Most of the people at your church won’t be joining you on your trip, but many of them would love to be part of your service in other ways. Here are a few important ways that your church can be involved in your mission trip.
1. Prayer support
- Prayer partners: Ask for volunteers from your congregation to serve as prayer partners for individual members of your mission team. Make sure each team member has a partner from the congregation. You may also have assigned prayer partners within the team; prayer partners from the congregation are an additional level of support. You may want to have prayer partners write notes of encouragement to their partners or send them goodies (these could be sent along with the trip leader). You can encourage the prayer partners to meet as a group once or twice to pray during the trip as well.
- Prayer team: If your church has a prayer team, make sure they are on board with your trip.
- Prayer send-off: Set a time when you invite anyone from your congregation to meet at church to pray with your team before you leave. This may be right before you leave for the airport or right before your van takes off.
- Prayer cards: Make a business card for your team that lists information about your trip. It should include the ministry you’re serving with, a blog address (if you will be blogging), your church name, and a couple of specific prayer requests. Hand these out to church members to help them remember to pray for you. (These can also be passed out in the airport or places where you stop if you are traveling by car or van).
- Prayer guide: Type up a one-page prayer guide to give out to church members. Include your flight schedule, a description of what you will be doing, your itinerary, specific prayer requests, and a list of all team members.
- Prayer pill box: People from the congregation fill an old pill box for each team member with written prayers of encouragement. Each day, team members read a new “prayer pill.”
2. Services and events
- Commissioning service: Being commissioned is an important part of preparing to go out and serve the kingdom. It is also a way to connect your church to the work your team will be doing. The commissioning service could incorporate a song that is meaningful to your team and a commissioning litany written by either you or your pastor. You could also use this commissioning litany.
- Launch potluck: Send your team off with an all-church potluck on the commissioning Sunday.
- Children’s sermon: Plan a children’s sermon that focuses on your trip. Consider giving the kids something tangible to remember to pray for your trip, such as prayer cards, photographs of the place you are going, or pictures of kids there. Let them know you will share with them when you get back as well.
- Sharing service: After your trip, have a service to share testimonies and pictures of your trip. Team members who are going to speak should be prepared ahead of time. Sing songs that meant a lot to your team during the trip or teach the rest of the congregation a song that you learned on the trip. Have team members stick around after the service to talk with people as well. Make sure to thank your church for their support.
- Team picture: Put a team picture on a featured bulletin board or by the mailboxes. This should be done early so people know who is going on the trip. If everyone consents, you can also put the team picture on your website.
- Give daily updates: Create a trip blog where church members can read daily updates by different team members or groups and write you notes. Otherwise, send out email updates to church members or call the church office with updates.
- Share the schedule: Put a schedule of the trip in church mailboxes, in the bulletin, and on the website. It helps people to feel connected.
4. Other ideas
- Financial support: Church members are often willing to support mission trips financially. Communicate specifically how donations will be used.
- Sharing box: Give congregational members a list of supplies that you need to collect for your trip. Have a big box somewhere in your church for people to put supplies in.
- Welcoming crew: Ask church members to welcome you back at either the airport or in the church parking lot. Seeing many people waiting for them to return can be a great booster for the team members.