Interested in going on a mission trip but don’t know where to start? The number of options for mission trips can be overwhelming. Here are a few questions to help guide your decision.
What kind of mission trip am I looking for?
While there are all kinds of different ministry opportunities, here are some of the most common kinds of mission trips:
- Evangelism – sharing Jesus through personal conversations; public presentations that may include drama, music, or dance; visiting homes, giving out Bibles, and more
- Mercy Ministry – showing God’s love through compassion, like serving in an orphanage, visiting hospitals or prisons, providing meals for the homeless, etc.
- Service Projects – sweating, getting dirty, and coming home totally exhausted, with the satisfaction of seeing a physical accomplishment (like a house built or a church painted)
You may already be familiar with what you’re gifted to do, and that’s great. We also like to encourage people not to stick with what’s most comfortable. And if it’s your first trip, or if you’re bringing a group, it’s a good idea to find something with a variety of ministry opportunities.
Where do I want to go on my mission trip?
Obviously, location is a huge consideration. Is there a country that God has put on your heart? Does your church or youth group have a long-term investment in a particular place? Do you speak a language or have a skill that would come in handy in a particular place?
At the same time, where you go is not nearly as important as who you go with and what you do once you’re there. Is there a team that’s already planning something that you can join? Is there a ministry that you can support? Partnering with what God is already doing may be a more effective use of your time and money than reinventing the wheel.
Can I trust this missions organization?
There are a whole lot of groups out there offering mission trips. Talk to someone who’s gone on a trip before to find out about their experience. Your pastor, youth pastor, or church missions committee may have recommendations as well. Get in touch with the host organization and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions before you sign up.
Here are some good questions to get you started:
- How long have you been ministering in this part of the world?
- How will you partner with local churches or ministries?
- What strategy is in place for follow up after we’re gone?
- What have you seen God do through previous mission teams in this location?
- How will you be preparing me / our team for ministry?
And here’s a tip: skip the “evangetourism.” If it seems like the group you’re considering is only geared towards giving you a cool experience, find another group that’s being strategic by using short-term ministry teams to make a long-term impact.
What does God have in mind for my mission trip?
We all need a reminder every now and then: “It’s not about me!” Ask God to lead you, and trust him – even if the mission trip he’s calling you to seems like it might be stretching. That’s a good thing!
Hopefully these questions, tips and suggestions will help you pick a mission trip. If you would like more information about YWAM Louisville’s options for mission trips, click here to see what we have coming up this summer. Interested in a trip that’s more than just a week? Take a look at our Discipleship Training School (DTS), a five-month training school with an eight-week mission trip.