Support Articles

Western Missions: Navigating a Changing Landscape
  As we continue to look at the tensions and the shift we sense in the world, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into this from a Western perspective.   In the context of missions and global outreach, a noticeable transformation is underway, particularly in Western churches and mission agencies. This shift is marked by a reevaluation of traditional strategies and a responsiveness to the new ways God appears to be working around the world. Below, we delve deeper into this evolving landscape and the factors contributing to this shift.   The Retreat and Reevaluation In the post-Covid world, a significant trend has been observed: many Western agencies have pulled back from various countries, sometimes entirely. This has several contributing factors, including: Health and Safety Concerns: The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it new layers of complexity related to health and safety that have forced many organizations to reconsider where and how they operate. Political and Social Instability: In an increasingly unstable global political landscape, some countries have become less hospitable to Western missionaries. Economic Constraints: Financial struggles due to the pandemic have caused many organizations to tighten their budgets, which has a direct impact on foreign missions. The Rise of Local Movements In contrast to this Western retreat, there is significant growth in local, indigenous movements, especially within countries that have traditionally been resistant or closed to Western influence. This is a change we should celebrate!  These movements are characterized by: Local Leadership: These movements are often led by individuals from within the community, who understand the culture and context deeply. Cultural Relevance: Because of its indigenous nature, locals are often more adept at communicating the gospel in ways that are culturally relevant and sensitive. Sustainability: Local movements are not dependent on foreign support and are often more sustainable in the long run. Access to Closed Countries: Local leaders often have access to regions that Western missionaries might find difficult to enter or work within due to various restrictions. Wrestling with New Roles As Western agencies observe this shift, they are grappling with several important questions: Partnership over Paternalism: How can Western churches and agencies move from a paternalistic model to a partnership model, coming alongside and supporting these indigenous movements rather than leading them? Resource Allocation: How can Western churches best use their resources (financial, educational, etc.) to empower and support these local movements? New Models of Engagement: What new, innovative models of engagement might be effective in this changing landscape? This might include short-term specialized teams, virtual training and discipleship, or business-as-mission strategies. Challenges in this Shift This change is not without its challenges for Western missions: Loss of Control: Moving to a partnership model often means relinquishing control, which can be challenging for organizations used to leading initiatives. Relearning and Unlearning: Western agencies might need to unlearn some longstanding practices and relearn how to operate within a different paradigm. Navigating Diverse Theologies and Practices: Partnering with indigenous movements might mean engaging with Christians who have different ways of understanding and practicing their faith. Real-World Example: As we challenge ourselves, consider some practices that might just be assumed within your organization.  One example that I’ve heard a few times is the requirement of full-time missionaries to be an employee of a US-based organization.  As Latin America and the Global South are rising in mobilization, take time to consider how you might adjust this practice in order to partner and help guide non-US based missionaries as they head into the field while wisely balancing the cost/benefit of doing so within your own organization. Concluding Thoughts The shifting landscape of Western missions is a poignant reminder that the work of God is not confined to any one culture or strategy. It seems clear that a significant part of the Western church’s role moving forward will be learning how to effectively and humbly partner with what God is already doing through local movements around the world. In this season of change, our prayer should be for Western missions to be marked by humility, a willingness to learn, and a steadfast commitment to unity and partnership in the furtherance of the Gospel. Would you join us in this prayer? Do you have other thoughts on this shift? We'd love to hear them in the comments.  
4 0
The Journey Continues: 4 Keys to Keeping the Flame Alive After a Mission Trip
We all know that the days and weeks following a trip are brimming with potential.  Everyone is excited about what just happened and how they are changed by their experience.  However, whenever I ask how that energy is getting captured, focused, or shared, I hear a lot of organizations and churches say things like “Yeah, we really should do this,” but if we are being honest, this is very rarely enacted or done consistently across all teams.  Even within your teams, you will find that some teams or team leaders might do this well, while others completely ignore this critical step.   Why are we so inconsistent with this area if we know it’s a valuable part of the Mission Journey? In my experience, this topic is often overshadowed by the excitement and anticipation of the mission trip itself.  Unfortunately, without this key step, we miss an opportunity to cement life change and, I would argue, this results in short-circuiting the potential for discipleship and future engagement with those participants. We believe what happens after the trip is over is just as integral to the mission journey and a golden opportunity to deepen your impact, both personally and within the community.  Here are four ways to better understand our tensions in this area and create a culture within our organizations that stewards well the entire process, including the time after the trip is over. 1. Rethinking the Post-Trip Engagement: A Shift in Perception In the wake of a mission trip, many of us heave a sigh of relief, tempted to say, "Whew… it’s over.” Unfortunately, this mindset can lead us to overlook a critical stage of the journey: post-trip engagement. It's essential to resist viewing these gatherings as simply "nice to have" or as an afterthought. Instead, we must recognize that each trip isn't a standalone event but rather a crucial milestone in a person’s broader missional journey. By placing the trip within this larger narrative, we begin to grasp the importance of the return home and the subsequent communication about what transpired during their mission. What God has done in their lives during this time is a powerful story that needs to be shared and honored. Once you capture this larger perspective, it impacts your communication with your team.  By providing a reason why and being aware of your own mindset, you can communicate the importance more clearly and help establish the mindset that you want. Here’s an example of how you may express this mindset via email to your participants. It might sound like this: “Phew, you're back from your mission trip. Your suitcase may be empty, but your heart's likely full. Now, it's tempting to breathe a sigh of relief and think, ‘All done. The trip's over.’ But wait! There's one crucial part of the journey we often overlook: the post-trip get-togethers. Let's break the mold and think of these meetings not as an ‘oh-by-the-way’ kind of thing or even just a reunion, but as a significant part of the overall mission. Why? Because a mission trip isn't a one-off. It's a stepping stone on a bigger, beautiful journey. It's a chapter in your unique story of how you're making a difference in the world… and how those moments made a difference in you that you hope to continue to cultivate. So, don't rush to close the book on this chapter. Savor it, share it, and let's talk about what God's been up to in your life.” 2. Setting Expectations Before the Trip: The Power of Preparation The groundwork for effective post-trip engagement begins even before departure. Ensure that your team understands the expectation for participation in the form of a debrief meeting upon their return. This sets the stage for open communication and active engagement. If anyone misses this meeting, a follow-up should be arranged to communicate the importance of this step, preparing them better for future missions. By setting these clear expectations and being proactive in your follow-through, you facilitate an environment where individuals feel more involved, heard, and integral to the mission's success.  Additionally, you set yourself up for success in the following years.  Think of this as a “line in the sand” moment and by establishing and enforcing expectations over the next couple of sending seasons, you will start to see incredible results. 3. In-Country Debrief: Harnessing Immediate Reflections Engaging your participants effectively in their experience of the trip shouldn’t begin once you're home. We believe it should begin while you're still in the field. Encourage your leaders to facilitate a debriefing session regularly, or at least soon before your return home. This simple yet impactful practice presses for the participation of everyone and primes the team for more in-depth conversations when they return home. Open-ended questions such as, "What was one highlight that encapsulates our time here?" and "What personal challenge, mindset shift, or behavior change did you face during this mission?" can stimulate thoughtful responses. As you wait for your return flight, encourage participants to summarize their experiences into a two-minute account and jot it down on a notecard. On the route home, they can expand this into a detailed journal entry, documenting three key take-aways that profoundly impacted their lives, perspectives, or missional journey. 4. Using Their Experience as a Call to Action: Spreading the Missional Flame Back home, the participants' experiences can be a powerful catalyst for drawing others into their journey or alongside your organizational mission.  Sharing your stories can inspire others to embark on their own journeys, and maybe even join you on your next adventure!  Therefore, encourage participants to share their stories and make it easy for them to do so. Pro Tip: Find a way to capture those stories, the lessons, and the examples of life change that occurred in your debrief.  These details will touch the hearts of your donor base, encourage future participants, and help others feel the impact that was made by the team.   Make it easy for your participants to share information about your organization, field partner, or church. As a small example, as your participants have conversations, you can encourage them to connect those people with your social media. This additional engagement not only grows your potential participant pool but also allows for continual dialogue about missions, further fostering a vibrant community that is engaged, inspired, and ready for more missional opportunities.   The mission trip might be over, but its ripple effects are just starting.  It’s an ongoing journey of growth, sharing, and inspiration.  So let’s keep the conversation going and continue making a difference together.     What have you found effective in post-trip debriefs?  How have you leveraged the stories and insights to improve in your next season? For 14 quick tips on running a successful post-trip debrief, check out our quick guide here.  
Diversifying Engagement Pathways
Diversifying Engagement Pathways Pre-COVID kept many engagements in missions very unilateral… a great deal of short term trip engagement.  The pandemic quickly slammed the breaks on international travel and much of global mission work.  Post-COVID will release a variety of pathways to engage creating more opportunities for involvement, more systems to be created, and more able to use new and different skills.  Let’s explore just a few paths that are soon emerging.     Physical Short Term Trips The first pathway is exactly what we all know and expect to relaunch soon, even if it’s a little slow to prime the pump again.  Short term trips are almost a hallmark now in the way mission work comes out from North America.  We can debate if short term trips are good or not but the fact is there’s a huge engine called short term trips and our real duty is to focus on doing them well. No doubt short term trips will quickly re-emerge as we move out of the COVID-19 fog.   Virtual Engagement COVID-19 has also brought about true innovations in global engagement via Zoom, creating digital resources, training programs, and much more.  This has been steroid shot for missions in many ways to give mission folk a nice swift kick to join the modern age.  We’ve witnessed some amazing creativity and intentionality to keep engagement strong during this season and we don’t expect that to cease.     Local Engagement The lock-down has also allowed many organizations to focus energies on the needs directly around them.  Not to mention, many global communities have come to our doorstep as the past two decades have had such unprecedented migration and relocation of people.  I believe the strongest organizations are the ones that realize the needs in their own backyard and make that part of their overall strategy… often directly serving the same people groups they fly around the world to engage on short term trips.     Hybrid Engagement The final pathway is some combination of the three above.  Think of this as your investment portfolio and how we’re all taught to diversify your assets.  Finding some balance of these three pathways is probably what’s most wise for all of us and should be highly considered as we build our strategic plans for the future.  Even if we consider the potential of another lockdown like COVID-19, if we have a three-part strategy in place then it essentially only highly restricts one pathway (short term trips) but it keeps our people engage plus we’ve already built strategies to continue supporting and serving our global partners.     Download full FREE ebook: Relaunching Short Term Trips Post COVID
3 0
Announcing a new way to level-up your short-term trip program: Missions Made Simple
ServiceReef announces new way to level-up your short-term trip program: Missions Made Simple We invite you to learn more about how Missions Made Simple —the digital course in missions—can help you achieve greater engagement with your program Louisville, KY-- Mobilizing people to short and long term missions can be cumbersome and confusing. Thousands of missions programs and missions leaders across the globe need more training to equip and engage their teams for short-term and long-term missions trips. We have the tools you need to overcome these challenges and see exponential growth.  Introducing: Missions Made Simple. Created by ServiceReef, Missions Made Simple is a digital course for missions that will help you take your program to the next level. Missions Made Simple was created to help set you up for amazing success as a missions mobilizer, organization leader, team leader, or anyone walking down a path of greater missional engagement. “This felt like the perfect time to release the work we've been doing for years with so many others. Digital is the quickest, most easily accessible way for you to connect yourself and your team to training that fits your missions goals.” said Micah Pritchard, Co-Founder of ServiceReef. How can Missions Made Simple help you? Many ways. Here are three major ways we can help you: #1 Resources to Grow: You will find many resources to help equip you to better lead, guide, and engage those living a missional life.  Explore our courses, worksheets, videos, assessments, and other resources. #2 Connect with Others: We believe you should never feel alone as a missions mobilizer. That's why we have created an online community of others who are equipping and mobilizing people to missional living. Join today to connect with others just like you. #3 Confidence to Lead: Mobilizing and leading people to missional living can be intimidating while at times leaving you to wonder if you're doing it right or well. Here you can find the confidence to go further faster with these tools and the community of others who are mobilizing. About the Missions Made Simple course Level-Up Your Short Term Trip Program will be a game-changer for your missions program. Here you will talk through 10 strategic categories critical to your enhancing your short term trip program. We're certain these sessions will help you and your team achieve greater engagement and program success. Watch the introduction video to learn more about Missions Made Simple:    Here's what you will get from this course: 10 critical tools to equip you for leading missions 10 short video-guided courses Facts about these 10 core functional areas Assessments questions to help you evaluate your current engagement Tips for how to improve One key action item for you and your team Downloadable worksheets with more ideas Discussion board to discuss more ideas with key leaders  Sign up today... we're certain this will help you better your short-term missions program in no time! “This course isn't just for ServiceReef members. This is for all missions leaders to watch and learn—so you're equipped with the tools you need in your missions toolkit." said Will Rogers, Co-Founder of ServiceReef. The course aims to encourage and equip every missions leader and your team to achieve greater engagement and program success.  ServiceReef has set up a special page for missions leaders to be encouraged and equipped with resources to help you grow, connect with others, and give you the confidence you need to lead well. Find out more details and learn about creating a free account today right here.    ServiceReef knows managing mission trips can be time-consuming and stressful. ServiceReef brings all the pieces of missions - participants, forms, team leaders, fundraising, donors, meetings, & more - into a single platform so you can reduce stress and focus on leading your teams. ServiceReef is everything you need for missions Learn more at
2 0
How changing your mindset will change how you're leading missions
Now, you may not yet have the mindset for leading missions that we're talking about in this post. But, you will be amazed at how this single action will radically increase your effectiveness and your intentionally. Here’s the concept...always be working to “exit the scene” of any missions project. Does this sound negative to you? It shouldn't. Let me explain. What I mean by "exit strategy" is to be thinking in terms of sustainability, empowering nationals, and trying to avoid building dependencies. Here’s what this is going to do to your mindset:  #1 You’re going to think more strategically. Working toward an exit strategy helps make us all more strategic. What if we can’t sustain engagement in a certain area forever? What if we were working to make them more self-sustaining? You will find the strategic questions you ask about purpose and value shift when this takes root.  #2 You’re going to allocate resources more intentionally. You are already working to be a good steward of your resources. Adopting and working toward an exit strategy will help you make even better decisions in how you allocate resources, budget, train, and more.  #3 You’re going to send short-term teams with more purpose. This is a rich opportunity to equip and train short-term workers with a mindset that your overall strategy is to see each field healthy and self-sustaining in the big picture, not just the short-term trip. Many short term trip participants come home asking the questions about the purpose of such a short visit. This helps give that question context and helps them see short term work can be significant for long term impact.  #4 You’re going to ask different questions. Inevitably you are going to ask different questions as you select partners, as you evaluate projects, as you choose short term trip locations, as you select team leaders, and more. This provides a different framework for each step of the process.  #5 You’re going to evaluate your trips with a new lens. You will take such joy in how you evaluate your short-term trips and see them now with a greater purpose for a longer impact far after the short term trips or your organizations ability to be involved.  #6 You’re going to reach more geographical areas. It may seem strange, but this will open new opportunities to engage more geographical opportunities...not to mention new types of projects.  #7 You’re going to build more long-term relationships. You will find yourself being a better partner with field teams and organizations as you are working to truly help them for the future and in so doing building lasting relationships with them that make them part of your family.  #8 You’re going to honor people well. Perhaps most convicting is asking “how would I want this done to me?” if someone were to come and “do missions” to you right here at home. This mindset helps you honor people well, just like you would want to be treated.  #9 You’re going to do more. Yes, and you are going to do more! You will be amazed at just how much more you will be asked to do and will be able to do when you work toward not being the lynch pin of each project. You might be invested longer in each field, but the overall scope of your involvement will increase.  This is a mind shift for most of us, but this is such an important question and philosophy to adopt. In our opinion, this only makes the case for short term trips stronger. We desperately need short term teams who can go and leave a lasting impact. Properly adopted exit strategies allow you the opportunity to greatly increase your impact and effort.  Action: Evaluate how you could be working toward an overall exit strategy. Discuss how you could be training your team leaders toward this end. Read When Helping Hurts by Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert.    This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact. This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.
Leading people to a missional lifestyle: 9 things to do with short-term trips
It's amazing how God often uses short-term trips to be a catalyst for someone's missional lifestyle. And we know you want your participants to view a short-term trip as more than just earning a merit badge, but rather something that impacts the way they live their life. We agree! We believe short-term trips are a gateway to someone’s heart taking in a rich meal of vision, purpose, and even calling. But this is also a very challenging task when this isn’t modeled well many places. It takes time and there aren’t many tools and resources available. No problem! Let’s talk about what you can be doing to plant deeper seeds of purpose in someone’s heart.  #1 Make it an objective. It starts by making it an objective of your church or organization to move people from a “one and done” mindset to seeing missions as a part of their life.  #2 Talk about it. This is super simple, but take the time to talk to your trip participants once they are back to explain how to take a next step and give them tangible ways to do that immediately. If they don’t know what to do next, then they most likely won’t take any action. As a leader, be sure you're communicating well. For example, be sure you're setting proper expectations before, during, and after missions trips. #3 Train your Team Leaders. Your team leaders are your advocates for your mission and vision...and spend the most time with your participants. Make sure to train them so they are guiding participants into a perspective that this is more than a single short term trip but an opportunity for a lifetime of mission work.  #4 Debrief the day and the trip. Take advantage of great debrief questions to help shape each experience into a step for what’s next.  #5 Capture stories. Stories are powerful ways for sharing your vision, but also powerful ways for your participants to unpack what’s going on in their lives and share it with others.  #6 Journal. Similar to sharing stories, journaling helps us internally process our experiences and gives us time to work out what the Lord might be calling us to do next.  #7 Missional.Life. Have your participants complete a free Missional.Life profile where they can build a plan for mission engagement, invite in family and friends, and post stories, prayers, and goals. It’s free and it’s extremely powerful for helping people see it’s more than a single event.  #8 Training resources. Point participants to great resources like Perspectives, missionary biographies, and other training materials. We have tons of resources and support here. #9 Sign up for another trip. Take the momentum of the current experience and invite them into signing up for another trip or even more, signing up for a longer trip somewhere to get a deeper experience.  Andy Stanley once said, “think steps, not programs” as he presented guiding principles for his organization. We agree. Short-term trips are steps toward a greater goal, not an end in themselves. And your calling is to guide people into a lifestyle of mission with countless engagement points.  Action: Have a conversation with two (2) key staff members about how to engage participants within the first week/ month after they return from a trip. Have your team members create a Missional.Life profile at    This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact. This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.
5 0
Mission Trip Leaders: 8 ideas for engaging your leaders
One big mistake we often make as leaders is putting all the focus on our staff and forgetting that we have an army of extremely “bought in” trip leaders. Shift gears and instead, think of your leaders as more than great people who lead your trips but people who can carry your vision forward. To participants and field partners, here are some suggestions on how to engage your trip leaders to a higher calling:  #1 Equip them. Remember, they might be your greatest tool for mobilizing your audience to mission. Help them become better recruiters, mobilizers, and senders.  #2 Encourage and gift books. There are so many great mission books (When Helping Hurts, The Great Omission, Shadow of the Almighty, and so on.). Consider having an annual book you purchase and send out to all of your trip leaders to continue building their own personal mission philosophy and worldview.  #3 Appreciation meals. Host appreciation meals for your trip leaders to pour into them, keep them connected, share what’s new and upcoming, and to allow them to build a tighter community with each other. Spread these out throughout the year to avoid the “see you next summer” mindset that some trip participants and leaders may accidentally fall into.  #4 Provide trainings. Host at least one annual trip leader training. Whether it's by video or something else, the most successful we’ve seen is for organization to have a time where you stop thinking about everything else and focus on your larger purpose for mission trips.  #5 Brainstorm sessions. Host brainstorms sessions throughout the year (especially out of peak trip season to keep leaders engaged) and collect feedback on ways to do things better: preparation, process, communications, resources, debriefs, and more.  #6 Give note & gifts. Sure, giving gifts for a volunteer role may not be the norm, but think creatively about this. Sending a note card and a $5 gift card to Starbucks to say thanks for all they are doing goes a long way.  #7 Recognize the work. While trip leaders may be working with you on the direct details of a specific trip, they are often mentoring and connecting with their participants long after the trip. Be sure to recognize and thank them for continually pouring into the people.  #8 Invite to team meetings. Invite trip leaders to key team or staff meetings when you are working through short-term logistics, strategic changes that impact them, and/or celebrating key things.  You have a unique opportunity to equip and send so many people. We often fixate on the trip participants and forget what amazing resources we have in our trip leaders. More so, these trip leaders really can essentially be your pro bono staff members giving you an army of equipped mobilizers.  Action: Select at least one item from above that you can implement this week. Maybe it's having a zoom call over coffee with a few team leaders and asking them what they need most to be equipped well.    This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact.   This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.
2 0
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.
2 0
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.
2 0
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.
3 0
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.
4 0
How to improve fundraising communication with participants, leaders, and parents
One of the key elements that will drive questions from participants, leaders, and parents is “what happens to the funds I've raised for this trip?” Some key elements to prepare yourself and your teams for this include the following, which may include things you are already doing, but perhaps can do better/different to make this easier each time that you go through this process.  You already understand your role as a leader when it comes to short-term mission trips. Here are a few ideas for how to improve fundraising communication with participants, leaders, and parents Involve your Accounting Team and Financial Leaders This one is pretty obvious, but there are some critical questions that they will need to help walk you through, including: ✓  Tax implications and verbiage you can use when people ask for a refund (because they will, even if you’ve told them many times what the process is) ✓  What should we do with the funds that were already provided? ✓  Are there any restrictions and/or considerations we should make when deciding to cancel or postpone a trip? ✓  Identify which funds or trips that already have expenses and determine what do to in order to recover or eat that cost (e.g. travel costs, etc.)   Involve your Leadership Team Depending on the involvement of your leaders, some may already be well aware of what is going on, but here are some thoughts to consider: ✓  Be prepared to summarize for them (or provide them a summary that they can provide their own leadership/board). ✓  Provide options with benefits/drawbacks to each approach. For example, reschedule versus cancel. ✓  If you decide to reschedule, have a general timeframe for communication... or at least determine what information you will need to decide on a timeframe. ✓  If not involved in the financial communication with your accounting team, provide your leaders a roadmap/summary of the financial impact and approach that is suggested (as they will likely be asked this by their leadership)   Communicate Clearly to Participants and Leaders ✓  Create a communication plan, even if a very simple one. For example, write up a communication to the teams and create some common questions people will ask. ✓  Clearly communicate what will happen with any funds that have been raised (based on your conversations with accounting and leadership). ✓  Have others review your communication. This can be a review for typos, tone, etc., but it is important to make sure that you get buy-in from others. ✓  Copy and Paste...once you answer a question once, either copy it to a word doc so you can use it later or add it to your common FAQ area/web page. ✓  Provide some education or guidance to the process. For example, participants are not aware of the tax situation for non-profit donation. Provide some simple guidance that helps them understand enough, while keeping communication focused. ✓  Provide assurance that their concerns are addressed. While you may have gone through this process many times, this might be the participant’s first time a trip was cancelled. Try to put yourself in their shoes and address uncertainty. Assure them that you have done this before and will guide them through the process.   We hope this helps you improve fundraising communication when speaking with participants, leaders, and parents.    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.