How should we prepare for a STM trip?

Whether your church is sending its own team, or sending individuals through mission agencies, pre-trip training should prepare those going in the following areas:

1. Spiritual. Pray together as a group. Learn about what spiritual challenges you may face on the field, such as engaging in spiritual warfare, processing extreme poverty you’ll see, maintaining a walk with God while on the field, etc.

2. Travel plans. Cover what paperwork is necessary, when it’s due, and what are the deadlines for passports, plane tickets, immunizations, etc. What should you (not) bring, and how should you pack? How will the team move together in transit to the field (staying together, what to do if someone gets lost, etc.)

3. Culture. What do you need to know about the host culture—basic language, food, religion, standards of modesty, men/women relationships, what is culturally rude or taboo, etc.?

4. Ministry. You should be prepared to share your testimony, in brief and longer formats. If your team is going to sing or perform drama, rehearse and go prepared. If your team is going to do construction, pull out all the tools at one meeting and explain how to use them.

5. Fundraising. How will you raise support, and what are the deadlines? Will you raise support as individuals or as a team? Can you approach individuals in the congregation if the church is giving you money?

Resources for short-term trip preparation

Dearborn, Tim, Short-Term Missions Workbook.

Elmer, Duane, Cross-Cultural Servanthood.

Livermore, David, Serving With Eyes Wide Open.

Ragan, Larry, Help! I’m Going on a Short-term Trip is a multi-week training event. Having taken the training is strongly suggested before one leads it. The website also shows where Culture Linc is offering the training around the country.

The Essential Guide to the Short Term Mission Trip

Before You Pack Your Bag, Prepare Your Heart

We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend to friends. Prayerfully support and consider contributing to its content.

Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.