how to lead a mission team to success

You have no doubt heard stories of lives changed on a mission trip. Many return from a mission experience to give reports on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings in Arkansas churches. Common stories include children being ministered to and saved in backyard Bible Clubs or Mission Vacation Bible Schools,how to lead a mission team to success Articles churches being built, lives, homes and churches ravished by relentless hurricanes brought to restoration, people reached through door to door medical projects, medical teams offering a healing touch while seeking to introduce the sick to Jesus the Healer of souls, and the list could go on. While people come home from a mission trip blessed by the opportunity to serve, there have been those who return frustrated because it did not turn out the way they expected. What is the difference in the two groups? Could it be expectations, prayer and planning? Not all mission trips may see a harvest of souls, but all mission trips can fit into the strategic plan of a church, church planter or missionary to make a difference in a community and the Kingdom of God. You have been empowered to change lives. Jesus tells us that we have been “empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses….”

Planning is an absolute essential in maximizing your M.I.S.S.I.O.N. trip while minimizing problems. There is nothing more uncomfortable than showing up on the field to find there is a misunderstanding of the project or how your group is going to accomplish the task. Good planning begins with scheduling a trip that fits you and your group. “Flexibility” is a word you hear tossed around on mission trips. While flexibility is important, it is not a substitute for good planning. Here are some practical considerations for choosing a M.I.S.S.I.O.N. trip that fits you and your church:

M – Make prayer a priority. The church and your team members need to see that you are trusting God with everything from the big picture to the smallest details. Prayer is the vital link, from knowing where God might send your team, to how best to communicate your report when you get home. There are needs on the field to pray for: relationships with the team and field, ministry and outreach opportunities in the community, physical, spiritual and relational needs of the team members, potential conflict and resolution, etc.

Prayer is critical for preparing a volunteer spiritually. Regardless of the type of trip one takes, the sole purpose is to point someone to Jesus Christ. A daily attitude of prayer is essential for sensing the Holy Spirit’s prompting in when and how to share with others.

I – Identify a mission project. Going to the ends of the earth covers a lot of territory. How can one know where God wants your church to be involved? Where does God want you to go and with whom? Will your project be local, associational, in state, national or international? What kind of project will it be: Prayer walking, medical, evangelistic, leadership training, construction, remodeling, sports-evangelism, VBS, Scripture distribution? It is important to know who you are working with. You are depending on their planning and preparation for your mission trip to succeed. And remeber your project is LED by them and to meet their CULture and standards. Too often we try and force our American ways on our hosts – because we know we are better. And nothing could be farther from the truth or cause more issues. Serve and surrender as Jesus did. S – Set a plan in place. The team leader must develop a timeline to accomplish the tasks for the trip. Begin with your departure date and work backwards. Just some things to consider:

• Total cost of the trip per team member• Mode of transportation• Lodging • Recruiting for the trip• Passport applications• VISA applications• Proper immunizations• Material for projects• Team orientation and team training• Significant non-refundable deposit (required)• Set date for payment of trip• Adequate insurance coverage• Hold commissioning service• Report to church after trip