Sunday, November 7, 2010

Surprise! Your Teen Mania Mission Trip Will Cost Hundreds of Dollars More Than Advertised!

Teen Mania Ministries recently revamped their Global Expedition website, adding snazzy marketing materials downloads for teenagers, including this Missionary Step-by-Step Guide. In this guide, you'll find a chart on page 3 (see above) listing all the expenses that aren't covered in the advertised price of your Global Expedition.

Teen Mania recruits teens for their mission trips at Acquire the Fire events all over the country, so most teens who aren't from Texas will need to shell out at least a couple hundred dollars for a flight to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Of course, Teen Mania won't be picking you up from the airport for free,'ll need to pay them another $49 for that privilege. Oh, and if your mission trip involves you taking an international flight, Teen Mania might add "up to $350" to the cost of your trip--but you won't find out exactly how much until you've already given them half of the money due. If that extra $350 makes the total cost of your trip unaffordable, well, it sucks to be you....because the money you've already paid to Teen Mania is not refundable under any circumstances.

If you are kind enough to volunteer as an unpaid leader on a Global Expedition (without which the trips would not be possible), not only do you need to pay for your trip, you'll need to shell out $25 for a background check ($75 if you're late!) and an extra $89 for a leadership training session. Doesn't sound like many other "volunteer positions" I know of....

As I explored in the last post, Teen Mania missions trips are already grossly overpriced & represent a lot of "profit" for the ministry. Most other organizations offer mission trips for much less money. But as you can see from the fee chart above, most teens end up paying hundreds of dollars more for their trip than the prices Teen Mania prints in all of their slick-looking missions brochures.

The fact of the matter is, this "nickel-and-diming" is not a common practice for most organizations that take people on mission trips--especially local churches. When you go on a trip with a church in your town, there's no domestic airfare to pay for, no airport shuttle to deal with, and the advertised cost of the trip is almost always "all-inclusive." They won't be charging for leadership training, and you'll know about any "fuel surcharges" when you sign up for the trip.

One last thought: if Teen Mania Ministries actually included all of the fees associated with their mission trips in the base price they advertised, they know interest in their trips would drop dramatically, and they wouldn't be able to recruit as many teens. Maybe that's why the extra fees are buried in the back of a brochure most teens & parents won't see until after they've already paid to apply to go on a Global Expedition??


  1. Thank you so much for this Robbie. AWESOME.
    Well, I mean, not awesome. Terrible. But I'm just glad they are getting called out on their bull. Cause this is definitely a big pile of poop.
    I'm outraged at this.
    Thank you.

  2. This is a very interesting sight. Are you sure you want to spend all your energy and time holding a grudge...we only have one life to live.

  3. speaking as someone that has been on a global expedition, these trips are extremely well planned and organized. They are very safe and the team has numerous contacts, translators, transporters in country. I don't think they work for free! I did not encounter any hidden fees.

  4. Great writing ! You gain a flair in favor of informational letters. Your content has impressed me further than terminology. I gain a delivery of admiration in favor of your letters. Thank you in favor of all your valuable input on the matter Youth Missions Trip.

  5. I am a youth worker who took a group on an international Global Expeditions trip last year. While the volunteer staff and program leaders on site were fantastic, the stateside booking details were poorly coordinated and funds were mismanaged.

    I agree, the numbers offered to our group were grossly misrepresented. Primarily, our airfare was booked through Global Expeditions -- we were told at a "discounted rate for missionaries." When we gave our deposits, airfare should have been just under $500 (per person). 30 days before departure, we were told our airfare was almost $1000 (per person). I begged, pleaded, and threatened to call the Better Business Bureau before multiple phone calls got me to a head person. We managed to get $150 off by taking crazy flights and a half-day... but to my dismay, both Global Expeditions and the special travel agency that "missionary discounts" EACH received $100 per ticket.

    Word to the wise -- any youth group (or group over 10, for that matter) can ask for "Group Pricing" or "Group Booking" at any major airline. I called the airline directly this year and booked our group with flexible names on the tickets, and a $50 deposit (per person) which secures our price until we pay in full 60 days from now.

    Global Expeditions might have well intentioned staff -- but something is fishy in the representation of financial commitments.

    There are other Christian organizations who are more open with the final $ investment.

    God Bless & Keep Serving Him!