Stop Apologizing for Mission Trip Fundraisers

Fundraising for youth mission trips is important. Asking congregants to give money toward the cost of travel, food, and program costs when students spend a week serving in the church’s name tangibly involves church members in something they otherwise wouldn’t participate in.

Could the trip’s costs be covered entirely through the operating budget? Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.

Are the families of the youth who are going able to pay 100% of the expenses? In some cases yes. In most cases no (but beware of the assumptions behind your assessment of who can or can’t). Bake sales and pancake breakfasts build a cushion so that any teenager who wants to go can; working to raise money their family didn’t contribute empowers students to own their experience. We should have a target for that cushion. Year after year we should note whether that target is going up or down. It can serve as the canary in the church’s financial coal mine.

Still, apart from the financial necessity of fund-raising for mission trips, there is a theological necessity. The church’s mission extends to places not all of us can get to, and so we share in the work of those who can at the times they can, by praying, sending, and giving. We should not be embarrassed about this.

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