Yesterday was our Summer Missions informational meeting for our three student ministry mission trips. Our destinations this year are Maine, Boston and Jamaica – I’m pretty excited about all three.
For the most part, our process has stayed similar to past years. Interested parents/students can download our Information Packet (with a lot of the basic details) and the Application Form, both of which communicates most of the basic information.
Here are few of the major highlights/changes I did draw attention to that are important for applicants to know:
- I’m not going to be as lax this year. With the growing number of participants, it has become a much bigger deal when students miss deadlines, send letters late, or miss meetings without explanation. To improve accountability and communication, we’re going to be diligent about a ‘two strikes’ system this year. In other words, if a student misses deadlines or meetings (unexcused), I’ll have a conversation with them along the lines of, ‘if this happens again, this might not be the year for you to be on a mission trip.’ If it does happen again … well, obviously I really want everyone to make the trips, so don’t get any strikes!
- We have cut down on, and shortened, the number of meetings. We recognize family’s schedules are getting busier and busier, so we have reduced the number of meetings, taken steps to lessen the prep work, and even shortened the length of the meetings we will be having.
- We have restructured how we do the Maine team. With our smaller team sizes, the Maine team has become a team mostly of 7th-9th grade students and a sprinkling of older teens. This is great. Instead of being in the shadow of older teens, our younger kids are able to step out and lead in ways they haven’t before – it’s awesome to see. However, it has changed the dynamics of the team so we are changing things up to reflect that. There are six teams this year (instead of seven in the past). If you are unsure of what they are or mean, please contact me so I can explain them – I don’t want someone to not realize what they’re signing up for!
All in all, yesterday was a FUN day! It was exciting to see all of the potential team members and interact with their parents. I’m looking forward to the application deadline (February 5th) to see what the different teams are going to look like!