Mission trips have been a go-to for ministries for decades. They are great experiences for leaving your comfort zone and taking your faith on the road.
Whether a college student looking to dive into missions work, a ministry servant, or a medical professional, there are many doors open to you. You have choices, which means you need to do some research to find the best mission trip organizations for you.
Let's be clear about two things from the start. First, most mission trip organizers are great agencies that love Jesus and want to spread the gospel worldwide. So, as you start your search for the best mission trip organizations for your particular calling and passion, you may encounter a lot of win-win situations. If you find that narrowing your list is a tough task, that's a good thing.
Second, not every mission trip organization is going to meet your needs. Suppose your passion is medical missions or a group that builds houses or teaches English as a second language. The body of Christ is pretty unique, and God uses all kinds of people with all kinds of skills to share His love. So, if you have to scratch a few good groups off the list because they aren't a good fit, that's also a win-win—for you and for them.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So, what are some things needs you need to look for as you start your search for the best mission trip organizations for you? The best place to start any endeavor is prayer. Talk to God about the decision you need to make and ask for His wisdom and leadership. If He wants you to go on a mission trip, He will show you the path you need to follow to get there. His plans always come through.
You also need to think about your personal calling. Of course, this is part of the prayer step, but you can also talk to friends and family who know you well. Ask them to help you think through your skills, abilities, and passions. The insight and advice of trustworthy counselors can help you tremendously. You'll also need to identify what missionary salary you'd need to work for your situation.
Finally, think about where you'd like to serve. The best mission trip organizations provide experiences around the world. So, whether you feel called to a certain part of the United States or to another country, the location of the opportunities has to be part of the equation.
Most of these have been around for decades and have helped thousands of missionaries find a place to serve.
• World Venture. This is one of the "granddaddies" of mission organizations, having sponsored trips since 1943. World Venture serves in the United States and around the world, focusing on a variety of needs. Along with church planting and evangelism, World Venture also shines the light of Jesus through sports ministries, education, and business. Your commitment can last less than a year (Pathfinders), up to two years (Global Apprenticeship), or even for a career.
• Operation Mobilization. This is another long-standing mission trip organization. Operation Mobilization (OM) began with a group of friends distributing Scripture and Christian literature in Mexico in 1957. By the 1960s, OM was working in Muslim and Communist countries. Today, the group sponsors short-term experiences in the United States and worldwide, including its OM Ships ministry.
• Navigators World Missions. The Navigators was founded in 1933 and has become known for its discipleship and Christian growth resources published by NavPress. But the group also sponsors mission trips through Navigators World Missions. Short-term opportunities include domestic trips (like to Texas and Florida), along with international trips to places like Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Longer experiences are available through its mid-term and long-term plans, as well as its iEdge program.
• Youth with a Mission (YWAM). This non-denominational mission organization was founded in the early 1960s with a focus on bringing glory to God, sharing the gospel with the world, and empowering young people for lives of service. Today, in addition to providing mission trips around the world, YWAM offers an in-depth, six-month Discipleship Training School that includes classroom training and field experience for college students and young adults.
• Appalachian Service Project. You don't have to travel across the globe to leave your comfort zone. Plenty of places in the United States can introduce you to the needs of another culture. Since 1969, the Appalachian Service Project has been providing hope by providing safe homes for residents in some of the poorest areas of the country. Appalachian Service Project focuses on repairs and replacement of sub-standard housing, offering ministry trips throughout the year for every age group. In addition, the duration of your trip can be flexible—everything from a weekend to a year-long immersive experience.
• MissionGo. If you're looking for a mission trip organization that can work with you in shaping a mission experience, MissionGo might be the answer. The group offers several short-term ministries in areas like health care (including medical, dentistry, and chiropractic), education, water purification, evangelism, construction, and media. However, MissionGo also works with individuals to help them find the best mission trip experience for their skills and passions. In addition to short-term experiences, career opportunities are available.
To be honest, this list only scratches the surface. As noted earlier, dozens of mission trip organizations plan and execute trips with integrity and excellence. You can even find websites dedicated to providing summaries of what groups do and where they do it. Are you looking for Medical Missions specifically? Find your calling in your healthcare field.
But here's another option to add to your list: your own denomination. If your church is a member of a larger denomination, it's likely that the body has at least one mission-mobilizing agency that offers short-term trips, longer internships, and career training and opportunities. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention has two agencies that focus on missions: the International Mission Board for overseas work and the North American Mission Board for domestic work. Each offers short-term and long-term experiences, along with career support.
Of course, all the principles for finding the right fit still apply, even when evaluating what your denomination has to offer. The key is finding the best mission trip organizations for you so you can be the most effective witness possible.
Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.