Data, Connections and Distractions. If you have been a short term team in the last in the last 10 years, then I know that you have wrestled with the appropriate use of technology on a mission trip. Today, smart phones and data plans keep us connected with family, friends and work no matter where we are and social networking can quickly become a weapon of mass distraction if not handled well.
What do you do on your mission trip? Bring them, stow them, deny them? I have experienced all three. Some team leaders take a hard stance on this believing that technology is an evil and a detriment to the real purposes of relationship building and ministry. Most of us can point to examples when this has certainly been true.
Too many photos, too much posing, texting and posting can not only distract from the trip, but can also send an unwanted message about wealth and priorities that creates barriers and divisions. Maybe it would be better just to adopt a “technology fast” as part of your team discipline. Eliminate the problem. Run silent.
I think I could live without technology if sharing the story of God’s work wasn’t such an important part of giving Him glory on a mission trip.
Technology and its use are not right or wrong. As with most things, wisdom, discernment, discretion, and moderation are also all healthy modifiers when considering the use of technology on a short term mission trip. If the appropriate use of technology however, helps to communicate who God is and what He is doing in and through the experiences and people of a trip, then I think we would be less than responsible not to use it for these purposes. Not sharing the story of God in an engaging way to others seems to deny Him the glory that He is do.
Excellent pre-field training is essential to help prepare the team and so is carrying out a strategic plan for communication with your support team and congregation that allows them to share in the experiences and bring glory to God.
So, what is your communication plan? How will you keep your support team and those interested in following the trip informed, engaged and praying for you? I urge you to think this through and to not see the use of technology to help you do this well as a distraction, but rather an important component before, during and after your trip.
MissionMakr excels at connecting Trip Followers to each phase of your trip and especially at engaging them while you are on the field in what we call the GO phase. We continually hear people say that getting regular postings and photos from different trip members about how God is at work was the next best thing to being there in person. Sign up today to start using MissionMakr for your next mission trip and see how it helps you engage more people and tell God’s story more powerfully.