How to Involve Your Church in Your Mission Trip

A mission trip is a ministry of the church, not just of the people who are 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.

Prayer support

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; prayer partners from the congregation are an additional level of support. You may want to have prayer partners write notes of encouragement to their partners or send them goodies (these could be sent along with the trip leader). You can encourage the prayer partners to meet as a group once or twice to pray during the trip as well. 

Prayer team: If your church has a prayer team, invite them to be part of the mission trip by making sure they have your trip information and prayer requests from your team.

Prayer send-off: Set a time when you invite anyone from your congregation to meet at church to pray with your team before you leave. This may be right before you leave for the airport or right before your van takes off. 

Prayer cards: Make a business card for your team that lists information about your trip. It should include the ministry you’re serving with, a blog address (if you will be blogging), your church name, and a couple of specific prayer requests. Hand these out to church members to help them remember to pray for you. (These can also be passed out in the airport or places where you stop if you are traveling by car or van). 

Prayer guide: Type up a one-page prayer guide to give out to church members. Include your flight schedule, a description of what you will be doing, your itinerary, specific prayer requests, and a list of all team members.

Services and events

Commissioning service: Being commissioned is an important part of preparing to go out and serve the kingdom. It is also a way to connect your church to the work your team will be doing. The commissioning service could incorporate a song that is meaningful to your team and a commissioning litany written by either you or your pastor. You could also use this commissioning litany

Launch potluck: Send your team off with an all-church potluck on the commissioning Sunday.

Children’s sermon: Plan a children’s sermon that focuses on your trip. Consider giving the kids something tangible to remember 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 with them when you get back as well.

Sharing service: After your trip, have a service to share testimonies and pictures of your trip. Team members who are going to speak should be prepared ahead of time. Sing songs that meant a lot to your team during the trip or teach the rest of the congregation a song that you learned on the trip. Have team members stick around after the service to talk with people as well. Make sure to thank your church for their support. 

Communication

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 your website.

Give trip updates: Create a trip blog or use social media platforms where church members can read updates by different team members or groups and write you notes.  

Share the schedule: Put a schedule of the trip in church mailboxes, in the bulletin, and on the website. It helps people to feel connected. 

Other ideas

Financial support: Church members are often willing to support mission trips financially. Communicate specifically how donations will be used.

Sharing box: Give congregation members a list of supplies that you need to collect for your trip. Have a big box somewhere in your church for people to put supplies in. 

Welcoming crew: Ask church members to welcome you back at either the airport or in the church parking lot. Seeing many people waiting for them to return can be a great booster for the team members.

Cultural training: If any members of your congregation have already been to your mission trip site, or have lived/traveled in the place where you will go, invite them to share their cultural knowledge with your team during a pre-trip meeting. 

Skill building: Invite someone who is skilled in the type of work you will be engaged in to come give a lesson to your group. Church members can teach your team about painting, using tools properly, leading kids games, and more.

Want more trip planning support? Our short-term mission team would love to help.