When you are planning a mission trip, do you stop and think what is the purpose of a mission trip? When you are planning, are you hoping to get some great photos, see those in your ministry grow, hope to serve those in need, or hope to see new people come to Christ? If we’re honest probably all of these reasons and more are factors into why you would choose to take your team on a mission trip. As you are planning and going on your next trip, here are a few things to keep in mind that will hopefully help to make it a life-changing experience.
1.When deciding where to go and who to partner with, ask them what they need help with and how they see your team being able to come and serve. This is especially important on short term mission trips. Find out how you and your team can best serve them and help them to reach their context. They will know the people and needs of their community better than you and will be able to help you better understand it and prepare your team to serve there.
If you do this at the beginning of the planning process you will be able to decide if your team will be able to partner with them or if you need to partner with someone else. It will also help you to be able to recruit the right people for your team. By finding out what the partner needs and planning your trip around that you will be indicating to them that you are there to serve and not be served.
2. Plan to be flexible. We all know that on trips some things don’t go as planned and that seems to be even more true on a mission trip. Maybe the weather affects the plans, unexpected circumstances come up, or maybe not as many people come out to the event you were helping host as you had hoped. Whatever the reason for the sudden change in plan is, it’s important that you and your team be ready to change the plans. By being flexible and willing to change plans when needed, you aren’t only showing your host that you are there to work with them, you are also showing those that you are ministering to and your team that it’s more about sharing Christ with others than it is about you and your plans.
3. Have a learning spirit and attitude. Be willing to listen to the local missionary, pastor, and believers that you are working with. They will know the people and context that you will be working in better than you. What you may be able to do in your local context that has proven effective at reaching people for Christ, may not work in another. Every person is different and every context is different. Don’t go on a mission trip expecting to win every person in that town or city for Christ.
While yes, you want to share the Gospel and see people come to Christ, not seeing that happen doesn’t mean that your trip was wasted. If you were able to share the Gospel and help the local believers in ways that they have requested, then count the trip as a success. A mission trip is successful if you are able to encourage the local believers, share Christ with the lost, and help plant seeds of Christ in the lives of others.
In Matthew 25:31-46, we see that the Son of Man separated people on His left and right. To those on his right, the Son of Man rewarded for serving Him. Will you be part of those on the right that were willing to serve and share Christ, not concerned about what it will get you now but seeking to help others and share Christ?
When you are planning your next mission trip keep in mind the importance of helping where the long term missionary has requested, being flexible, and having a learning spirit and attitude and it will help to make the trip impactful not just for you and your team but also for those you went to serve.
Interested in setting up a mission trip to New Orleans? For more information on MissionLab connect with us today!