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Tips, Tutorials, and Checklists to help manage ministry risks

Planning a Short-Term Mission Trip

Anticipate potential problems and work to prevent them ahead of time

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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.

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.

Guidelines for Planning Your Trip
  • Decide the purpose of your mission trip early in the planning process.
  • Recruit an adequate number of 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 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.
  • If traveling outside the U.S., know the location of the U.S. Embassy. Find out what services or advice embassy officials can provide.
  • Create a “master folder” for the team leader that contains vital paperwork and information. It should include:

- Photocopies of team’s passports and visas, if applicable

- Passport-sized photos of each traveler

- Emergency contact information for each traveler

- Information on special medical needs

- Medical release forms

- Insurance company contact numbers

- Back-up money in case someone’s wallet is lost or stolen

- Airline itinerary listing travelers’ names, in case airline tickets are lost or stolen

  • Mexico and other foreign countries require the purchase of a local auto policy. Failure to obtain the appropriate coverage could lead to uninsured exposures as well as serious legal entanglements with local authorities.
  • Brotherhood Mutual offers mission travel insurance products that can protect your mission teams from a variety of losses they could experience when they travel. Here are some examples of coverage benefits:
  • Accidental medical and sickness coverage.
  • Emergency medical evacuation.
  • Dispatch of a doctor or other medical specialist.
  • Access to legal assistance overseas.
  • Emergency family travel arrangement assistance.

For more information, contact us or call 1-800-876-4994.