14) The Last Bit: What Makes a GREAT Short-term Missions Trip?

After several decades of rise in the whole short-term missions trip industry, it seems like some have begun to search for higher, deeper, and nobler purposes. And although some predicted short-term missions trip interest would wane, we’re still waiting for that to happen. Even now — there seems to be no end in sight. For you and your church or mission org, what makes for a fantastic short-term trip experience? One of our best Brigada partners (Thanks Dave — in Savannah) told us some time back that his church likes “LEAP” trips, where L = Learn, E = Encourage, A = Advocate (for the people, location, and workers, once you return) and P = Pray (both onsite and afterward). We are also a fan of the short-term trip standards of excellence — benchmarks that make it easier to measure success. (Learn more at…




Groups like RighNow Media (and many others) feature a list of success indicators as well.




But how do YOU decide what makes a great short-term missions trip experience? What are YOUR standards for success? Please click comment after the web version of this item. Thanks in advance for your help!


3 Responses to 14) The Last Bit: What Makes a GREAT Short-term Missions Trip?
  1. Mark Marshall Reply

    I have taken teens and adults on short term mission trips, and I have “hosted” at a mission site in Mexico for short term teams to come. Most of my experience is with some type of construction or “hands on” work but that is not the part that makes a trip GREAT. What makes a short term trip great is the relationships that form and grow. We like to take our teens to Big Creek Missions in Kentucky, where each participant can choose what kind of work they want to do while building relationships with their coworkers as well as the local people. One of the best resources to use which will create a GREAT trip is a pre-trip devotional that focuses on short term missions. It helps create reasonable expectations and serves as a prayer guide for the people you will be visiting/serving. The communication and preparation of knowing as best you can what to expect and being prepared to be flexible in another culture helps the relationships develop quickly. The other GREAT thing about short term missions is the affect on the mission tripper. Being away from home and focusing on others is a tremendous help in terms of spiritual growth and activity that can be put to use at home as well.

  2. Neal Pirolo Reply

    Emmaus Road International was birthed in 1983. In the late ’80s, we began thinking about offering short term ministry trips to our offering of resources. BUT, we had listened to so many missionaries and nationals saying, “Please, no more….”, we were hesitant. By ’91, though, we had hammered out five basic principles for trips we would offer: 1) Team leader initiates the trip by asking the national IF, when, where, what, how long. 2) Team leader selects a team to do what and when that was determined in Principle One. 3) Training! Training! Training! 4) The actual trip: A Ministry of LOVE 5) After a good reentry, we follow-up with them on seven possible “next steps” in missions involvement. For the full paper, email your request to me. Yvonne is preparing for her 53rd trip in February 2020! Ordinarily, she does one in the Spring and in the Fall. However, this Fall she is going with me to Europe! To God be all glory! ~~~~NEAL

  3. Jeff Holland Reply

    Training and tools are essential. Find 8 Lessons of 5 short 2-3 minute videos with journaling, group discussions, and group activities. The online format allows teams to train together even when they live apart. Go to the website for more information. –Jeff Holland

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