This post is the addendum to my post answering the question: Why do you go on short-term mission trips?
1. Go and work with missionaries whom you already have a relationship.
Short-term trips should be a part of a much more robust missions emphasis for a church. If missions for your church boils down to random short-term trips, you are missing out.
2. Make sure whatever you do on your trip fits into an on going framework of completing the Great Commission.
Your trip is a small stroke of paint in a much larger painting that is taking place over time in the area you are serving. Try to discern how your work in this short span fits into completing the Great Commission.
3. Submit to authorities on the ground.A lot of the time we feel that we know best. Well, as an outsider in the culture, you need to go as a learner and welcome the guidance of those who will be there long after you leave not only in what you do but how you do it.
4. Be respectful of the culture you enter.
Find out ahead of time things that might be culturally offensive to the people you are working with and make sure you don’t do them. Also, be ready to eat whatever they put in front of you and thank them for it!
5. Take the right number of team members.
On some trips a small team is best, on other trips a large team is best. The key is to work with the people in the country to discern how many people are needed for the work that is at hand.
6. Take the right set of giftedness in team members.
I have been a part of all different types of mission trips. It is important to match spiritual gifts with the work that is to be done while there. For instance, on one trip we offered a concert to the local community where the gospel was presented. It was necessary for us to have musicians with us for that to be possible.
7. Avoid vacation mentality.
I have been on too many trips with people on the team who constantly talked about wanting to go shopping or see the sights. Remember you are there to serve the kingdom of God not collect trinkets.
8. Plan ahead to maximize effectiveness.
Most of the time these trips will cover a small window of time. Plan ahead as to how you will use your time and what resources will be needed. Go prepared.
9. Be flexible.
The great thing about having a plan is that you can deviate from it. A primary key to missions is being flexible. Things will not go as planned and you need to be ready to adapt.
10. Have fun.
There is great joy in serving the Lord both at home and abroad, so have a good time while you are at it.