Your mission trip will be a spiritual experience—a time to see God, feel God, and get to know God better. Be open to everything that God has in mind for you and the people you are serving. Many times we go on a mission trip with different expectations of serving than what God has planned for us. Here are some ways that you can prepare spiritually for service to the kingdom.
How to Prepare Spiritually for Your Mission Trip
There are so many areas of a mission trip to be lifted 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 ways to pray speak to different people spiritually. Explore a variety of prayer types with your group. You may try praying in a circle, in small groups, with partners, popcorn-style, or 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 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.
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. It can also be encouraging, and build your team spiritually, to share testimonies together during your pre-trip meetings. 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.)
- Make your testimony about Jesus and your need for him.
- Share how Christ is trustworthy.
- Use everyday language. Avoid church 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. Devotional time is often most powerful at the end of the day, when sharing time is much needed. Many groups also have a mini-devotion at breakfast each morning. This could be as simple as a verse and prayer or a word of encouragement and prayer. Other groups encourage personal devotion/quiet time in the morning.
Use your devotion time with the whole group to focus on:
- High points of the day
- God sightings
- Funny situations that happened to you
- Language barrier problems/positives
- What you learned about God and about yourselves
- Mutual encouragement and insight time
- Praise and worship time
- Prayer requests and answers