Photo by Steven Lewis

If you’re like me, most of your decisions about summer missions projects come down to two things:

  1. Calendar.
  2. Price.

I wish that wasn’t the case and certainly our plan of integrating the missions component into the lives of our students is hindered by where we start. But it’s very tough to get past this same old starting point.

Very quickly after deciding on time and price, we begin getting caught up in the details. How will we get kids to sign up? When should we publish the trips on our website? How will we do fundraising? What leaders will go?

This is all followed by beginning to look at transportation, lodging, food and all the details. If I’m honest, this is where the majority of my time and thought goes. I think about the logistics of the trip and the safety of students.

It’s usually at this point that we start thinking about the purpose behind all of this. We’ve already made the majority of the decisions and we are trying to come up with a purpose/vision and then take the trip we’ve already decided on and planned and put it into some sort of framework we come up with that is aimed at changing lives.

This year we are trying to do something different. Scott, our Youth Missions Coordinator, is reading through Deep Justice Journeys and working on creating a framework for how everything happens in our Youth Department. He’s posed several probing questions to our staff specifically as it involves “Who” should go on trips next summer and what the “Qualifications” should be. He’s been tasked with rethinking everything we do and coming up with a vision for the process.

But we’re making things hard on him already. While he was on a trip, we went ahead and tried to do everything listed at the beginning of this article to free him up so that he could focus on the training.

We recognized after he got back that you can’t separate any part of the decisions, prep or training. For this whole process to be a “journey” and for it to be more than just a “trip” for students we need to integrate much of the ideas in the book before we make decisions.

So confession. It’s only September and we’re already doing it wrong. Restart about to happen.

Note: this is part of a year-long series of guest blogs by Lars on utilizing Deep Justice Journeys in their youth ministry. See the first post here.

Read more of Lars’ musings at his blog,

Lars Rood

Lars Rood has been a youth pastor for the last 15 years. Originally from the West Coast, he and his family moved to Dallas Texas in 2007 where he is the Director of Youth Ministry at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Lars has an MDiv with a Youth, Family, and Culture concentration from Fuller Theological Seminary and a DMin focused on Leadership to Emerging Cultures from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Lars is passionate about helping new and young youth pastors navigate the waters of youth ministry. He blogs at

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