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
- Finalize trip participants and invite them to pre-trip meetings.
- Build a trip budget and determine what individual contributions will be (related: mission trip budgeting tips).
- Gather information on accommodations, meals, packing, and travel logistics.
- *Purchase flights and travel insurance.
- *Monitor travel and health risks with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization, and the U.S. Department of State or Government of Canada.
5 months before your trip
- Identify a co-leader and discuss shared responsibilities and emergency scenarios.
- Plan and begin pre-trip meetings and gather materials for trainings (related: pre-trip meeting planning). Consider including the following:
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.