Is Your Mission trip for Next Summer Planned?

So it’s almost December and you are worrying about the Youth Christmas Party, the Coat Drive , the Advent Festival, and what gift to give your youth sponsors. Who has time to worry about next summer’s mission trip?!  Although it’s true that summer is still 6 months away, the smart youth minister will have reservations for their mission trip(s) by the end of the year. Why should you worry about that now? Because the best mission locations fill up early. There are a good number of locations that are already full for most of the summer weeks. And you definitely don’t want to be stuck going to a place that is 3 days drive from your church!


What should you do if you don’t already have reservations? Start looking for a place today.  Here are the steps:

First, figure out what week your mission trip needs to be. If you are lucky, you will have a couple of weeks that are possible mission trip dates in your church’s schedule.

Second, figure out how far you are willing to go. I like to limit my trips to 1 days drive, or about 500 miles from my church.  

Third, decide what kind of work you want for your youth. If you do mission trips divided by age, then you want to find Junior high friendly work for the younger youth and more difficult work for the older youth. If you take your whole group together, you want a place that is safe for everyone.

At this point, you know what you are looking for and you can winnow down your choices more easily.  There are some places that put together mission trips for youth for you.  Although it is nice to have most of the work done for you, they tend to be more expensive. Talk with your youth worker friends and ask them where they have been in the past that they would recommend. I also found a document that lists United Methodist projects in the United States .  I have been to several of these projects and can recommend: C2K in Dallas TX , Epworth Project in Slidell LA , and Upper Sands Mountain Parish in AL . If you find a place that you haven’t been before, don’t forget to do a pre-trip to check out the place or ask them for several references that you can check out. And when you do find a place, be sure to make van reservations. The sooner you make them, the less they will cost!


What are your favorite mission trip destinations and why do you like them? Or what places have you gone that you won’t go to again, and why? Knowledge is power, my friends!
Georgia Harrison is a veteran and certified youth worker in the North Texas Conference.  She’s an ordained deacon and an all around awesome person.  She is married to Charles Harrison and they have amazing kids.  The whole family has a heart for missions like you wouldn’t believe.  In fact, if you’d like to tell her how great she is or just hear more about mission opportunities, you can email her at  Be blessed. (Georgia didn’t write her own bio, just in case you were wondering.  -EJ)


  1. I serve with an urban ministry and we receive a LOT of groups each year. One thing I’d like to add – Know about how many you’ll be bringing along. Ministries like ours limit space due to facilities or local service sites. So the bigger your group, the sooner you should register.

  2. Hey all.

    For years Servant Heart Ministries has offered a deal to those that are part of the Youth Work Movement. We are mission destination near Minneapolis, but we are also serving in Cedar Rapids IA, and Minot ND. We do multi-group, single-group and custom trips.

    We are one of many UM connected mission destinations that can be found at

    Happy Serving,

  3. We do a different trip every summer, everything from foreign trips to ones within a days drive. My goal is to have the dates and place finalized before Christmas. I finalized next summers dates and place last week, and we are doing a multi-generational trip this year.

    A few things I would add:
    1. Do your first informational meeting for everyone interested in the trip (and their parents) as early as possible, we do ours in January. This leaves everyone plenty of time for fundraising and gets your trip on family calendars before they are planning their family vacation.

    2. Have people pay a non-refundable deposit to sign up for the trip. I just build this into the payment schedule (that you will give at your info meeting), mine is $50. By doing this you won’t have near as many people drop out, and the number you give your organization will be much more accurate.

    just a few things I have learned in leading more than 10 trips.

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