A major focus of my ministry is building relationships and one way I have seen this work across generations is through mission trip prayer partners. The concept is easy. Connect each mission trip participant with someone who is not going on the trip and who will pray for him or her during the trip. I like to add a little extra to it by asking the stay at home partner to write a letter or card which I give to the mission tripper while we are away. Everyone loves mail, and handwritten cards are in short supply these days. Also, I have the mission trippers write and mail postcards back home to their partners.
Here’s a request from me (someone who has struggled to find enough prayer partners to make this happen). If you hear an announcement like this at your church, sign up for it. Step out of your comfort zone and pray for someone else. Write a card to a youth or adult you don’t know. By participating in this ministry you are developing and strengthening relationships that are vital to your church. All I’m saying is give it a chance.
I’ll tell you how I do this in case you’d like to make it happen at your church.
What You’ll Need–
One Prayer Partner for Each Mission Trip Participant
One Postcard, Stamp, and Address for Each Stay at Home Partner
Patience, Perseverance, and Prayer to Make It All Come Together
Months before the mission trip-start asking for prayer partners. Put your request in the bulletin, newsletter, on a bulletin board, send it to your boards/committees, and email or talk with people who you’d like to participate.
Here’s my announcement (which has been running for about 2 months).
Would You Like to Support Our Youth?
-Be a Mission Trip Prayer Partner. Sign up with Susannah. She’ll assign you one of the 26 people going on the trip. You’ll need to write a letter/card to your prayer partner (which will be given to your person while we are on the trip) and give the card to Susannah for safe keeping. Each day we are away, you’ll be asked to pray for your prayer partner and our whole mission team. This is a great way for anyone who can’t journey to Atlanta with us to participate in the mission trip.
As the people accept this invitation, you’ll need to pair them with someone going on the trip. A simple spreadsheet will make this easy. As card are dropped off, I send a thank you email to the partner to let them know it is received.
Before leaving for the trip buy postcard stamps and make sure you have the addresses for the prayer partners so postcards can be sent. Printing them out on address labels will make it very easy on postcard writing day.
While on the mission trip, you’ll need to find postcards from your location which is not always the easiest thing to do. I suggest doing a little research before you leave to find where they are available or stopping at a touristy gas station.
Find a time on the mission trip to share the cards and write the postcards. I recommend at least halfway through the trip. Mail the postcards while you are still on the trip, if possible.
Extra Credit-Find a time after your return for the prayer partners to get together in person. This is a great way to strengthen the relationship!