I’ve been on a lot of mission trips in my life. Group trips, individual trips, close to home and halfway around the world, I’ve loved them all. It’s so exciting to join in God’s mission around the world and a blessing to serve others with the love of Jesus. But what doesn’t always feel exciting is raising the funds to be able to go. When I was in high school and early college I dreaded asking people for money to support my trip. It seemed so awkward and intrusive.
Over the years, though, I’ve come to realize that raising support, including money, for mission trips can be an amazing way to invite others into what God is doing. If we can remember that mission trips are about serving and glorifying God and caring for the people God created, we can thoughtfully and joyfully ask others to join us through prayer and financial support.
If you need a few ideas about how to get started in raising support, here are some tried and true methods that can work for groups or for individuals.
- Write support letters. Make a list of family, friends, and others who know and care about you. Ask them to join in God’s work through prayer and/or financial support.
- Host a meal. Request donations at the door and share about the mission trip.
- Share during a Sunday service or Sunday school class at your church, and invite people to donate afterward.
- Hold a silent auction. Gather donations to sell so all proceeds support the mission trip.
- Plan a special worship and prayer night for the mission trip and take an offering.
- Consider applying for a scholarship through a program like the Next Generation Missional Engagement Fund.
Any time you are able to share about what you or your team is doing on your mission trip, do it! It’s a great opportunity to invite others to share in God’s work through prayer and financial support. And don’t forget to follow up with your supporters through thank you notes, prayer requests, and trip updates. They are part of your team now, so make sure they know about the awesome work God is doing.
Stephanie Soderstrom is coordinator for Short-term Mission for the Reformed Church in America. You can connect with her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.