How to Plan and Organize a Mission Trip
1. Promote, Promote, Promote – Start Spreading the Word As Soon As possible!
Talk With Your Pastor – Ask his blessing and help in promoting your mission trip. Ask him if he would promote and talk about the trip from the pulpit.
Put Announcements in Your Church Bulletin – Announce it up front, promote it from the pulpit, call people, talk to people; ask for stories of people who have already gone on a short-term mission trip, do a skit, do whatever you can to get the word out.
Put a Sign Up Sheet In The Lobby of Your Church – Put out a nice, attractive, sign-up sheet in a well-known spot and encourage people to sign up if they’re interested in going. Your first step is to throw wide the net and gather all who have any interest.
Put Together an Information Trip Packet – Along with the sign-up sheet, if you have the capability, put together a mission trip packet that answers as many questions as you can think of. This will provide information prior to your information meeting to better inform those interested.
Set a Date For an Information Meeting – About one month after you have started promoting the trip, have an information meeting to inform those interested and to answer everyone’s questions. Some issues to cover would be; finances, food prep, Vacation Bible School prep, trip schedule, meeting schedule for trip planning, and etc.
Announce the Procedure for Group Registration – As part of your meeting, let those at the information meeting know how to get on board. It works well to set a $25.00 or more non-refundable registration fee for group registration. For some reason, money firms up decisions.
Establish the Total Cost – Take into consideration travel, insurance, food, and other costs. Take into account the three following factors in planning your trip that need to be decided that will affect your trip cost:
Food Costs – Try to calculate what food cost will be. Think about things like food while traveling and food on your mission trip.
Building Materials for Work Projects – Some mission organizations provide building materials as part of their fees, others do not. Be sure to check this out as it could be a huge factor affecting your total costs. For many teams, helping out with building is a major part of their trip and experience. It also helps those you go to serve as well.
Ministry Costs & Plans – Will you do ministry outreaches? Take into consideration costs for Bibles, Tracts and Vacation Bible School supplies.
2. Establish Your Group!
Set Up Your Meeting Schedule for Group Preparation & Training – You will normally need a minimum of about 6-8 meetings to allow adequate time for Vacation Bible School and ministry prep. Don’t forget your spiritual prep which is the most important of all.
Set Up Money Due Dates – Set up a schedule for Team Members that lets them know when their funds are due for your mission trip.
3. Establish Your Mission Trip Prep. Meetings & Schedule!
Here are some items you might want to consider in your mission trip prep meetings:
Fund Raising Help and Ideas for Team Members – An important part of making your mission trip happen is fund-raising.
Vacation Bible School Prep – Most mission teams do Vacation Bible Schools on their mission trips.
Community Outreach Prep – Also, mission teams do Community Outreaches. You might want to come prepared for that as well.
Testimony Prep – A great way to help others is by sharing your testimonies.
Meal Prep – If your trip includes your own food prep, an option to consider if you don’t have a cook, is to designate a kitchen and meal coordinator to oversee the meals and kitchen. Divide the group into food teams and allow them to plan the meals (with the oversight of the kitchen and meal coordinator). Some meals can be pre-cooked then prepared on site if your mission trip is not too far away. Make sure you have healthy meals as you will be exerting extra energy while on your trip.
Lodging – Be certain to know what your lodging accommodations will be like. You obviously want a safe, somewhat healthy environment for your team. It’s okay to suffer some, but if you can transfer the energy you would expend on suffering into effective ministry then that’s ideal. If we’re called to suffer then we should, but if we don’t have to do so unnecessarily then that’s better.
Spiritual Prep – Don’t neglect this important area. Without right hearts we have nothing to offer. One of the great benefits of a mission trip is that you have a wonderful platform for discipleship training. The trip can serve a much larger purpose than the time you’re serving. Try to get as much mileage out of your discipleship training time as possible and think of ways to disciple and use the group or individuals upon returning home.
Paperwork Prep – It’s good to start early if some don’t have Passports. It can take up to a couple months to get them so let your team know up from so they can get started on them. Passports are now required (with some exceptions) for re-entry into the U.S.
Training Prep – Don’t forget you’re going to be ministering cross-culturally and you need to prepare your team for this. There are many tools for doing this on the Internet. Please look at the resources links below for help in this area as well.
Safety Concerns – It’s common for folks to be concerned with safety on a mission trip. While sharing the Gospel is never risk free and we should have the faith to trust God will protect us, we shouldn’t be foolish as well and put ourselves into harm’s way if we don’t have to.
4. One Month Prior to Trip Departure!
Double check your Master Checklist – Make sure you’ve covered all your bases and nothing is forgotten.
Order Bibles and Tracts – If not already done yet, make sure to order Bibles and Tracts for your ministries.
Vehicle Insurance – Take into account you might need vehicle insurance for your mission trip if you are traveling by land.
Daily Devotionals – During the week of your mission trip, it’s great to have group devotions each morning.
Group Tee-Shirts – If you would like, you can design your own tee-shirts for your mission trip. This can be very valuable and act as a great keepsake and reminder of God’s work in each person’s life.
5. Final Departure Plans!
Paperwork Checklist – Make sure you have all of your paperwork and passports in order. Important note: We recommend that all paperwork be kept in a briefcase or etc. in the possession of the leader at all times as folks can easily lose their paperwork.
Review the Master Checklist – To be sure you’ve remembered everything.