If your church or ministry is considering taking a group to Israel then you need to get organized and take things one step at a time. This is the first in a series of articles we will be posting on the subject.
1. ESTABLISH THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
The first essential step is to identify the individual or team in your ministry that will drive the overall process. While interpersonal skills and enthusiasm are a must, no other experience is required. Often, the pastor or ministry leader will select one or more people from his staff or congregation to help coordinate the details.
2. SET GOALS
Once a leadership team is in place, the individuals on the team should establish concrete goals for the trip being planned. For example, “Our church will send a group of at least 30 people on a trip to Israel this fall.” For help in determining a realistic number of people for your group, you may want to contact a fellow minister who has gone to Israel before, or you can call the Israel Ministry of Tourism directly.
3. ENLIST SUPPORT
To attain your goal and make your efforts more effective, enlist the active support of anyone in your ministry who has been to Israel or who is passionate about going for the first time. You may want to establish an Israel tourism committee or promotion team. These may or may not be members of the leadership team, but they will be active in getting the word out about the trip and doing whatever they can to help implement the plans of the leadership team. A point person is also vital in getting ready for a successful trip. The point person will be available for fielding questions and providing information about the trip. This person may be the trip leader, a member of the leadership team, or someone from the committee/promo team. The point person is responsible for:
- Responding to trip inquiries via phone, email, or signup sheet
- Ensuring materials are sent to anyone expressing even a slight interest
- Creating and maintaining a list of all people who have expressed interest, and organizing the database by trip status (e.g., Going, Considering, Not Going, etc.). It is important to keep this list for future trips, as some who may not have gone the first time will consider going on another trip. Also, you will want to enlist the help of those who went in promoting future trips.