Packing Lists That Matter: 3 Quick and Easy Steps


Every year when it comes time for a retreat or camp, you change the date on last year’s packing list, post the new pdf online, and pass it out at the parent meeting before the trip.  It has to be the least thought-about aspect of youth ministry and the one with the biggest potential to make an impact in your community with almost no work on your part.

Your packing lists can matter.  They, too, can make a difference in your world.  These three steps will transform this mindless task into one filled with missional impact.

Step one: Pick up the Phone

Before your upcoming retreat, give a call to your local homeless shelter, child advocacy center, or other great mission organization and ask them is there anything they could use X number of (fill in X with the number of students going on your trip)?

Step two: Type

Add the item to the top, middle, bottom and side of the packing list so people will actually notice that something has changed this year.  Maybe even make it bold!  Ok, that may be getting a little too out-of-the-box.

Step three: Collect the Items

Have a specific place for students to leave the item when they check in for the retreat.

Boom.  Impacted!  After you get back from the retreat, you have a great opportunity for some of your leaders or a small group to deliver this abundant blessing to a local mission, and you did almost nothing to coordinate that incredible gift.


When he is not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy oversees children, youth, and college ministries in addition to leading the evening worship service at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Al. He is passionate about reaching people with the message of Jesus in a way that engages them with the movement of God. Jeremy is the Senior Editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches at his website: