8 Ways to Involve Your Church in Your Mission Trip
A mission trip is a ministry of the church, not just of the people on the mission team. Most of the people at your church won’t be joining you on your trip, but many of them would love to be part of your service in other ways. Here are a few important ways that you can involve your church in your mission trip.
1. Hold a commissioning service
Being commissioned is an important part of preparing to go out and serve the kingdom. It also allows your church’s congregation to understand and feel connected to the work your team will be doing. This commissioning service could include a song that is meaningful to your team and a commissioning litany written by you or your pastor. (See here for one possible commissioning litany.) Consider holding an all-church potluck after the service so that church members can interact with your team before you leave.
2. Involve kids with a children’s sermon
Plan a children’s sermon that focuses on your trip. Consider giving the kids something tangible to remind them to pray for your trip, such as prayer cards, photographs of the place you are going, or pictures of people who work with your partner there. Let them know you will share your experience with them when you get back.
3. Post a team picture
When you invite the congregation to start praying for your team, put a team picture on a featured bulletin board or by the mailboxes. This should be done early so people know who is going on the trip. If everyone consents, you can also put the team picture on a website, blog, or social media page. Attach a trip schedule to help people feel connected to your daily activities.
4. Make a prayer guide
Type up a one-page prayer guide to give out to church members, either online or in print. Include your flight schedule, a description of what you will be doing, your itinerary, specific prayer requests, and a list of all team members. You could also make a smaller, card-sized version to hand out to friends and family.
5. Assign prayer partners
Ask for volunteers from your congregation to serve as prayer partners for individual members of your mission team. Make sure each team member has a partner from the congregation. You may also have assigned prayer partners within the team, but prayer partners from the congregation are an additional level of support. You may want to have prayer partners write notes of encouragement or send goodies (these could be sent along with the trip leader). You can also encourage the prayer partners to meet as a group once or twice to pray during the trip.
6. Take advantage of your congregation’s gifts
Connect your team with church members who can help prepare you for your trip. If any members of your congregation have already been to your mission trip site, or have lived in or traveled to the place you’re going, invite them to share their cultural knowledge with your team during a pre-trip meeting. Or invite someone who is skilled in the type of work you will be doing to give a lesson to your group. Church members can teach your team about painting, using tools properly, leading kids games, and more.
7. Create a blog
Create a trip blog or use social media to give your church daily updates about your trip. Have different team members write a post each day, and provide opportunities for church members to respond via comments or email.
8. Hold a sharing service
After your trip, hold a service to share testimonies and pictures from your trip. Team members who are going to speak should prepare ahead of time. Sing songs that meant a lot to your team during the trip, or teach one to the congregation! Have team members stick around after the service to talk with people as well. Make sure to thank your church for their support.