Mission trips can be a wonderful experience for your church group. Not only do they involve travel and being exposed to other cultures, but they also allow your group to help others in so many ways. However, ThereforeGo Ministries notes that the logistics of planning such a trip can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s important to be organized and prepared long before the trip even begins.
Because putting together any trip that includes several people can be tricky, it’s imperative that you have a deadline for sign-ups to prevent any last-minute surprises, which can throw a wrench into the plans. Once you have your core group figured out, write out a list of things that will need to be done ahead of the departure date. Making sure you’re as thorough as possible will help you manage your time and stress more easily.
Here are a few more tips from Makewetalknow to help you plan a successful and safe mission trip.
Put All the Info in One Place
It’s important for everyone in the group to have access to all pertinent information regarding the trip; dates, times, an itinerary, contact information for everyone involved, a FAQ list for those who have never been on a mission trip, how to obtain a sponsor, and information about obtaining a passport and other documents necessary for a trip outside the country. You might start a blog, website, or private Facebook or WhatsApp group where everyone can access this information and share tips, photos, and anecdotes before, during, and after the trip.
It might be a good idea to create a list of all the things each team member will need to do before the trip and how far ahead they’ll need to do it. For instance, receiving a passport may take as long as four weeks.
Garner Support and Start a Non-profit
Mission trips sometimes require funding, so garner support from your community and fellow churchgoers for donations that will help your group get to where you need to go safely. You could hold a fundraiser at the church, or simply ask for donations of supplies if you’ll be taking food, water, blankets, and toiletries to those who need them. It can be useful to establish a non-profit corporation for taking care of the fundraising activities. When forming a non-profit corporation, you’ll need to choose a name and file as the appropriate organization type.
It’s likely a portion of the funds you raise won’t be needed until you arrive at your mission trip destination. It can be difficult to access a bank account from another country, though, and it’s not safe to travel with a large sum of money. Instead, plan to transfer the funds you’ll need to use to the church or organization you’ll be partnering with at your destination.
Help the team stay organized by tagging every piece of luggage with an easy-to-spot luggage tag, and put a packing list inside each one that contains the group leader’s info in case the luggage is misplaced or picked up by the wrong person.
Spend Time Together Before the Trip
Faithward points out that It’s important to think about how well your team will work together, so it’s a good idea to get everyone together before the trip and let them get to know one another outside the church setting. Arrange for a couple of meals, or hold group nights where everyone can go out and do a fun activity. Check in on everyone’s feelings about the trip, and try to address concerns and dispel negative feelings. This will be helpful for those who have never been on a mission trip and need the comfort of a friend when they are far away from home, as well as help everyone work together well.
You can make your mission trip a successful one by staying organized and helping your group rally around one another – and the community – to do good for others. Remember to gather all your information and identification documents, consider forming as a non-profit, pack well, and spend some together before departing.
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