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How to Plan an International Mission Trip

We know that planning an international mission trip might feel intimidating, but our team at Servant Life is here to walk with you every step of the way. If you're interested in an international trip or if you have questions, please send us a message or give us a call, and we'd love to connect further.

We make it easy to plan your next mission trip!

1. Pray about a trip location.

Where is the Lord leading you to go? Trips in Latin America are great for first-time groups because they feel more accessible: they require less travel time, are more affordable, are often in similar time zones, and some of your students might be learning Spanish in school. Consider which trips offer ministry opportunities that might be a good fit for your church, such as VBS, sports outreach, evangelism, light construction, and more. Our team can help talk through some options that might be a good fit for your group.

2. Announce the trip to your church.

Host an interest meeting to tell people about the trip. Cast vision for the overall ministry opportunity and share details such as what you can expect to be doing and estimated trip cost. Announce the trip as early as possible so people can begin praying and planning accordingly!

3. Establish trip deadlines.

Let people know when an initial deposit would be due, as well as future payments. Sometimes an initial deposit of $100 per person might only represent a small part of the overall cost, but it will help you know who is really in, and that money can be used to lock in an airfare option. Also encourage team members to apply for a passport sooner rather than later. We send checklists to our teams periodically to keep you on track with details such as registration, airfare, paperwork, and payments.

4. Secure airfare.

We work with a travel agent to make this as easy as possible for you. Most of the time we can reserve airfare space with an initial deposit in order to lock in good prices before flight costs increase, and you don't have to fill in the passenger names or make the full payment until much later. (If you have your own mission trip planned but need help with airfare, check out our Mission Assist program).

5. Help team members with fundraising.

From custom t-shirt sales to writing letters of support, we have some great resources at to point you in the right direction!

6. Host training sessions.

We recommend a few training sessions to cover topics such as why we go on mission, how to share your faith, how to prepare for culture shock, and how to be culturally sensitive. Servant Life offers these resources to all of our teams to make sure they show up well-prepared and ready to serve! One of the biggest frustrations of missionaries hosting short-term teams is when people show up unprepared to share the gospel. Make sure your team is ready to be a blessing and to advance the ministry of the locals, and that your team won't be an unprepared hindrance to ongoing ministry.

7. Make final preparations.

We generally have a good idea of what you’ll be doing on the trip well in advance, but your exact schedule won’t come into focus until closer to the trip itself. You’ll work directly with the mission partner in that country to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for everything that is expected of you during that week. If you're expected to host a VBS or to preach in church, make sure everyone is prepared beforehand.

8. Go!

After months of planning and preparing, it will eventually be time to lead your team to the mission field. If your team is faithful to show and share the love of Christ, you can leave the results in His hands and trust the Lord to do an incredible work both in your group and through your group as lives are changed for eternity!

We have walked many churches from start to finish through the process of going on an international mission trip. If you feel the Lord leading you in this direction, give us a call (800.772.2616) or send us a message, and we'd love to connect further and see if any of our trips feel like a good fit for your group!

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