On monday, I returned from a 9 day missions trip to Los Angeles.  We have a missionary who lives in the inner city, and we wanted to go down and bless him and his family.  It was a productive 9 days which included: building a fence, building a retaining wall, fixing a fence, working on skid row, putting on carnivals (one at a school, and one at watts), disneyland, santa monica pier, and more.

It was a busy 9 days, but we had a simple strategy for parents to stay connected.  In the past, the missions trips would have a blog somewhere on blogger, or wordpress.  I wanted to ditch that plan this year for a simple approach.

The plan was simple.  Facebook.

Everything we did over the nine days was put up on facebook.  It seems simple, but to make sure that everyone knew where to go was the tricky part.

Two weeks prior to the trip, I was handing out at church a hand out with the url to our facebook page. In those two weeks we never saw a huge increase in likes on our page, but it was slowing gain parents and family members of the students attending our missions trip.

The week before, I post on my churches social network called The City.  Again, I didn’t see a huge increase in traffic to the facebook page.

On the saturday morning that we left on the bus to drive 38 hours to L.A, we took a picture of the bus leaving, and posted it.  That picture was shared by parents, and quickly gained 64 likes on our page.  It eventually would reach over 500 people.  That is awesome considering the youth ministry page had 150 likes.

Each day we would have someone take photos and post it as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, ect.  This was one of the most effective things we did while we were away.  We didn’t always post them live, but we would post it when we got back to where we were staying.

Here is our strategy: 

1. Use one social network.   Don’t do too much.  We went with facebook because most of the parents were on it.  That is who we wanted to communicate with, so that is where we put the updates.

2. Delegate it to someone else.  I was so burned out, that I didn’t have tons of time to post photos.  Get someone who has a decent camera to take all the photos, also get them to upload them.  We were going to try to live blog each night on our page, but we had no time.

3. Use photos.  We wanted to give a write up each night on what we were doing, but to be honest, all the parents wanted to see was their kids.  In this case the pictures we took were worth a thousand words.

When we arrived back, I ran into someone in a super market from my church and they raved about the photos on the facebook page.  I had no idea that they were apart of it.  Over the past few days, I have had tons of people thank us for how we posted tons of photos.

How do you stay connected on a missions trip?  What social media networks do you use?

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