How to Share Your Mission Trip Experience
So, your team is back from your mission trip. You might feel energized and excited, or you might feel exhausted and relieved. You might miss your team members and hosts, or you might be glad to be back with your family and friends. You might feel called to new ways of serving God. You might be feeling all of these things at once! Here are some suggestions for sorting through all of your experiences and sharing them with your church and with others.
Sharing with your church
One great way to share your mission trip experience with your congregation is for your whole team to talk about it in church—either as part of a service or as a separate event. Have each team member talk about an aspect of the trip that was particularly meaningful to them. This allows the congregation to get to know your team and see how God worked in each person as well as in the team as a whole.
Consider including the following topics in your presentation:
- Where did you go on your trip? Who was your host for the week? Some people in your congregation may not have kept up with announcements very well, so it’s good to start with where you went and who you served alongside.
- What does your ministry host do in their community? What’s their mission? This is important for giving people a picture of what kind of ministry your team chose to partner with, and it is a great opportunity to connect your congregation with this ministry. Perhaps your congregation shares a common mission focus with them, such as affordable housing or food justice. Emphasizing those shared values can lead to further engagement with this partner in the future.
- What did you do? Give your congregation a sense of the day-to-day activities that your group engaged in. Where and how did different people serve? It’s great to share about any projects that you made progress on, but it’s also important to talk about the relationships you formed within the team, with your host partner, and with the community you served. If your team took part in any cross-cultural learning, or if you took a free day to explore the area, talk about that as well!
- Where did God show up? This is the most important part of your presentation. Tell stories of transformation. Stories connect with people on a deep level and can resonate with their own experiences. Make sure to share about the impact the trip had on your team, on your ministry partner, and on the community you served. Transformation is what short-term mission trips are all about!
- What is the next faithful step your church can take in supporting this ministry? Before you come back home, ask your host partner how your church can continue to support them. Make sure to ask how you can pray for their ministry and community, as well as if there are practical ways you can assist or encourage them. Have someone from your team share prayer requests and a vision for continuing to partner with this ministry.
Other ideas for group sharing
If you would rather try something a little different, consider these alternatives to the group presentation:
- Video: Put someone in charge of taking video throughout the trip. Use a video joiner app like VideoShow to put your clips together, choose a song that your team enjoyed singing in worship, and share the completed video with your church!
- Bulletin board display: Create a bulletin board display about your trip with pictures, written testimonies, and information about the partner ministry.
- Article for your church newsletter: Have someone on your team who is a gifted writer share about the trip from their perspective. This is a simple way to share a story that may inspire others to be involved in mission trips in the future!
- Scrapbook or Shutterfly album: Start a library of mission trip scrapbooks for future teams to look back on! It’s a great way to preserve memories that are part of your congregation’s story.
- Potluck: Invite your congregation for a meal and time of sharing! This is a great way to connect on a deeper level with family, friends, and donors who supported your team. Consider serving a dish from the region or country you served in!
Sharing your mission trip experience individually
Sharing your trip with your congregation as a team is important, but you might also want to share some of your experiences individually through photos, blog posts, social media, or just talking to friends and family. Many of the tips above apply to this kind of sharing as well: introduce people to your team and ministry partner, give them a rough outline of what you did, and talk about how you saw God at work. But you can also talk about how this experience shaped your personal beliefs, values, and goals.
One helpful and flexible way to think about sharing your individual experience is to tell stories. Write a social media post about a particularly meaningful project you completed on your trip, or tell your family members about a conversation you had with a member of your host ministry. How did each experience change you?
Be sure you have permission from people before posting photos of them on social media. It’s also a good idea to talk to your team leader before posting any photos of people from the host culture. And remember to always talk about the people, customs, and values of other cultures with respect.