Plan Ahead

When planning an AIM trip, it is important that your trip be done properly. AIM trips can be sponsored/led by either the national Youth Ministries, district, or local church. The following questions must be answered to have an effective AIM outreach.

1. Who will plan the trip? Several procedures need to be followed to have an effective AIM outreach. The national AIM office has procedures that missionaries and the divisions of Foreign and Home Missions have requested be used.

The host missionary must be in the center of the planning process. He/she either requests or approves an AIM team. His/her help in planning will ensure the trip will be productive.

The senior pastor needs to be involved in the planning. The pastor must totally support the AIM trip. He/she can give it visibility, accountability, and respectability.

Contact your District Youth Director for options and approval. Do not begin planning your own AIM trip before gaining the support of your District Youth Director.

2. Why are we taking an AIM trip? Jesus said, "Go." AIM trips are primarily to reach the lost and assist those fulfilling the Great Commission. A secondary goal is to see spiritual growth among the AIMers.

3. What do we want to accomplish? What are our goals? Set measurable, attainable, precise, and personal goals. Goals should benefit the missionary and the field, the youth ministry, the youth leader, and the local church.

Some mission fields will produce different results than others. Analyze what experiences will impact your group in a practical way.

4. With whom are we going to work? Some missionaries have more skill and experience in working with American teenagers. Find a missionary who will keep your AIMers productively active. A productive, busy AIMer is a happy, fulfilled AIMer.

5. Who will lead this trip? Every group needs a qualified leader. Make sure that he/she is:

faithful to the Lord, a good example. a servant. committed to the task, willing to sacrifice. comfortable around youth, liked by youth. flexible–the mission field has many surprises. a team player–one who gives all of the youth on the team an opportunity to participate. trained for the task– send him/her on at least one other trip as an AIMer. Let him/her learn under a good leader. 6. Who will go on the trip? What are the requirements for each AIMer to meet in order to go? Several factors must be considered.

Age - Some young teens may not do well in a densely populated city, yet they might excel in the countryside. Younger teens are great with children's ministry. Their experience, maturity, and energy are adaptable to this ministry when properly trained.

Students must be at least 15 years of age to participate in an AIM trip.

Qualifications - Each trip should be evaluated individually. Short missions outreaches are more suitable to larger groups. For longer trips, we limit the number who can go and have more requirements.

Finances should not be the most important factor in determining who can go. However, I would rather have a teen earn the money for the trip than have a church or parent provide the money. Teens who work hard appreciate the trip more and are generally more committed to excellence.

Decide whether or not a teen from outside your group can join. Use wisdom and consider your goals. Other adults who want to participate must be evaluated as well. Use judgment while keeping your goals at the forefront of all of your decision making.

7. What training will be provided? Trips that end in failure are generally the result of inadequate planning. With proper preparation in all the areas, and especially training, every trip can be a success. Training includes dramas, songs, and testimonies, but it also involves preparing team members to handle different situations that might arise.

8. How much will it cost? AIM trips cost money, time, and energy. Valuable lessons, rewards, and good memories cost something.

Plan ahead for unexpected costs. Make sure you have adequate supervision, health insurance, travel insurance. Consider all possible costs: ground transportation, training costs, leadership costs, food, lodging, airfare, clothing, field costs, entertainment (tours, etc.), tips, transfers, equipment, and tracts.

9. What type of experience do you want to provide for the AIMers? This question coincides with your goals. Your group may be at a maturity level that requires a tougher challenge. Some groups may be ready for sleeping in the church for 2 weeks, while others may not.

Use this rule of thumb: Make it tough if it serves a purpose and doesn't detract from your goals. Young people staying in a church with one shower, sleeping on wooden pews, and never getting away from the crowds will become physically and mentally exhausted in a few days. This can distract from your goals. Rather, stay in hotels where the kids can get a good rest. If an AIMer gets sick, spare no expense. Have professionals take care of him/her quickly and properly.

10. What equipment will be provided? Ask your missionary what he/she needs. Match your equipment to the objectives of your trip. Consider leaving equipment as a gift to the missionaries or national pastors. See who is on your team and utilize their skills. Train your AlMers to use the equipment properly.

For more information read this article: AIM - Missions Opportunities for Young People.


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