Mission trips provide a great opportunity for personal growth. To make the most of it, be intentional about seeking God during this time. Ask him to guide you, shape your attitude, help you interpret what you’re seeing, hearing, and feeling, and lock in the lessons you learn. Daily devotions on your own or with your group often help. They can play a big part in making a mission trip a life-changing experience!
Deeper Roots Publications publishes a number of great devotionals designed for use before, during, and after mission trips. These are created to focus on things people commonly experience while on a mission trip. STEM International also carries resources from a number of sources, including three workbooks that weave together instruction, Bible study, and journaling:
- Before You Pack Your Bag, Prepare Your Heart: Short-Term Mission Preparation Guide, by Cindy Judge (the best-selling book of its type)
- Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens, by Tim Dearborn
Some teams use their devotional time to explore what the scriptures have to say about God’s global mission; you might also consider such an approach as pre-trip homework. Several small group Bible study booklets do this well:
- God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jeff Lewis
- Missions: God’s Heart for the World, by Paul Borthwick
- Witnesses to All the World: God’s Heart for the Nations, by Jim and Carol Plueddemann
If one of these guides catches your eye, why not order a copy today and review it for yourself or your group?
2. Free materials
Some groups which send out short termers have created devotional materials designed for their mission teams which can be downloaded free from their websites. Here are a few we’ve found:
- Faithward-Three different eight day devotional series
- Devotions for groups or individuals from Christian Reformed Church in North America.
- A collection of devotions from Jill Lienemann (Kesher International Missions)
3. Devotion App
- The Hands and Feet of Jesus A YouVersion app developed by the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission, this 14-day pre-trip devotion series is written with your short-term mission in mind as you prepare to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
4. Do it yourself
Consider writing your own materials. Devotions rooted in your own walk with God seem to have a special power and significance. How about an inductive study, using basic Bible study questions and going through a chunk of scripture during your time together? Perhaps you would study the Sermon on the Mount, the book of Philippians, John 17, or the “one another” verses in the New Testament.
You might also want to ask members of the group to take turns leading group devotions, especially if the trip is a little longer. This helps distribute responsibilities, stretch your team members, and encourage their leadership skills. It can also subtly remind team members that each person sees the world through different eyes and has something unique to contribute.
Did you find this article helpful? Any suggestions you’d add? Send us an email.
Written by ShortTermMissions.com staff.