A Mission Trip and Pilgrimage Curriculum

Trekking below summer storm clouds, I climbed to a generous overlook of the town we’d lived in for two weeks. My first mission trip as a youth minister was near its completion. My chest thumped with the thunder rolling off the mountainside. I watched the villagers buzz like a diorama a hundred feet below. Everywhere I looked, life was pulsating. We had come to Guatemala and discovered a world filled with wonder. This leap into adventure altered the trajectory of my life. For the next several years, pilgrimages and mission trips across the globe were the highlights of our ministry. Little did I know, this was the first seed for the creation of Wonder Voyage.

After working in youth ministry for many years, I learned how time-consuming planning for mission trips and pilgrimages can be. In 2000, I embarked on an adventure to combine my love for travel and connecting people with the wonder of God to take this burden off of church leaders’ plates. Wonder Voyage has grown larger than I ever dreamed. In fact, over 25 years, our team of expert guides has led hundreds of churches and organizations and over 13,000 pilgrims on one-of-a-kind trips to 45 nations. Our participants have spent more than 200,000 hours on seven continents.

Preparation Is Pivotal for Wonder

While Wonder Voyage handles the logistics of the trip, we continually noticed that what separated a good trip from one where participants said they had a moment of wonder in which they connected with God came down to a team’s spiritual preparation. Over the years, groups requested resources for preparation, but nothing was available that we could point to and say, “Start here.”

We brainstormed what such a training program would look like. We developed a curriculum called “The Way of Wonder” around six key topics. We designed this curriculum to be useful for both pilgrimages and mission trips as well as adaptable for each group. “The Way of Wonder” is our answer to the spiritual prep needed for a team to connect with wonder on their next pilgrimage or mission trip, and it is absolutely free.

“The Way of Wonder” Curriculum Structure

The curriculum is broken into six sessions:

  • Session One: One Step Forward – A pilgrimage or service trip is a choice. Will you enter the story God is inviting you into?
  • Session Two: The Way of Wonder – Wonder is the foundation of the journey. Are your eyes and ears open to wonder?
  • Session Three: Community Quest – A united community on a quest will define how far you go on this voyage.
  • Session Four: Sacred Service – You are a part of God’s transformation of the world. Do you live that truth?
  • Session Five: Story Archaeology – Embracing curiosity and asking great questions is essential.
  • Session Six: The Moment Matters – Moments of wonder will be discovered and shared for the rest of your life.

An Invitation

The Way of Wonder” is available for digital download at no cost. We have also provided a sample lesson below. This resource is our gift to Building Faith readers and the Forma community because we all have the same core desire: connecting people with wonder.

Access a sample lesson from “The Way of Wonder” here

Editor’s Note: Please credit the author and organization when using this resource

To find out more about the curriculum or Wonder Voyage, visit their website here.

Featured image is by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

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