Why I’m Wondering If The Big Ol’ Mission Trip Shouldn’t Give Way To A Few Small New Mission Trips

Is several small things better than one big thing?

I’ve been wondering about this with youth mission trips, ever since we took a group of 40 students from five churches to Ghost Ranch in 2014. As soon as that trip was over I proposed trying more than one trip but capping attendance on each one, because I had a hunch that smaller groups of youth cost less and can do more; it’s costly and difficult to transport¬†more than 20 youth at a time, and the options for the work they can do seems to shrink as their numbers grow. Accommodating mission trip teams and finding meaningful things for them to do is work.

No doubt there is value in the large group experience. Youth interact with, build relationships with, and learn from a greater number of their peers. Plus, being a part of a great big group gives you a feeling that you’re part of something significant.

I’m increasingly curious about this. Is the value of a large group mission trip–say more than 20 people–enough to make the added cost and the loss of flexibility worth it?