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How to Choose a Short-Term Mission Trip

We know there’s a lot to think about when planning a short-term mission trip. With

so many options, it can be a little overwhelming to decide on which trip your group

should choose. Here are some helpful things to consider when deciding where to


Long-Term Strategy

Your trip should be connected to a larger ministry strategy that goes well beyond

the week you are there. Will you be partnering with missionaries who live there or

serving alongside local churches? If so, that’s great! But if the plan is for someone to

join you from the U.S. to lead your trip and then return home with you at the end of

the week, who is going to continue the ministry you began? Ministry is about

ongoing relationships and meeting the needs of people, and that can’t happen in a

week. Short-term trips are often a huge catalyst for long-term strategy, but short-

term trips should not stand on their own.

Reached or Unreached Context?

An unreached context is a setting in which less than 2% of the population are

evangelical Christians. Any people group or area that has more than 2% of the

population as evangelical Christians is considered to be reached. In the most simple,

general terms, groups serving in an unreached setting might be working to establish

the church, whereas groups in a reached setting might be working to strengthen the

church or build the church. Keep in mind that many unreached contexts are

unreached for a reason; they are places that can be hard to get to, unsafe, or hostile

to Christianity. For that reason, many youth trips focus on reached contexts, and

there is nothing wrong with that. After all, there are still many non-believers even in

a reached context, and there are always opportunities to share and show the love of

Christ with those who desperately need to hear it.

Trip Cost

What is covered in your trip cost? Many organizations offer some or all of these

details as part of their trips, but make sure you have a clear idea of what is provided!

- Meals

- Lodging

- Transportation (to the country as well as in the country)

- International traveler’s insurance

- Ministry supplies

- Training resources

- Visa fees? Entry fees? Exit fees?

- Any additional costs?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions so you know exactly what you are getting into!

Pray About It

This is not the cheesy or cliché thing to do. Your whole trip should be covered in

prayer from start to finish. Renowned missionary Samuel Zwemer, after spending

his whole life ministering to Muslims and authoring numerous books about his

ministry, revealed his most effective ministry strategy… prayer. You should begin

with prayer as well.

Our team at Servant Life would be honored to help your group prepare for a short-

term missions trip. Reach out to our office today and learn more about how you can

get involved!

Trying to decide which mission trip location is best for your team? Complete the survey below for a customized report from a member of our staff on which mission trip location would best fit the needs of you and your team! 

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