It’s an exciting time when you start preparing to go on a mission trip, especially if this is your first one. For many members of your team this could be their first time leaving the country and possibly the first time openly sharing their faith.
So the question is “How do I prepare my team?” Here are five ways that we think will help prepare your team for your short-term mission trip.
1. Lead and Serve Relationally
Know that your team is looking to your example. If you make it a point to get to know those you are serving then they will understand it’s a priority. While all trips have their physical needs the team is planning to meet, we are also inviting you to connect with those around you in a relational way. We don’t want to view anyone we are serving as a “project” or “less than”. We need to know that they are people just like us, and we find often times, we walk away learning more from them than we ever gave.
When you take the time to get to know those you’re serving this leads to intentional conversations.
2. Meet or communicate regularly with your group.
Whether this is your team’s first or fiftieth trip together, communication causes for a much better and more prepared experience. Many of your first time travelers are going to have a million and two questions, that’s alright. We want to make sure that you leave on your trip feeling equipped. Honestly, it’s better to ask questions than to just warily go forward.
When you communicate regularly with your group, it eases concerns and helps you know what questions to ask us.
3. Use Managed Missions
Managed Missions is a software SCORE began using recently to make your experience as a leader more fluid and easy to navigate. You are going to find all of your important travel and donation information within this site. It keeps all of your paperwork, donation history, and necessary communication readily accessible. (We will actually have another post coming soon that teaches all the different ways Managed Missions is helpful.)
Use the resources provided so that you don’t have to do double the work, and it makes your experience as a leader smoother.
4. Teach Your Team to Think Long-term
Our tagline is “short-term trips, long-term effects” which means that we know short-term teams like yours need to be working toward a goal that our long-term ministries are working toward. We never want to bring a short-term team to an area that has no vision of long-term cultivation which is why we always pair you with a long-term ministry we have in country. As an example, it helps to think long-term when your team ends up putting the second coat of paint on a building when they thought they would be playing with children in a village that day. What they may not realize is because they painted that building the government is now going to leave that building open as a safe place for people to gather and distribute food. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture. Be sure to remind your team how important it is to look at the long-term effects.
Long-term thinking keeps our hearts and minds focuses on the right goal.
5. Have Flexible Expectations
This could possibly be the best piece of advice before traveling on a mission trip. As an all-inclusive missions organization, we have spent time preparing for you and the members of your team down to the smallest detail, but we also know that sometimes we need to adjust accordingly. Remember that your trip isn’t about getting through items on a checklist, but it’s about building relationships. Going into any mission trip with the mindset “BE FLEXIBLE” can be monumental for any team; we’ve often found that in the unplanned moments God shows just how great He is.
Be flexible and ready to see how God can work even when things don’t go as planned.