc.
• All luggage must be collected at the first stop in USA. For example, if you are flying into Miami but transferring to St. Louis, you will have to collect your luggage in Miami and go through customs first. Then you will check your luggage on to your final destination.
• One thing you will need to prepare them for: the YOM let-down. About a week after coming home, many (if not most) will be facing a huge “low.” After all the high of the experience, the fun, fellowship, ministry, etc. when you come home, and things are so much different, you start to feel the huge “emptiness” where you miss everyone and can actually be pretty bad in some cases. Just let them know to prepare for this, stay in touch with each other, encourage one another.
From: Provided by the author. Used by permission. October 2016.