Video: Reimagining the Missions Trip

This week we would like to share the full teaching from Tyler Fuller on Reimagining the Missions Trip. Tyler taught this session at the Flagler Forum on Youth Ministry at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.

Youth ministry veteran and Flagler alumni, Tyler is currently the missions pastor at a church in the Florida panhandle. Over his years of ministry, he has had the opportunity to participate, lead, and plan mission trips all over the globe. We are excited to share a bit of his experience and insight with you all.


Excerpts from Tyler Fuller:

“So if at the end of this, you’re thinking mission trips are bad, then this has been a failure. But what I would like us to be thinking about is, we know we are going to do this, right? Your church and your community should be doing mission work. A better way to think about it is – how might we do it better?

Reimagining the Missions Trip

“What we do, when we send the kid to do a job that someone else is capable of, is that we are saying to that person, ‘you don’t really know what you are doing, or maybe you know what you’re doing, but we have the power here, so just move out of the way and let us do the job.’ And so I think the primary question we can ask to kind of help redirect us and how we think about mission trips is – what do our groups have to offer? What are our assets? What do we bring to the field?

What we do, when we send the kid to do a job that someone else is capable of, is that we are saying to that person, “you don’t really know what you are doing, or maybe you know what you’re doing, but we have the power here, so just move out of the way and let us do the job.”

 

“…the good news is we are a good fit for a lot of things… I think the magic sauce of any good student ministry mission trip is building relationships. Your kids know how to build relationships. And the places we go, everybody needs relationship, right? You’re not going to cause harm if you go explicitly to build and nurture relationships. And if you do that well, overtime you’re going to have a better and better sense of what it is that the field needs because you know the field and the field knows you.”

I think the magic sauce of any good student ministry mission trip is building relationships.

Tyler Fuller - Reimagining the missions trip

“And so, if we’re going to aim our trips more towards relationships, it takes a lot of teaching to our kids to make that experience valuable. And I think what we’re trying teach a kid, if you’re saying that building relationships is more important, is that ‘perhaps your experience on a trip is less important then what we’re actually doing on the field. I know that you want to use a hammer, but guess what, they asked us to do VBS and I know you don’t work like working with kids.  Maybe this isn’t the right mission trip for you, because the field wants us to work with kids and that’s what we’re doing.

And so that’s a hard lesson, right? Especially if you’re a people pleaser. and you know a lot of us in ministry are. It’s very hard to say to a kid who wants  to serve,  ‘Hey, this is how we are serving. It doesn’t fit what you want to do.’ But it’s also important to say, ‘perhaps your self-interest is less important then the mission we’re trying to pursue.‘”

“If we want to do this theologically, what we’re trying to do is honor the fact that every single one of us is built by the same God, in the same way, with the same power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not that we from churches with money, or we from the West, or we who travel have somehow different gifts from the Holy Spirit. Different gifts actually is a good way to say it. It’s not that we’re with gifts to a place where there are no gifts. It’s not like we’re coming with the Holy Spirit to a place where there is no God.

What we’re trying to do when we do trips in this way, build relationships and use our gifts, is honor what God is doing on the field, honor the fact that these people, like us, are built by God with skills and talents and abilities and power. And when we step into their place, we’re telling them they don’t have power and they don’t have skills. And we might not have the skills, but we have the power the show them that, right? We might not able to accomplish what they’re going to accomplish. But we can devalue them by the moving them out of the away.”

…what we’re trying to do is honor the fact that every single one of us is built by the same God, in the same way, with the same power of the Holy Spirit.


About the Author: Tyler Fuller
The only job I have ever pursued is vocational ministry. I spent over a decade doingtyler fuller Young Life and church Youth Ministry. I am now the Missions Pastor at a mega church in the panhandle of Florida (who still gets to work with youth every day!)

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