Pray about your mission trip
A mission trip is different from other humanitarian work. Often faith-based. So, a good practice is to start, end, and remain in prayer. This will help you discern your purpose and direction and overall goal for the trip. The organization you partner with should center around the work of God and illustrate this in a measurable and quantifiable way.
Many organizations, groups, nonprofits, and agencies unfortunately get into this sector as a business venture first and forget totally about the ministry.
It saddened me to see lack of prayer throughout the entirety of a recent mission trip to Uganda. Although organized and led by a pastor, there was hardly any prayer, if any for the group and those served.
I strongly urge prayer as the first step to help you identify the right leadership and religious group to support for your missionary work.
Rely on God to guide where and when you should conduct your work. Think about your own skills and how you can best share your talent and gifts with others.
Once you’ve identified potential agencies or groups to volunteer with, research and research some more.
Talk to others who’ve done this type of work and seek counsel.
When exploring organizations, groups, and nonprofits, research their statement of faith.
Make sure their vision aligns to yours and any desired outcomes you hope to achieve. And, review post-trip debrief from those who’ve joined prior mission trips. You can find these online. Or, they are available to you by the organization.
Take all feedback, or lack thereof, as guidance for yourself on whether to proceed.
Be aware of those who aren’t upfront. Especially, any unwillingness to provide detailed information about the trip.
Failing to offer specifics or an itinerary shows inexperience and considered a red flag.
Talk with missionaries you know and trust and ask for recommendations. If you don’t know any missionaries, conduct a quick search online for those in your area and perform outreach.
People who are serious about the work of God are truthful, transparent, and humble.
Make sure you’re a good fit
It’s not just about the group or organization you’re considering to volunteer with. Equally important is to make sure you are a good fit too. You’re selecting them just as much as they’re selecting you.
Will your desires and essential needs be met on the mission trip? Does the organization, group or nonprofit allow your input as related to your assignment? If this is not the case and is important to you, rethink the selection.
As a solo female traveler, ensure your views are welcome. Respected. Treated fairly and safe among male dominated groups.
Are missionaries in the organization?
If you’re planning to go on a missionary trip and the organization has no missionaries, reconsider. Click To Tweet
Communicate freely with past attendees and missionaries in an organization for perspective. It is hugely important to obtain an accurate perspective of the positives and negatives of an organization before you journey abroad to serve. This is important as you’ll be under the leadership and authority of the organization you’re traveling with.
Do your homework upfront to minimize negative impact.
If the organizer is unwilling to answer questions, this is not the right mission trip for you.
Remember, every pastor was not called to serve. And, everyone in the church isn’t Godly.
Which goes back to my first point. Pray for discernment.
It is important to understand the theological orientation and overall persona of the individual(s) leading the mission trip.
Some mission trips are no more than glorified charities. Avoid them if your ultimate goal is truly that of missionary work.
Be sure you have distinction between the two before committing.