It’s easy to focus mission trips on the work that needs to be done. However, if we focus missionaries only on the job and not God, then spiritual growth will suffer. This article discusses five ways to grow in your faith during a mission trip so that when you return home from your experience, you have grown closer with God!


It is easy to get caught up in busy work and not focus on what is important: growing closer to God. Before going to serve the poor, decide that you want the focus of your trip to be spiritual growth. For this focus to happen, make sure you have a meaningful daily devotional time and focus on your relationship with God instead of the busy schedule.

Don’t let friends become a distraction. While your mission trip may happen during spring break or summer break, remember, a mission trip is a sacred time for you to grow in Christ. But, others may not see it that way. Some of your friends may want to focus on each other or seeing the sights. If you spend time with them instead of focusing on God, it will be harder for you to grow in your faith.

Make time for prayer and Bible study.

Mission trips are excellent opportunities to grow closer to God, but it’s easy for things like long days at work or fun outings to take over all of your free time, leaving no time for a focus on spirituality. 

Make a focus on prayer and Bible study a priority in your life during the week you’ll be away. Whether committing to prayer every morning or night when you wake up or going through a devotional each day, making time for God will bring the focus back to what matters most about the mission trip: growing closer with Him.

Be committed.

When you focus on God and others, then your commitment to the work will increase tenfold! If you focus only on yourself and not the needs of others around you, it is difficult to grow spiritually. However, when your focus remains on God during a mission trip, then everything else falls into place! Be committed to the work by committing yourself to God first.

Build community.

Community is vital for spiritual growth. We encourage summer trips for college students because during a mission trip you will be with others who encourage your faith, not tear down what matters most: growing closer with Jesus Christ! Cultivating relationships built over time and praying for one another will shift the focus toward God and your spiritual development.

What’s more important than building community while you are away? Bringing that community back home with you. Whether that means inviting your new friends from the trip to church or encouraging them through email, focus on building a home base for those relationships so you can stay in touch and continue growing closer with God.

Keep an eye out!

Focusing on spiritual growth isn’t just about what happens during the mission trip itself; it’s also about bringing back focus when you return home. Keep an eye out for God in your daily life, following what He leads instead of just leading, so that focus on spiritual growth is always present!

On a Mission Discovery trip, you will practice noticing God every evening. We spend time sharing how we saw God in our day. We call this particular time “God Sightings.” Many people bring this practice home with them.

Mission trips are a big deal. They can bring everyone involved closer to God. But, they are also a prime opportunity to focus on yourself and miss the entire point of being there. 

That’s why it is so important to focus on God when you are away from home. It will be challenging, but that focus will keep everyone involved in line with what matters most: growing closer with Christ!