The road trip is one of the greatest things about student ministry. Adventure. Memories. Laughs…God-awful smells from the back of the van. This is the sixth post in a 6 part series on the things you should know before you get in the van with a bunch of students and go somewhere. You can find the first post HERE, the second post HERE, the third post HERE, the fourth post HERE, and the fifth post HERE.
You might also be interested in these posts as well: Social Birdflu: How Twitter Almost Killed Our Student Ministry , Social Birdflu Part 2: When Words Take Flight, and 10 Tips For Transitioning New 6th Graders Into Your Student Ministry
These are insights that I have picked up mostly from getting my tail kicked by experience. The better prepared you are to handle life on the road, the better chance you have to provide an experience that your students will never forget!
Things you should know before you get in the van continued…
1. Keep the binder with the medical release info handy!
You never know when a student is going to get hurt. And when it happens, its ALWAYS at some crazy, totally inopportune time. Go ahead and keep the medical info with you. Invest in a good backpack and keep your youth pastor essentials close: medical info, cash, directions, schedules, redbull, the money the middle school mom gave you so he doesn’t blow it all… you know the drill.
2. Petty cash…. You can never have enough
If you have the ability to, be sure to carry petty cash with you on the trip. This is a real help when it comes to situations needing quick cash: parking fees, toll roads, wallets left in the suitcase in the back of the trailer, and when your church card gets put on hold because you forgot to notify them that you were traveling out of the region (yes… I’ve had that one happen…)
3. Prepare your leadership spiritually
Whether you are headed to foreign soil for missions work or Six Flags for the day… prepare your leadership spiritually. Time spent purposefully with your teens is ALWAYS well spent – no matter where you are. If you prepare your leadership to capitalize on “God moments” and breakthrough conversations, its going to be a fruitful trip.
Spend time in prayer together
Spend time reviewing the trip schedule, identifying high-impact moments
Spend time briefing your leaders on small group questions, etc…
4. Have in mind what you want to see accomplished in the lives of your students
Why are you taking this trip with your group? What do you want to see happen?
Do you want your group to grow in unity?
Do you want your group to grow in compassion?
Do you want your group to serve the community?
Do you want your group to __________?
Think it through, then communicate it to the leaders you have on the trip. It will help keep them sharp and focused – looking for ways to get the job done.
5. Capitalize on EVERY moment you have to pour into your students, and train your leaders to do so as well
I’ve found that you can accomplish more in the life of a student in a concentrated weekend away than in 3 months of ministry on Wednesday/Sunday. Get them out of their normal routine and away from their normal influences and allow God to do some work in their lives. Life on the road with students is FULL of moments to speak into their lives. Take advantage of those and tell your leaders to do the same.