If you’re thinking about a summer mission trip, this is a great time to start planning. The holiday season is an easy time to touch base with extended family and talk to them about supporting your trip both prayerfully and financially. If you’re in the planning phase but you’re having trouble deciding whether to volunteer abroad or to do a domestic mission trip, we have a few thoughts that might help you make your decision.

International Mission Trips

First, let’s talk a bit about international mission trips. As you’d expect, these trips tend to cost more than domestic mission work. That said, sometimes it can be easier to raise support for them than for domestic missions, simply because most people understand that international mission trips are a bigger undertaking. Besides budget, the ages represented in your group are another important consideration. While God can – and will – work through any situation, older high school-aged teens tend to have good experiences in international mission work. When you volunteer abroad, your group will encounter different diets and dialects, and older teens are often better equipped to handle these situations. However, setting appropriate expectations goes a long way toward preparing younger groups for adversity like this.

Domestic Mission Trips

Domestic missions are appropriate for almost any age group. But setting expectations is still an important part of preparation. You will likely be ministering to a demographic that is unfamiliar to many members of your group. When students (and adults) have an idea of what to expect, they will experience more growth. And just as importantly, they will be more effective servants and better ambassadors for Christ. “Debriefing” is also important on domestic mission work. Group members can discuss ways that their experience differed from their initial expectations; this dialog is a great way to help the group know what they learned after they get home.

Keep in mind that these are ideas, and not absolutes. One of the most important factors in the decision between domestic and international missions is simply knowing the group you will be traveling with. So take our thoughts and apply them to your situation before you make your choice. And by all means, pray!

]It’s never too early to start praying about your next missions trip. Whether you choose to do work in the US, or to volunteer abroad, you’ve got plenty of options with Mission Discovery. Please don’t hesitate to see the variety of mission trips we have available for all ages, genders, and lengths of time. Now is the time to start planning for a mission trip with Mission Discovery.


Jason Torrence