4 Steps to Serving at Home

By Liz Powers, Community Development Coordinator

Typically, when we return home from a mission trip, we experience a natural excitement & motivation to continue in the mindset of serving back in our home communities – we call this the ‘Mission Trip High’. All too often, however, we see this eagerness to share Christ back at home fizzle within just a couple months only to be replaced with anticipation for next year’s mission trip. For many of you, you are sitting in that exact place. It’s been a few months since your group returned home from your mission trip this summer and between summer vacation coming to a close and sinking deep in the routine of the school year, it’s safe to say that the ‘Mission Trip High’ has effectively worn off- or at least is buried underneath the new distractions and stressors that come with this season.

We have good news for you! Although traveling to a new destination packed in a van with your youth group for your next mission trip is certainly something to look forward to, we want to encourage you to exercise your mission mindset in your home community TODAY! The great news is that there are opportunities all around you, right at home, to live out our call to serve our neighbors on a DAILY basis. Sound like something your group is up to? Check out these tips for engaging in meaningful service projects back home.

1. Explore Your Connections

Is there a specific organization, family, or outreach your church is already connected to? Existing relationships are always a great place to start when considering how to connect with your community because often trusting relationships have already been formed. These connections can be through your church, your friends, family, neighbors- the possibilities are endless. Of course, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to make new connections. Just be sure that any new relationship is rooted in trust.

2. Identify Your Talents

What is your youth group good at? What type of commitment can you make as a group? Whether it’s serving food, providing childcare, organizing clothing, or mowing lawns on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis – we recommend brainstorming what exactly your youth group has to offer your community. Check out this post for guidance on how to use asset mapping in this process. This can help narrow the search when approaching local organizations, families, or ministries in partnership.

3. Assess Community Needs

Next, take some time to identify what is most needed in your community. Can your youth group fill that gap? Some ways to assess needs in your community can be through reading the newspaper, talking with community leaders like your mayor or council person, attending a town hall meeting, collaborating with local ministry leaders, asking intentional questions to your neighbors, and much more!

4. Commit to Ministry

Use your platform to build genuine relationships that honor who Christ is and are an example of his love. Nothing shows Christ’s love more than a consistent extension of kindness. Jesus was all about building relationships rooted in love and dignity. We challenge you to look to him as the ultimate example as you carry out HIS mission in your community.

Are you inspired to take action and begin serving in your own community? We want to hear about it and cheer you on in the process! Share your story with us on Facebook @nextstepmissiontrips or Instagram @nextstepbuzz or send us an email to tell us about it at missions@nextstepministries.com.

Next Step Ministries