What is a Mission Trip and Why You Should Go On One
You may have heard about mission trips from your church, school, or social circles and are curious to learn more. Mission trips are impactful and life-changing experiences that involve helping others while exploring your faith. This article will teach you what you need to know about mission trips, possible reasons to go on one, and how to connect with an organization or trip leader.
What is a Mission Trip?
There are two main types of mission trips: religious and non-religious. In both options, participants undergo deep self-exploration, make a positive impact, and learn about other communities while completing volunteer work.
However, Christian mission trips, which will be the focus of this article, always involve a component of faith.
Christian Mission Trip Overview
Christian mission trips are opportunities for Christians to serve the world around them through community outreach. Churches or religious organizations typically arrange them.
All sorts of people go on Christian mission trips; high school students, college students, retirees, seniors, and everyone in between. Some trips are designed for a specific age group or skill set, so check with your church or religious organization about which trips are most suitable. For example, there are youth mission trips for younger kids or medical mission trips for nurses and doctors.
What Do You Do on a Mission Trip?
During the mission trip, participants will connect with the local communities, helping them, learning from them, and sharing their experiences with Christ.
Your exact role will vary depending on the type of mission. Usually, mission trips focus on one type of community project, such as teaching English, painting churches, helping with natural disaster recovery, building homes or medical clinics, or providing other services needed in the area.
The community service component is complemented by prayer, religious discussions, and other faith-based activities. More examples of Christian mission trips include church planting and Bible education, also known as Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Usually, Christian mission trips have a set daily schedule. Your day will involve service, prayer sessions, activities with local people, reflection, and entertainment, often organized by the group or congregation running the trip.
Length and Destination
Missions vary in length and location. Short-term mission trips can be around one week to one month, while long-term assignments can last up to 2 years or more.
Trips arranged by church groups or Christian university organizations typically lean more toward the short-term end. However, if you’re looking to spend more time away, you can check out other mission trip providers and organizations, which we will review later on.
Additionally, trips take place both near and far. For example, many Christian mission trips go abroad to developing countries, like parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. However, you can also choose a closer destination, like an inner city near you. Get in contact with your church or Christian college to see what destinations and types of projects are available.
Reasons to Go on a Mission Trip
Mission trips are eye-opening experiences that provide personal and spiritual fulfillment, while helping communities in need. The reasons to go on a mission trip are endless and can often be very personal. The following section will name a few key motivations for embarking on a Christian mission trip.
- Gain a New Perspective
Mission trips teach you that there’s more to the world than what you’ve previously seen. It teaches you how to put others before yourself and the true meaning of selflessness. It may even get you thinking about your higher purpose.
- Learn Valuable Skills
Whether you’re building a house, teaching English, or helping with disaster recovery, you’re going to learn new, valuable life skills. In addition, you’ll discover capabilities and things about yourself that you never knew you had!
- Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Many missions take place in foreign countries. The language, culture, food, people, and environment might be new to you. You’ll be entirely out of your comfort zone and immersed in something unfamiliar, which will help you grow.
- Cross-Cultural Exchange
Related to the previous point, an immense amount of cultural exchange will occur on mission trips abroad. You’ll make connections with people from entirely different backgrounds than yours. Experiencing culture will help you reflect on yourself, who you are, where you come from, and in which direction you want to go, all while learning something new.
- Connect with God
A key part of Christianity is helping and serving others. Mission trips do just that and beyond. In addition to completing a service project, you will participate in faith-based activities and share your love for God.
How Do You Go on a Mission Trip?
A good starting point is to check with your local church or university (if you’re a student). If you can’t go with either of those groups, you could ask another church in your area about their programs. Make some calls and get an idea of what options are available. You can also check out organizations that lead faith-based mission trips.
Once you know your options, consider what type of trip best suits your needs, timeline, and preferences. Ask yourself what type of project you are looking for, where you want to go, who you want to serve with, and when and for how long you’re able to go. Then, choose the program that most closely matches your answers.
Make the Most out of Your Trip
A mission trip is your chance to make tangible and intangible differences in communities that need your help. So go on a mission trip with your whole heart. Challenge yourself, serve others, try something new, and give, give, give!
You’ll feel greatly satisfied knowing your positive impact on another person’s life. Then, reflect on your mission trip experience and talk about it with others back at home.