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5 ways to stay on mission at home

Staying on mission at home isn't easy. For many, the mission trip begins well before they even touch down on a foreign land. It starts in their city maybe even in their neighborhood. With so many trips being shut down right now and living in uncertainty, I want to provide five ways we can encourage our mission trip leaders and their teams to engage the world right around them. After all, that’s what Jesus did.

1. Take your neighbor or those in vulnerable situations a meal

There is a phrase that begins with “You never really know someone until...”, the facetious side of me wants to say “until you know them” but one way we often see Jesus getting to know people involves a meal or inviting them into a meal. So take your team or encourage your team to share a meal with someone they may not know.

2. Spend time online with people from the community

Know a local church that focuses on that demographic, check out their website and see what they are doing to carry on through the quarantine. Maybe watch their live service, and see who can learn more words or pick up phrases and then debrief with your team. Remember things may be different, but they aren’t weird.

3. Go to a restaurant that serves food from the place you would have visited

Two years ago I was sitting in the Louisville airport when a conversation began between myself and an older woman from Ethiopia, we began sharing stories of traveling and different cultures. She encouraged me to visit an Ethiopian café and share in a coffee ceremony. Most people think the way I make my coffee is ceremonial in and of itself (Chemex pour over anyone?!).

4. Read a book or watch a movie.

I have found books to be more accurate than movies, but unless this quarantine plans on lasting a couple months I better just watch a movie. If you love books and reading grab a book from that country or city and learn everything you can about it, study it, research it, and get together with your team over Skype or Zoom and share what you learned. God has created some amazing cultures that reflect the uniqueness and beauty of who he is so go learn about them.

PS. Geography Now is a must on YouTube, you can thank me later.


5. Serve

When in doubt, don’t over complicate it. God has you right where He has you. Live out the confidence and hope we have in Christ by serving those around you. Write a card to all of your neighbors, call your grandparents, or the nursing home to check in on them. Thank the superstore workers when you can only get one roll of paper towels. Deliver food to families who might be affected by the loss of a job. When in doubt, do something, anything, don’t overcomplicate it. You are an image bearer of the Father, live out of your identity in Him and walk confidently and wisely into serving those around you.

This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

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Ways to serve during quarantine

Who ever wants to be quarantined?! Maybe a few people out there but it’s not likely.

Thankfully there are tons of creative things you can do (and should do) to engage your participants even now as people are home.

We've mentioned how vital communication during a crisis can be. Don’t miss this opportunity to guide your people into a greater missional journey. Point to God with these ways to serve during quarantine.

  • Prayer - create a prayer guide around missions (partners, projects, people, regions, needs) to send out to your participants to be praying each day for something missional.

  • Learn - encourage them to keep learning in their missional journey either through a missions book or programs like Perspectives on the World Gospel Movement.

  • Books - send out books about missions that people could read - biographies of missionaries, missions philosophy, stories, etc.

  • Support Local Healthcare Workers - remember the work that local healthcare professionals are doing to combat the COVID-19 virus and reach out to provide a meal or help them in some way.

  • Elderly in Area - reach out to local nursing homes or other facilities to see if could use assistance with supplies, errands, or other needs.

  • Encouragement - write encouragement notes to missionaries, partners, donors, or others who are part of your missional community.

  • Assessments - encourage your participants to take an online assessment (Enneagram, Meyers- Briggs, Strengths, etc.) to learn more about themselves and how their unique design could be used for missional purposes.

  • Donate to a Cause - there are tons of causes out there now helping people in need around the current virus or financial circumstance, donate to one of those causes.

  • Missional.Life - create a Missional.Life account to learn more about who God has made you to be, what story He has written, and where He might be calling you.

  • Research - learn more about the specific field you were planning to visit to learn more about their culture, the religious makeup, their history, and their needs.

  • Zoom Meetings - host a team Zoom meeting to keep everyone connected and engaged. Zoom meetings can be great to keep everyone’s mind in the game.

  • Share Stories - have everyone share stories (online if possible) about what they are learning through this season about their short term trip hopes.

Have you or are you planning on using any of these ideas? Let us know on our facebook page


This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

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Mission trip cancelled? How about repurposing the trip to fit this current crisis?

Is your missions trip cancelled? Cancelling (or even rescheduling) your short-term trip may not be the only option.

It’s worth considering if there are other options like repurposing the trip into something local (actually, this post works regardless of if you also cancel or reschedule the trip). It all comes down to the original purpose of the trip and working to extrapolate from that trip its purpose.

Let’s take for example a Youth Trip or Vacation Bible School (VBS) trip in Poland. The heart behind the trip is to engage high school students in a VBS program and have them engage well with younger kids and help make the program a success.

Now let’s see where we might be able to take that same group of high school students and engage them now or in months to come in a similar purpose.

  • You could have those high school students working to creatively build things for local kids to do while they are in a quarantine.

  • You could have those high school students reaching out to family with young kids to see if they have any needs during this time.

  • You could have those high school students sign up for a local VBS-type program this summer

  • You could have those high school students reach out to local teachers to ask what they are doing to help parents and see if they could help.


It’s really quite simple if you stop to think back about the original purpose and goal for the trip and then mine out a means to do that locally. Truth is, many people are quite bored and your creative ideas here could both help engage your participants and help a lot of people in your local community.


This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

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What to include in weekly communication during this crisis

First, you should consider creating a weekly communication during this crisis (or whatever frequency you prefer) to stay engaged with your trip participants while we all wait to learn next steps and what’s coming.

Everyone understands the unknown of the current situation. We believe this is a great time for you to stay engaged regularly with your participants and continue to keep their hearts and minds engaged in a missional perspective of life.


NOTE: There’s no ideal time line for a resource like this... keep evaluating each week if still needed.


Here are a few suggestions for what you might include in a weekly digest:

  • Prayer requests - share prayer requests from your church, organization, partners, or other things.

  • Scripture verses - teach and edify your participants so they can continue to grow in their faith.

  • Key updates - keep everyone updated on anything new from you or the field. People want to know!

  • Stories - share stories from the partner on the field or other things you’re hearing and learning. We’re all in this together.

  • One thing you could do - give suggestions for one key thing each time that they can do.

  • Survey question - get to know your constituents better, send out a survey each time to learn about their missional interests, challenges, or desires.

  • Note from you - make it personal and share from your heart how things are going.

  • Sermon resource - share any sermons or lessons from your pastor or other churches (make sure to give credit!)

  • Blog article - write or share a blog article about how others are working through this interesting time.

We hope this post encourages you to start communicating more regularly during this time. 


This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

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10 ideas for communicating well during a crisis

We talked about how to improve fundraising communication recently. Let's review some ideas for how you can communicate well to everyone you need to during a crisis—or even when life goes back to normal—for that matter. Here 10 ideas for communicating well during a crisis: 

1. Over communication

I truly believe that over-communicating is key. Would you rather someone say, “Why didn’t you tell me?”, or “Ok, I have enough information?”. I for one will take the latter. Granted there are certain situations where information must come out at its rightful time and place, but communicate until you are blue in the face and people are asking you to stop telling them.

2. Break your communication list down

Who needs to know what? Staff, team leaders, participants, parents, leaders, donors, partners, lodging, transportation. Take a moment a create a list of who exactly needs to know what.

3. Communication is two way

Give people space to ask questions. Whether that's through social media, responding to email, or just making phone calls, allow space for people to ask.

4. Behind the scenes

Don’t be afraid to give them insight behind the curtain. I have found a lot of questions come from a lack of context or communication. What will hurt from letting them know your process? I mean really, are any of us keeping presidential-size secrets that people cannot know? Take a breath and give the people what they want!

5. Prioritize your communication list

There is nothing worse than a participant knowing something before a team leader. Enough said.

6. Create a sample email (then test it)

Write out your email. Give it a proofread. Now read it again. Now send it to your team to proofread. Now send it to yourself. Ok, you’re all set! Hit send and let the questions roll in, just kidding, you’ve communicated so well nobody will have any questions.

7. Don't forget donors

This is a very important group. Here are a couple of approaches to this; it all depends on how your organization handles donations and participants. First of all, thank them. This is so important—but can be forgotten in the chaos. Second, let them know your policy for donations whether the money will remain with the participant until they can go, or your own policy regarding funds when a short-trip is cancelled. This might include letting them know the IRS policy on donations and refunds.

8. What’s next?!

Let them know how you will be monitoring the situation, who you are listening to, and how you are going to communicate moving forward. Should they be looking for emails, phone calls, updates from team leaders, social, or website? Be clear and follow through on those. If it changes, let them know!

9. Empower

If you have the space, empower your team leaders to communicate to your team. For one, it takes the burden off of you to communicate and manage however many people you have going on trips. Second, as leaders, we should desire to draw out of our people the ability to lead. Giving this opportunity, although small, gives them the chance to grow and lead their team well—at your direction. You might even write them a sample email to get them started.

10. Have fun with it!

Seriously, I'm not kidding. Especially at a time like this, there is so much somberness going around that being able to lighten the mood through an email, will relieve the tension for the participant and leader. We need to keep perspective that the God of the universe is in control.

In the meantime...

Share some good books to read (could I recommend “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”),  encourage them to engage with the community they were going to be apart over there right here, meetings over zoom or Skype, love people by respecting their space especially at this time, or make a list of places where people in vulnerable situations might be that they could serve and love well. I was telling a friend of mine after all this is over if I am no closer to the Father than I was when it started I will be disappointed. Encourage time and space to spend with God.


This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

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