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Mission Trip Team Planning Checklist

Use this mission trip planning checklist to stay on schedule while planning your mission trip. Items with an asterisk (*) apply only to international trips.

10-12 months before your trip

  • Pray for God’s leading and provision as you begin the planning process.
  • Identify potential host partners and reach out to discuss needs and availability.
  • Confirm host partner and discuss dates, group size, and potential on-the-ground work/ ministry.
  • *Identify visa and vaccination requirements.

7-9 months before your trip

  • Announce trip to congregation and begin recruitment.
  • Provide instructions and a deadline for trip applicants.
  • Plan fundraising events (here’s a few fundraising tips).
  • Schedule pre-trip meetings.
  • *Identify a time for the host partner to join a pre-trip meeting via video call to lead cultural awareness training.
  • *Make sure anyone without a passport applies for one (as well as those whose passports will expire within 6 months of the day you’ll fly back).

6 months before your trip

5 months before your trip

3-4 months before your trip

  • Collect all forms related to liability, medical information, emergency contacts, and parent/ guardian permission (liability forms should stay with the church office).
  • Recruit prayer partners from the congregation for each team member (related: ideas for involving your church in your trip).
  • Plan church send-off with pastors and worship leaders (see our suggested commissioning litany).
  • Plan how money will be handled on the trip and how you’ll account for spending afterwards. (Will a team leader have a church credit card? Will a team leader use a personal card and request reimbursement after the trip? How much cash will you bring?)
  • *Prepare your team for flying internationally and crossing borders. Be aware of additional requirements for minors, and take steps to get adequate permissions from guardians.
  • *Check TSA if flying from the U.S. or CATSA if flying from Canada for travel guidelines.
  • *Acquire a copy of the front page of each participant’s passport. Bring copies with you on the trip and leave copies with the church office.

1-2 months before your trip

  • Confirm and distribute a daily schedule for the trip, including travel to and from the site.
  • Collect final donations and team member contributions.
  • If the team will be purchasing food and preparing meals, assign a point person or two to oversee those responsibilities. Ensure they have a plan for meals and support from team participants on the ground. (Make a schedule for meal prep and cleanup throughout the trip.)
  • Purchase any supplies needed prior to departure.
  • If driving to the host site, bring a map with travel instructions. Cell and GPS service may not always be available.
  • Identify a time for the mission team to share about their trip after they return.
  • *If requested by the partner, transfer funds for on-the-ground expenses.
  • *Plan airport drop-off before the trip and pick-up afterwards.

After your trip

  • Debrief the trip with team members and fellow leaders.
  • Follow up with the host partner, expressing gratitude and commitment to continued partnership.
  • Share about your trip with your church and supporters.
  • Find a time for your team to gather and serve together in your own community.
Want more trip planning support? Our short-term mission team would love to help.