Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mission and Service Trip Communication Tips

Thirty-four students and six adults are currently on a week-long service trip to the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. That can be intimidating for any student, but it can be equally difficult for the family and friends still at home. We've learned a few practices for connecting those serving with the people back home:
  • Blog Updates. On our student ministry blog, we'll post pictures, videos, and stories about what's going on every day. Family and friends can subscribe to the blog to get daily updates. With a Flip Mino video camera, capturing important ministry moments is as simple as the push of a button and few minutes uploading it to YouTube.
  • Parent Prayer Meetings. The parents of students will gather this week to pray for their children. This is vital for the spiritual growth of the students, but it's also a fantastic way for parents of teens to connect with one another and form a community of support. Parents learn more about trusting the Lord with their children as they pray together.
  • Phone Services. When serving outside the United States, international phone services can be great ways to communicate. You can rent an international phone from Verizon, or use Vonage for longer missions trips. While in Latvia last year, we used Vonage through the Latvia missionaries to keep in contact with family back home. It's especially helpful for married staff to keep in contact with their spouses and children.
Keeping communication lines open allows for people to know specific prayer requests and see God working in people's lives both on the mission field and back at home.

Any other communication tips that have worked for your church or mission team?

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