Mission One Trip Planning Guidelines
Short-term mission trips are wonderful ministry opportunities, but they also pose risks. Careful planning can help you anticipate problems on the field and devise ways to respond before your team leaves home.
- Decide the purpose of your mission trip early in the planning process.
- Recruit experienced leaders. Leadership screening requirements should include cross-cultural “sensitivity” training and participation in previous ministry trips.
- Develop a thorough screening procedure for participants. Examples of eligibility requirements include: good health; verification of personal health, life, and property insurance; and parental approval for minors.
- Thoroughly explain the known risks to all participants and the parents of minors involved with the project. Legally document each participant’s assumption of risk.
- Recruit someone with medical training to serve as a team member. Before you arrive at the mission site, know the location of the nearest hospital or medical facility. Establish an emergency plan, including how you plan to transport an injured participant.
- Establish a communication plan for emergencies. Designate one contact person at home to relay information to families, the congregation, and reporters. Having a contact person at home allows you to focus on the situation.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for health precautions related to your project destination. Check with them about required inoculations.
- Ask participants to have pre-trip physical and dental checkups. Team members who have chronic health problems should carry extra medication in case of delays in returning home. Store medication in its original container.
- Know the location of the U.S. Embassy. Most public libraries can give you the address and phone number. Find out what services or advice embassy officials can provide.
- Create a “master folder” for the team leader that contains vital paperwork and information.
- Determine whether your destination country requires a local auto policy. Many countries require this, including Mexico. Failure to obtain the appropriate coverage could lead to uninsured exposures as well as serious legal entanglements with local authorities.
- Secure travel insurance for all team members. All Mission One teams must travel with travel insurance. This will be secured by the Mission One office and is included in your team fees.