Tag Archive | Missions Trip

Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Next Missions Trip

Top 10 Ways To Ruin Your Next Missions Trip
Dale Moon

Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a bad short-term mission’s experience. Most times, this is not the fault of the situation or organization. Often, the root cause is the short-termer’s own attitudes and expectations.

To maximize your short-term experience, AVOID doing the things on this Top Ten checklist:

1. Keep narrowly focused on “spiritual” activities. Since you want to win people to Christ, focus on only the loftiest of things. Avoid menial work like data entry, loading trucks, or working on buildings. Such things will distract you from your primary task.

2. To tighten up your schedule, eliminate personal prayer and Bible study. You will be so rushed away that you probably won’t have time. Besides, can’t you get all the spiritual food you need from group devotions and from church services?

3. Stay organized and on schedule. Set detailed goals before you go. Establish schedules and refuse to deviate from them. Do not accept delays, lastminute changes, and impromptu visits and invitations. Those things will just keep you from getting things done for God.

4. Help the missionaries by pointing out their mistakes. Bring them up to date on what you’ve heard are the latest trends in missions. Some missionaries are stubborn. So, you may need to enlist some support among the nationals for your views about how things should be run.

5. Get involved romantically with someone. Being away from family and friends makes this the perfect time to get involved romantically. While it may distract you slightly from the work, you will be able to expose national Christians to America’s progressive dating customs.

6. Don’t embarrass yourself by trying to pick up the local language. People are always saying that English is spoken all over the world. So, insist that those people use it with you.

7. Immediately begin pointing out your team members’ faults. Time is short. It will be difficult for people to make the needed changes if you don’t help them right from the start. Focus your helpful criticisms on team leaders.

8. As you go all out in warring against dangerous germs, don’t eat any of the local food. To be sure, you may miss some friendly opportunities with “the natives,” but you’ll keep those awful germs at bay!

9. Keep your distance from team members who couldn’t raise their full support. They may try to mooch off you. Don’t give in. Sweating over finances builds faith!

10. When you return home, scold your home church and friends for their lack of commitment, for their weak prayers, and for their inadequate giving to missions. This may be one of the few times you will have their deferential respect. Make the most of it.

If you’ll do all of these Top Ten things (or even some of them), I can promise you a bad short-term mission trip.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

Posted in AIS File Library, MM - Men's Ministry0 Comments

10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Going on an Overseas Missions Trip

10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Going On an Overseas Missions Trip
J. Lee Grady

One of the greatest joys in my life is ministering in foreign countries. Since I surrendered to a call to missions 15 years ago, I’ve visited 29 nations and developed relationships with dozens of pastors and leaders who now consider me their friend and brother. Missions is at the heart of our Christian faith, and I believe every church should be actively engaged in both foreign and local missions so we can advance the gospel of Jesus in our generation.

But just like everything else in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to engage in mission work. I’ve learned from my own mistakes�and I’ve also seen some sad examples of short-term missions gone awry. If you are considering a short-term or long-term mission trip, avoid these pitfalls:

1. Acting like a spoiled American – If you are traveling to a developing country, here is Rule No. 1: Prepare for delays, cold showers, big bugs and scorpions, power outages, unusual toilets, crazy traffic and strange food. Make a decision before you leave that you won’t let one complaint come out of your mouth. Be flexible and gracious. Focus on the positive, soak in the beauty of the country and come home with a renewed gratitude for your blessings at home.

2. Talking down to people. – You are not going overseas to teach poor, ignorant foreigners what you know. If that’s your attitude, do everyone a favor and stay home! You are going to serve. Most of what I know about ministry I learned from humble people I met in other countries. Whether you are teaching, preaching, building orphanages or feeding the poor, get under the people and wash their feet. And expect to learn powerful lessons from the people you are visiting.

3. Building relationships based on money. – People in poor countries tend to think all Americans are rich, and they will be tempted to look to us instead of God to provide. Don’t wave money around, don’t flaunt expensive watches or jewelry, and don’t hand out cash to everyone you meet. Let your new friends know you want a real friendship with them that does not hinge on finances.

4. Making demands. – I know prosperity preachers who expect royal treatment when they go to foreign countries. One man told his host he needed a hotel that costs $1,000 a night, in a nation where most people live in cramped, Soviet-style apartments. The apostle Paul modeled a different approach, and he was willing to live among people at their level (see 1 Thess. 2:9-10). If Jesus was willing to enter this world in a filthy manger, we should be willing to set aside our expensive tastes.

5. Breaking promises. – When you connect deeply with a local pastor or congregation overseas, you will fall in love with them and you will want to do everything possible to help them. But don’t promise things you can’t deliver. Always remind them, and yourself, that we must pray for His provision and wait on Him to answer. And if you do enter into a partnership, always honor the promises you made.

6. Taking team members who are not committed to Jesus. – I know of a zealous young woman who went on a mission trip to Africa with her church and ended up sleeping with a guy from that country. How does that happen? Anyone who goes with you on a trip needs a background check and a pastor’s recommendation. Mission trips should never be viewed as opportunities for “religious tourism” by immature people who crave a globetrotting adventure. The behavior of your team members should honor Christ.

7. Working with people overseas without thoroughly investigating them. – I get requests almost weekly from foreign pastors who want me to visit their church, support their programs or do evangelistic crusades in their villages. In Pakistan, some unscrupulous Christians troll the Internet looking for churches that will send them money. Some people posing as pastors talk na�ve Americans into wiring funds for a trip, and then they vanish. If you are going to do mission work, you will need the gift of discernment. Don’t get bamboozled by a con artist posing as “beloved brother Najib.”

8. Using a “hit and run” approach to missions. – When I visit a country I almost always end up going back because I build relationships with ministries. This week I’m on my fourth visit to Barranquilla, Colombia, where I am helping to develop a women’s shelter. Mission work should be a long-term partnership. If your church is planning to start a mission program, don’t just scatter your seed here and there. Prayerfully invest in a few places and let the Holy Spirit connect you with those people for a lifetime.

9. Misrepresenting your work. – We laugh about the preacher who was “evangelastically speaking” about the crowds he attracted in Uganda. But exaggeration is lying. There is nothing more obnoxious than a Christian who inflates statistics to draw attention or raise funds. If you build your ministry on half-truths you will have cracks in your foundation. Be honest, be accountable and tell the truth.

10. Focusing on numbers. – There is huge pressure in missionary work to prove our effectiveness by counting heads. But God’s kingdom is not about crowds, it is about making disciples (see Matt. 28:19-20). Some of my most powerful moments on the mission field were in small meetings where God changed a few lives forever, and then those people changed more lives. I’m not impressed when someone says 5,000 people prayed to receive Jesus. I want to know if those converts were followed-up and plugged into churches for discipleship.

I hope you will become more passionate about taking the message of Christ to the world. But as you pack your bags for your mission trip, leave your unneeded “baggage” at home and go with a humble, teachable heart.

J. Lee Grady, is the former editor of, Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter@leegrady. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, atthemordecaiproject.org.
From: www.chrismamag.org web site. February 2015.

The above article, “10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Going On an Overseas Mission Trip” was written by J. Lee Grady. The article was excerpted from www.chrismamag.org.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

Posted in AIS File Library, MI - Missions Ministry0 Comments

A Real Missions Trip

A Real Missions Trip
Jill M. Richardson

Think you can’t pull off a family missions experience? Meet a family that will prove you wrong.

Are you sure you’ll be safe?” “Maybe you should try something smaller first,” When we told friends and family we were thinking about taking a family missions trip, the general reaction was less than enthusiastic. They thought we were three seats short of a full flight to pack up our grade-school age kids and travel to the other side of the world with a group of strangers just to help out at an orphanage. Did we really think our girls could and should minister beside their parents so far from home, eating, sleeping, and (worse) going to the bathroom in strange places?

Well, yes.

Traditionally, short-term missions are the province of youth groups and adults who want the chance to minister to other cultures without quitting their day jobs, if you will. But Adam Henry of the relief and development organization Food for the Hungry says that’s starting to change. “More and more, families are beginning to inquire about the possibilities of serving together,” says Henry. “I see it as beneficial – a child able to see parents serve the Lord. Children become world Christians.”

My husband and I had talked about the idea for three years, but it never seemed to feel quite right. Yet as our girls got older, I saw them adapting more to our relatively easy life in the suburbs. Yes, they went to church every week and learned the evils of sin, but what about the evils of complacency? I feared that our culture of prosperity and instant gratification would slowly numb them into being careless Christians, unaware of and unconcerned with the hurting world beyond their comfortable lives.

We also felt our kids needed to experience their faith in action, to discover that they didn’t have to grow up before they could be ministers. Pastor Eric Spangler, Director of Mobilization for Free Methodist World Missions, took his children ages 4-12 to India for that very reason. He says, “We hoped our children would gain a larger perspective of the world and the kingdom of God, as well as a sense for the lives of those who suffer.”

And so last October, our family of five (Mom, Dad, and three girls ages 6, 10, and 11) were our way to Beijing, China, for a two-week adventure. None of us returned home spiritual giants, but the experience made us certain of one thing: We’ll do it again. Because of their time with Chinese children, our three girls have indeed become “world Christians” in ways we never imagined.

The First Step
Once we decided to pursue a family missions trip, we had to figure out where to go and what to do once we got there. To find the right location, I took the easy route and surfed the Net for “short-term missions.” I narrowed down those results with a few logistic issues. We probably needed to go someplace close no trans-Atlantic flights for our three girls, all of whom deal with some degree of ADHD. It had to be affordable. I also had some specifically family-oriented questions: 1) Is the area safe? 2) Can all family members participate in the ministry? 3) Is the agency open to sending families?

When I saw the opportunity to work in an orphanage, I knew it was perfect. Then I saw the place. China. China? Seriously, God? What happened to close, affordable, and easy? But it didn’t take long for God to let me know that none of those things were hurdles for him. Okay, I prayed, China it is.

In the Field
Our two-week mission with The Sowers International (www.sower.org) included two parts. We spent days going into Chinese classrooms to help them practice English by telling about ourselves. Their questions often led us to share our beliefs.

After school and on weekends, we assisted in an orphanage run by a Christian couple, bonding with the 35 children whose backgrounds we could never have imagined. The orphans spoke minimal English, but despite this, our children helped them with their homework, taught them songs, did crafts with them, and raced them along the Yellow River.

Becca, our oldest, gravitated to the nursery where three little girls with cleft palates smiled at her touch. She held them, rocked them, and even let them spit up on her with none of her characteristic “eew-gross” declarations. Becca is typically rather shy and reserved. She also has Tourette Syndrome, which causes her to be extremely sensitive and easily overwhelmed. As I watched her with the infants, I could see her mind working to match the unthinkable act of abandoning such beautiful babies with the reality that some mother felt the need to do just that.

When we came home, I asked Becca if her experience changed her. She said, “I’m not so shy to help people. Before I was too scared. Now I know if someone needs help, I can do it.” Becca still knows one girl can’t change the world, but she knows one girl can hold a motherless baby. One girl can e-mail a Chinese orphan who can’t have a Bible but can have a Christian friend. One girl can tell a class full of Chinese children why she came and nod at their awestruck questions. “You believe in God? Why do you care about orphans?” “Yesu ai ni,” she assured them, because Jesus loves you. One girl, she now figures, can do whatever God has for her to do.

On the other hand, Emily, our 10-year-old, has rarely felt overwhelmed by anything. Hers is the confidence that asserts, “I don’t need the instructions, Mom!” Emily, whose energy and volume could power a 747, discovered in China what she had been hearing for years:�God made me special to do what only I can do. It was Emily who figured out she could teach English with a rousing rendition of “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” It was Emily who led the other kids hiking up the side of the mountain. It was Emily who met a group of girls on the street, invited them to have dinner with us, and introduced us to their families.

Emily, who is forever being told to calm down, quiet down, and slow down at home, learned the beauty of channeling her gifts into ministry suited to her. While she ponders where that ministry will take her, Emily’s expanded worldview makes China and its children a part of her that simply comes out in whatever she does. Guests at our County Fair last summer viewed an unusual display on “China’s Forgotten Children,” Emily’s “own” 35 orphans, now a part of her heart.

I know much of what Beth’s 6-year-old mind took in won’t be revealed in immediate, concrete ways. But one thing Beth knew from the first trilingual announcement on the airplane�these people are different. They speak different. They look different. They drive differently, go to different schools, and eat different food. Her second conclusion followed quickly”different” can be a blast.

She ate the food. She pulled her Pooh Bear suitcase along without help. She smiled and shrugged when two strange women took her into their merchant booth and began brushing and caressing her long brown hair. She accepted being the center of attention in every classroom we visited. Shy and quiet herself, she drew the quieter children into her orbit. She also served as an inspiration to the rest of our team, who joked, “We can’t complain about anything getting rough, or we’ll look worse than a 6-year-old!” Through her daily unconscious attitude of “adjust and appreciate” quite different from her at-home attitude! Beth taught the other eleven of us how to be a missionary: Become as a little child.

Preparing the Kids
Beyond the physical preparations, shots, passports, clothes, etc. a family requires special social, emotional, and spiritual preparation. Children in particular need to know what to expect: No TV, Nintendo, or swimming pools, and calling your best friend to chat will pretty much be out of the question. The restrooms (if any) will be “unusual,” as will the food. But we found that our kids adapted quickly. After the first crisis over the very public bathrooms, our girls said, “It works for them, must be okay for us too.”

As best we could, we prepared them for the pain they would see. Little hearts are blessedly tender, and they don’t understand the complexities involved in the struggles of people around the world. The stories of how the children lived before coming to the orphanage broke our girls’ hearts, in a good but painful awakening. Children ministering to children, however, can impact everyone profoundly. Adults often move in with pity and helplessness, but children do instinctively what should be done. They treat their new friends like equals, with respect, interest, and love. Repeatedly we witnessed this truth,  children can open doors that adults cannot.

For this reason, many short-termers and agencies recommend choosing a mission where the work itself includes families or children. Pastor Spangler’s family conducted a pastor’s family retreat in India, and his four children ministered to the nationals’ children in ways their parents couldn’t. “Whatever you do,” warns Adam Henry, “don’t sign on for a trip that employs the parents and relegates the kids to spectators.” Though my husband is a doctor, we did not seek out a medical mission for that very reason. We wanted a hands-on experience for everyone, ages 6 to 40.

Our most imperative preparation, however, was prayer. We prayed for China. We prayed for all of our financial support needs. Spiritual lessons don’t start when the plane lands. From the first investigation through coming home and beyond, opportunities for trust, obedience, and answered prayer abound.

Coming Home
We knew our trip had succeeded when, after the 13-hour plane ride home, all three girls asked, “When will we do it again?” Now, months later, we keep the memories of our time in China alive with prayers, talks, e-mails, and gifts to the orphanage.

For Christmas this year, we gave Becca a card from Samaritan’s Purse that read “A gift was given in honor of Becca to provide loving care for orphans.” I watched her eyes get moist and I knew that, much as she loved the new “Rippin’ Rocket Roller Coaster” set she had opened first, she would have traded it for that card. These orphans are not pictures on a flyer or names pulled off of a website. For our girls, these children on the other side of the planet have faces and names.

I want to assure you that we are not some ideal family. We have real struggles, real challenges, and real excuses for not heading off to a foreign country for two weeks. But, believe me, if we can do this, you can, too.

Choosing a place: We found that the place is less important than the work you’ll do once you get there. It’s best to set up your trip through an established mission organization with missionaries already ministering in the area. If your church or denomination supports a missionary, consider connecting with that family. Food for the Hungry’s Adam Henry also suggests contacting different agencies directly, attending a missions conference, searching the Internet, and basically keeping your ears, eyes, and hearts open to God’s leading. Something will surface that fits God’s intention for you.

Documents and details: Passports take time. Rushing them is very expensive and not always possible. After our kids got a good laugh out of my expired passport photo, we made the trek to the county courthouse to apply for new ones (applications can also be found online at, www.state.gov). The sending agency will usually deal with your visas.

Health: We found no immunizations required for China, but a conversation with a travel health professional turned up a few suggested ones, plus a lot of good advice on food. Some of the shots take six months to complete, so again, planning ahead paid off. Of course, no kid likes shots, but for our kids, the excitement about the trip (and the knowledge that mom had to get more than they did!) eased the sting.

Packing: Listen when they say “pack light.” You never know what kind of terrain you’ll have to deal with, so try to stick with a backpack per person and maybe one extra bag that Mom and Dad can handle easily. Packing light saved us the stress of exhausted kids who couldn’t haul their bags one more step.

Communication: We tried to get to know our teammates by e-mail before coming face-to-face. In particular, we gave our team leader an honest assessment of the girls’ personalities and talked through any issues they might present.

Research: Giving the kids responsibility to learn and then teach us about landmarks, culture, and food helped them prepare, too. Since we were homeschooling Becca that year, she studied China and acted as our fount of information. Everyone at the local library knew where we were going by the three-foot stack of books she checked out every other week.

Language: Even young children can learn a few necessary phrases: “Jesus loves you,” “Thank you,” “Hello,” “Where’s the bathroom?” Not shy at all about their new knowledge, the girls still say “xie xie” (thank you) to the Asian man at the dry cleaners and at the Chinese restaurant, earning them very surprised looks. (Admittedly, Chinese gave me some pause. Who knew if, by a slight change in pitch, I might say, “I wish you a bat up your nose” rather than “I wish you happiness”? It could happen.)

Jill Richardson, a homemaker,writer, and pastor, lives in Illinois.

www.todayschristianwoman.com web site. February 2015.

The above article, “A Real Missions Trip” was written by Jill M. Richardson. The article was excerpted from www.todayschristianwoman.com.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

Posted in AIS File Library, MI - Missions Ministry0 Comments

Making The Most Of Your Youth Mission Trip

Making The Most Of Your Youth Mission Trip
By Neal Benson

As I sit shotgun in the van on the way home from our Spring Break mission trip to Mexico I just started reflecting on what made this trip so amazing. Yes, the 16-minute border wait on the way home will make you smile, but what did we do right that made our team smile the entire trip? Having led multiple mission trips, here are some things that our team has implemented to make our trips more successful (maybe one day I will write something on “How not to lead a mission trip” but not this year).

* Prepare your team.
This year we started plenty ahead of time. This allows the students, adult leaders, and families in your church who want to come to come. Most people want/need ample lead-time before the trip to get prepared; respect that and plan ahead so that you are prepared. When you are prepared then everyone on the team can be prepared. This will allow you the time to adjust when the plans need to change; and trust me they will.
Know your trip.
When you know who this trip will serve, what people can expect, what kind of work you will be doing, and things of that nature, it helps you know who this trip is designed for. For example: If you’re team is going to be building, then you may not want children on the team. Know your sleeping arrangements so that people can know what to expect and what they need to bring. Know where you’re driving because getting lost in a foreign country is not the most enjoyable thing to do. These are practical things to think through ahead of time.
Have intentional meetings.
This is where you need to be prepared so that you can communicate what is necessary for the people on your team to know. If the meeting is going to be an hour long, be prepared for that; if the meeting is going to be three hours long, let your team know that ahead of time. I hate meetings with no purpose or goal.

* Utilize leaders.
This is a great time to read Exodus 18 again. Look at what Jethro says to Moses about the way he is leading. Appoint leaders on your team and let them lead. Teach your leaders to lead, help them lead, and let the team know that they’re going to lead. This has been one the greatest learning experiences for me. Don’t just delegate and go sit on the beach; check in with your leaders and make sure they are feeling cared for and loved on the team.

* Pray hard.
This should be the first point but we’re talking about it last. Pray throughout this entire process; pray for God to put the right people on the team. Pray for God to lead your team, stretch them, keep them safe, and unite them for a common purpose. When you take the time to seek God in this entire process of following the great commission God will speak to you and lead you in the right path.

From: www.simplyyouth.com web site. December 2008

Posted in AIS File Library, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments

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