Missions agencies seek to help others in many ways, but not all mission organizations are made alike. Every organization has a protocol and a way of operating. Each one has a different pursuit and reasons for serving and helping others. There are also differences in cost, location of Christian mission trips, and staff background, among other criteria. Do your due diligence and first define for yourself what is important for you and your mission group.
Is the Organization Christ-Centered?
One of the first questions to ask before becoming a part of a mission organization is the following: Are they a faith-based organization? If your faith is important to you, then it needs to one of the primary characteristics of the mission organization that you join.
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When you sign up for a short term mission trip with an organization that is Christ-centered, you know everything will be guided by prayer, and all practices are pursued through the lens of faith. Faith is an essential factor because serving others is more than just helping people. To serve is to fulfill our purpose and God-given calling. Thus, the organizations that are not serving from these premises do not include faith as a motivator for the mission. It means that there won’t be Bible study or worship, nor any form of ministering the word of God.
What is the Location, Cost, Experience, and Background of Staff Leaders?
Key factors that are important to take into consideration are the destination of the missions and its cost. Both of these factors must align with what you’d like to pursue. As a mission trip leader, you need to know everything from lodging, ground transportation, emergency medical insurance, food, spending money that is required, etc. You must also know everything that isn’t included so that you’re aware of the additional expenses that you’ll cover and if the trip is tax-deductible.
It’s also essential to find out the experience that the organization has with hosting mission teams and the experience of its staff leaders. Knowing the background of an organization's expertise will provide a certain level of security, especially if you’re new to the world of mission work. These things matter, especially when the work that is being done is in a foreign country. On an international mission trip safety is critical.
Lastly, you need to define if you’re interested in short-term or long-term mission trips, and what the context of the trip is, who the organization is partnering with, and how the organization helps.
What’s at the Heart of the Organization?
Follow the heart of the ministry. Questions that you can ask yourself are the following:
- Does the organization minister the word of God?
- Does the organization emphasize faith as part of the mission trip experience?
- What needs is the organization meeting? Are they both physical and spiritual?
Find out information about the organization’s values and mission statement. Find out what lies at the core of who they are and what they do. Knowing this will help you determine if their values align with yours. Also, look at reviews and maybe reach out to others that have been a part of the mission trips that the organizations have done in the past. Speaking to someone that has already served is critical because it’s good feedback and a preview of what to expect should you decide to pursue and sign up on a mission trip.