What Goes Into Mission Trip Planning?
Like we mentioned previously, Logos Bible Teaching Ministry is planning four key mission trips in 2018.
We plan to go to Uganda, North Sudan, Somalia and Malaysia to distribute Bibles and discipleship material to the various home bible Churches located there.
This is an ambitious undertaking which is in line with our Logos Bible Agenda for 2018.
We mentioned some of the ways you can help us achieve our 2018 goal.
Through your donations, you can help place a brand new Bible in the hand of a soul desperate to receive the Logos Word of God.
Or you can give a one time gift of $200 to one of our mission trips.
If you are interested, please visit our donations page and become a partner in our Ministry.
For now, we would like to share with you what goes into mission trip planning.
Mission Trip Planning Basics.
Undertaking a mission trip is one of the most incredible things you can do.
It will literally transform your life.
As you enter another community, and see how they live, what they believe and how they can apply Christ to their lives, you will appreciate the religious freedoms you enjoy.
Stepping into another culture does more.
It helps you appreciate your own culture.
If you go on a mission trip, you may go to communities that don’t have running water, electricity or modern transport.
Some of them don’t even have brick houses.
Yet their joy and positivity defies ours in the western world.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
You’d be surprised that the communities that need Bibles the most are right under your nose.
If you live in Europe, you know that many Churches are being closed down and being turned into bars, clubs and restaurants.
It seems unbelievable, but the most popular book in the world is the least popular book in many European countries.
You would do well to make it your personal ministry to buy a number of Bibles and distribute them to these restaurants, old people’s homes, hospitals and schools.
Whether they use them or not is up to them. You’ve done your part.
But, let’s say you want to go on a mission trip….
What do you do? How do you plan for it?
Well, here are some pointers…
Prayer is first and foremost the most important thing you can do in planning a mission trip.
You are about to embark on an assignment that the devil knows will disrupt his plans.
You best believe he will do anything and everything to ensure that you fail – either by causing you to fall sick, destroying your funding, causing strife among fellow partners/colleagues or sabotaging the actual trip.
The only way to prevent him from doing anything is by prayer.
You must pray.
I recommend that you pray with fasting for at least 21 days before a mission trip.
You may think it sounds severe, but I have heard of so many calamities happening during mission trips that it’s no longer funny.
In 2010, my friend Simon Carolls, attempted to go on a mission trip to Nigeria.
I say ‘attempted’ because it didn’t work out.
Upon entry to Nigeria at the airport, he was frustrated and mistreated by customs officials, who demanded to know why he was carrying drugs (he had carried medicines for the local dispensary).
Eventually, he was let go. On a five hour trip by road to the local Church that invited him, he was captured by rebels and held in solitary confinement for close to three months. He was only released when his captors received their ransom payment.
I’m not saying that this will happen to you.
I’m also not trying to scare you.
I’m only saying a missions trip is pretty much a spiritual assignment and the forces of the invisible evil kingdom will do everything to sabotage you, even if you are going to New York.
You better be prepared.
Cover yourself with prayer.
You also need to cover your family in prayer. You will leave them behind and the devil knows that getting you distracted with all sorts of troubles happening back home. Your first thought will be to rush back home.
Cover your family, home, finances, person, colleagues and assignment with the blood of Jesus Christ.
2.What’s Your Main Objective?
This could be a personal objective.
Why do you want to do a mission trip?
Is it to get closer to God, to do your part in the Great Commission, or be a blessing in the society? Is it to bring 20 people to Christ?
Whatever your reason, I recommend you write it down so you don’t get distracted with all the activities of the missions trip.
This will help determine whether your mission trip was a success.
3. Know Your Mission Area
Do your research well. Most of the time, nothing really prepares us for what we see during a mission trip.
Who are you ministering to? Do you have a local contact? Who are the local people? What do they believe? Have they heard the Gospel before? Are they receptive to missionaries? What level of need do they have? What’s the geography of the local area? How will you get there? Are you ministering to a community in a regional or urban area?
Have the answers to these questions before you embark on your mission trip.
4. Contact Your Local Embassy
This is pretty much a mandatory task, but it’s good to remind you of it.
Contact the Embassy (if you’re traveling to a foreign country) and alert them of your mission trip.
Inform them of all the details of your trip – when you are arriving, how long you will be staying, who your local contact will be.
This helps in cases where an emergency happens, (like my friend above.)
You can arrive at your mission center, only to find out that the greater need is something else.
If you are not prepared, you can feel helpless as soon as you begin, leaving you in a state of confusion.
5. Prepare Your Core And Sub-Core Activity List
This is linked to the point above.
This is what I mean by a core activity list.
In our case, we’re planning mission trips to Uganda, Somalia, Malaysia and Sudan. Our core objective is to distribute bibles, minister to the local missionaries and visit some local Churches.
That’s our core activity.
We do know, however, from past experience, that even though this is our main objective, we may arrive there and find that the local people need something else. It could be that their main pressing need is medicine.
This could be their desperate need!
We would then need to inquire from the local authorities and find out what their pressing need is and see if this is related to our core objective.
This means we should also prepare to carry medicines, vaccines, food, clothes, books, shoes and baby supplies.
This means that we are able to communicate the love of Christ by offering much needed services before they are even receptive to receiving our Bibles!
Suppose they don’t understand English and we carried English Bibles??
6. Prepare To Do Like The Romans When In Rome
This is perhaps the most important point of all.
If you are undertaking a mission trip, understand that you are entering a new culture.
If you go with preconceived perceptions, then you may come across as arrogant.
I’ll give you an example.
In most African countries, they greet visitors by shaking hands.
In our Western culture, shaking hands is not a biggie. Many people actually decline to make physical contact, and not out of pride.
In African culture, this will be taken as an offense.
A common act of welcome in African cultures is being offered a plate of food and drink.
In fact, if you visit multiple homes during the day, every home will offer you food and drink! If you decline what is offered to you, you disrespect your host. Not good!
If the locals walk barefooted and you are scared of getting your feet dirty, they will not respect you.
The truth is, in any culture you go to, they will watch and observe you before deciding to accept you and whatever message you bring.
Become like the members of your community without compromising your Gospel message.
I mean, if you are ministering the Gospel to a community where the young boys take marijuana, you shouldn’t take marijuana too!
When in Rome, do like the Romans do.
7. Carry A First Aid Kit
After carrying out many mission trips, I can tell you this will be your most handy piece of equipment. It will save you in more cases than one.
Make sure your first aid kit is well equipped with bandages, gauzes, plaster, sprain spray, syringes, needles, blood pressure kit, chocolate, needles and disinfectant.
8. Carry Out A Medical Check
Like in the case of any travel, carry out a comprehensive medical check-up before you go.
9. Be God’s Vessel
A mission trip is powerful because you could be the only Jesus some people will ever see.
Before you undertake one, ask God for wisdom. Surrender yourself to Him as a vessel to do what He wants, not what you want.
You will see God do some amazing things through you if you are fully surrendered to him.
I have personally seen people healed of some inexplicable illnesses, all because we laid hands on the sick and prayed for them.
Were they healed because we were special? No!
It was simply God expressing His love, power and grace through willing vessels.
He gets all the glory!
This particular incident happened in Namibia in 2014.
The next day, they brought their entire family to see us and sat through every one of our evening night prayer meetings after that.
It goes without saying that the whole family gave their lives to Christ before the end of the week.
In my opinion, every Christian should undertake at least two mission trips in their lifetime.
Firstly, you may be the only Jesus some people will ever see.
Secondly, it will transform your lifeview.
Third, you will bring such impact and blessing to people who may never be able to repay you, that you will have earned yourself an eternal reward without measure.
Fourth, experiencing various cultures will give you a healthy appreciation for your religious freedoms and liberties in your part of the world.
Five, you will draw closer to God is such amazing ways, it will beat being in Church every Sunday. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t attend Church, but an experience like this is absolutely life-changing.
Last but not least, you will begin to rely and depend on God to such a great extent, it transform your life.
I hope these pointers will help you prepare for an eventual mission trip.
Most importantly, pray over it.
If you feel God preparing you for a mission trip, feel free to share your thoughts and anticipation with us.
I pray these mission trip planning essentials will help you prepare you for this inspiring undertaking.
Leave a comment below, let us know who you are, what mission trip you are preparing for and we’ll get in touch with you.
We would love to cover you in prayer as God prepares to use you for His glory.
To Him be all the glory forever and ever. Amen!