How to Prepare Spiritually for Your Mission Trip
Your mission trip will be a spiritual experience—a time to feel God’s presence, see God at work, and get to know God better. Be open to everything that God has in mind for you and the people you are serving. God often works through mission trips in different ways than we expect. Here are some ways that you can prepare spiritually for serving God’s kingdom on your trip.
There are many areas of a mission trip to lift up in prayer: health, flexibility, relationships within the team, relationships with people you’ll meet on the trip, boldness to share the gospel, homesickness, safety, and cultural adjustment, just to name a few. You can also pray for specific people or ministries you will be working with on your trip.
Different people are drawn to different kinds of prayer. Explore a variety of prayer types with your group. You might try praying in a circle, in small groups, with partners, popcorn-style, or in a number of other ways. Make sure to ask the organization you’re working with if there is a cultural way they pray where you are traveling. If there is, you can use this way of praying as part of your preparation. For example, in Guatemala, people gather in a tight circle and each person prays out loud, all at the same time. Everyone says “amen” in unison.
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 for your team and a commissioning litany written by you or your pastor. (Here’s 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.
Sharing your testimony (a story of how God has been faithful to you) may be an important part of what God has called you to do during your mission trip. It can be helpful to prepare in advance for this so that you will feel ready to share when the time comes. Sharing testimonies together during pre-trip meetings is a good way to encourage each other and prepare spiritually for your trip. Here are some helpful hints for preparing to share:
- Tell a story of when God was faithful to you. How did God show up in your life? What changed as a result?
- Make it short; three minutes is a good length.
- Give specific examples, but make sure they are culturally appropriate. (In many cultures, experiences like drinking or doing drugs will not be appropriate to share in your testimony.)
- Center your testimony on Jesus and your need for him.
- Use everyday language. Avoid “churchy” words that may be hard to understand or difficult to translate.
- Share what has changed in your life because of Christ.
You should spend time each day while on your trip in group devotions. Devotion time is often most powerful at the end of the day, when team members can discuss and process that day’s experiences together. Many groups also have a mini-devotion at breakfast each morning. This could be as simple as a verse, a brief word of encouragement, and a prayer. Other groups encourage personal devotion or quiet time in the morning.
Use your group devotion time to discuss the following:
- High points of the day
- God sightings
- Funny things that happened to you
- Language barrier challenges and/or discoveries
- What you learned about God and about yourselves
- Mutual encouragement and insight
- Praise and worship time
- Prayer requests and answers