In Part 1, we learned that the mission of every youth ministry must have a global perspective. We must create opportunities for the students to get their hands dirty, so to speak, and get involved in meeting the needs of the world around them.
I am the youth pastor for Velocity, the youth ministry program at Abundant Life Christian Center in Syracuse, NY. In this article, I will interview my student ministries programs coordinator, Brandi Rooker, about a missions program we designed called Global Velocity. Brandi is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. She has a background in theological studies and teaches regularly at Velocity. She has been working for me for over five years now, and is the facilitator for this program. If you want the details on Global Velocity, or any program in our youth ministry, she is the right lady to talk to.
Pastor Lee: Brandi, how did we incorporate a global perspective into our mission statement at Velocity?
Brandi Rooker: It is the mission statement of Velocity to challenge each student to change lives, connect people together, and influence the culture of this generation. Out of this mission, Global Velocity was born. During the summer, we wanted to give our students the chance to make an impact on the lives of others through mission work.
PL: That is our vision. But every vision needs a solid plan to give it feet to run on. Can you explain the Global Velocity process we created to build a great missions trip?
BR: Sure. We created a planning process that consists of four major phases: planning, application, training and execution.
PL: As a teenager, my pastor, Dr. Ira Hilliard taught me this principle, “Things don’t just happen; they must be planned.” Can you explain phase one, or the planning phase?
BR: The first step to creating a missions and outreach event is to plan. But this isn’t your ordinary “throw some ideas up on the board” planning. Whitney George of Church on the Move once said, “All form should follow the function.” All of your plans have to begin with the vision God has put in your heart for your missions program. All the logistics are second place to that primary goal. So as you begin planning, continually go back to this question, “Is my form [plan] following my function [vision]?” Once you have established what the vision of your program is, then you can begin planning.
The planning process will be long and at times tedious. But the purpose of the plan is to catch all the details that are necessary for the overall success of the event. When you begin to plan, consider the following questions:
- What are we hoping to accomplish?
- Have we considered every small detail?
- Are we still within our budget?
- When do purchases need to be made?
- What timeline do we need to establish to share this information with our students and parents?
Never be afraid to go back and look over the details. Embrace the whole of the trip during the planning process and you will enjoy the success of being prepared.
PL: I definitely agree that success is in the small details. But it also depends on selecting the right team. What is the second phase?
BR: Once your plans have been finalized, you are ready for the application process. We do our application process in five steps:
- The Launch – We plan our launch to make an impact and to entice our students to apply for the program. We design a booklet with all of the details that we give to the students during the launch.
- The Application – Once the students have the information, we give them a short period of time to discuss the trip with their parents and turn in their completed applications.
- The Essay – Every student who hands in an application must also hand in an essay detailing why they are interested in the trip and why we should consider them as an applicant. This helps us to identify the students who may be applying for the wrong reasons.
- The Interview – When the application process is complete, every applicant is interviewed by two or more staff members. They are asked about their strengths/weaknesses, interpersonal skills, work ethics, etc., to determine if they are ready to take part in Global Velocity.
- The Selection – Once the interviews are complete, the staff meets for the selection process. We consider the information in the application, essay and interview when selecting a team member. Once the students are selected, they receive a selection letter and an invitation to a parent/student meeting where we have the opportunity to stress the importance of the up-coming training not only to the students, but the parents as well.
PL: Now that you have the right people, you have to train them for what lies ahead. What happens in the third phase?
BR: The training phase is critical to the success of any missions trip. You must have time with the team to prepare them for the work that lies ahead. While it is necessary to train them concerning the logistics and programming of the trip, the most important training the students need to receive is how to share the gospel with someone else. We hold three major training sessions to accomplish this task.
Session 1 – How to Prepare Your Personal Testimony – We have found that the best way to connect with someone whom you would like to share the gospel with is to first share your own story. Sharing something so personal puts the person at ease and makes you more relatable. Every student in the program is given the task of writing and memorizing the story of how they came to know Christ.
Session 2 – How to Deliver Your Personal Testimony – Once each member has written their personal testimony, they share it first with their team members in an effort to make them more comfortable sharing their story when the time comes to use it during the trip. Our staff shares their stories as well to encourage a family dynamic within the group.
Session 3 – How to Lead Someone to the Lord – In the final session, to add some comedy to what can be a tense situation for a teenager, our staff reenacts the do’s and dont’s of sharing your personal testimony, and how to handle the situations they may face while sharing.
By the time you leave for the trip, the students have memorized their story, practiced it in front an audience and learned how to handle difficult situations. The trip is the better because of the training, trust me.
PL: After all that hard work, there is only one phase left, execution. How do you prepare for that?
BR: All that is left is to prepare for the day of departure. In preparation for this day, we meet again with parents to review the logistics of the trip, how to follow the trip online, and of course, to encourage them to pray for us. We give each parent a form that includes prayers we would like them to pray each day we are away. It is so important to keep the parents involved every step of the way. Their support and prayers add to the overall success of the trip.
You must trust that you have planned properly, selected the best team possible, and trained them for anything that lies ahead. In the end, it all goes back to the original vision you had for your missions program. You have prepared to change lives, and God will take care of the rest.
Hear the testimonies of our Global Velocity Team Members: