Before You Sign Up for a Summer Mission Trip

From the Team: To help you make the most of the next few months, we’ve pulled some posts from our archives about summer. Here’s one to help you decide if you should take a summer mission trip.

I love mission trips!

The experience, the ministry, the travel, the photos . . . I love all the good stuff mission trips are made of! But as summer approaches, we all need a reminder that missions and ministry are a lifestyle—not a trip to block off on our calendar each summer. Sharing our faith and ministering to the practical needs of others is something God calls us to do in our own backyard, 365 days a year.

Ministry can happen inside our homes just as easily as it can in a hut an ocean away.

Psalm 96:2–3 says, “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Telling people about Jesus is something we should do daily. Ministry can happen inside our homes just as easily as it can in a hut an ocean away. With that bigger picture in mind, ask yourself:

Why do I want to go on a mission trip?

This is not a trick question. Before you agree to give a chunk of your summer and a chunk of change to a summer mission trip, take a minute to ask yourself why you want to go.

Here are some great reasons to go on a summer mission trip:

  1. You see it as an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20).
  2. You want to be a “doer” of the Word (James 1:22).
  3. You want to participate in the ministry work of your local church.

Here are some not-so-great reasons to go on a summer mission trip:

  1. You’re looking for an experience to give you a “spiritual high.”
  2. All your friends are going.
  3. You need a new mission trip T-shirt for your collection.
  4. You don’t have anything better to do.

Here are some bad reasons to go on a summer mission trip:

  1. A guy you like is going.
  2. You think going on a mission trip can earn you brownie points with Jesus. (You’re already the apple of His eye!)
  3. You think that in order to do missions or ministry, you need to leave your zip code.

Once you’ve examined your motivation and still want to go, let me encourage you to see a short-term mission trip as just one part of your ministry this summer.

Your Neighborhood, Your Mission Field

The Bible calls us to a lifestyle of ministry rather than a short-term scheduled event. That might mean heading somewhere exotic to minister to a foreign people group, but it also means serving your own family well (1 Tim. 5:8), investing in your local church (Gal. 6:10) and loving your neighbor (Mark 12:31).

Whatever else Jesus might have meant when He said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He certainly must have meant to show kindness to the people on your block. You don’t have to take many steps past your front door to demonstrate your faith to others.

We see this pattern in the life of Jesus. Yes, there were times that He went to a neighboring city to minister, but that wasn’t the only time He preached, taught, or reached out to those in need. He served others and talked about the kingdom wherever He went.

Beyond the Mission Trip

Can I encourage you to plan a mission summer? If an official mission trip or camp experience is part of the plan, that’s great, but don’t stop there. Plan ahead for ways to tell of God’s salvation from “day to day.”

  • Is there a long-term volunteer opportunity that would give you opportunities to minister over the long haul?
  • How can you devote yourself to prayer and ministry that last longer than a week?
  • Can you talk to your pastor or youth pastor and ask them how you can serve in your church this summer?

Mission trips remind us that there are many people who need to hear about the love and grace of Jesus. But when we see our own space as a mission field, that part of the experience is available to us after summer and well beyond high school.

Here’s a thought to get you started: Name an individual or group of individuals in your town who need to hear about God’s love. What do you need to do to plan to impact them with the gospel this summer? Tell us about it below.

PS: Maybe a mission trip isn’t a part of summer plans but camp is. Don’t miss tomorrow’s post, “Dear Summer Camp Girl.”

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Magdiel De Salas

    I love mission trips too! I do encourage every young girl to go to one, because it is always life changing if it is approached the right way.
    Thank you SO much for pointing out these things. (I loved the point about the shirt! #LoL #SoTrue) You are a blessing!

    • Olivia W.

      Yes, I loved the point about shirts too! My youth group’s Disciple-Now was a couple weeks ago, and most of the girls were pretty excited about the T-Shirts. One of my friends took five since there were a lot left the next week.

  • I have had the honor of participating in a group missions trip. It was a life-changing experience for me. Before our group left, the leader for it had a meeting so we could discuss any wrong reasons of going. It was definitely a helpful meeting, Please, don’t go because of friends or must do it for Christ alone!

  • Beloved_JAE

    These were such insight tips! Thank you so much for this article. 🙂

  • grace

    I really want to go on one that lasts like a month but the price range is over a thousand dollars(not exagerating). Help!

    • Tessa

      God is sovereign. He is in control of your ability to go or not go. For several years, there was an opportunity in Japan that I really wanted to participate in. But, my parents kept telling me to wait. Then, when I went last summer, there were so many reasons I was glad I had waited. It was God’s timing. God will give you the ability to earn the money, give you the money, or ask you to wait because He has something else for you right now. Maybe it’s investing in the lives of siblings or younger girls.

  • Angela Barrett

    this is an awesome article!

  • Lucifer’s Lover (xtra Lube)

    What in satan’s sweet ballsack is the “Great Commission”?

    • Lucifer’s Lover (xtra Lube)

      Um, excuse me, I showed up again today hoping for an answer to my question and all I find is my lovely linguistics have been censored by fascist thought police!! This is especially disturbing, and to make matters worse, I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE GREAT COMMISSION IS. Shouldn’t you folks be more concerned with spreading gospel than censoring thoughts?

      • Hannah B

        It was a command to Jesus’s disciples to spread Jesus love and message to the world

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      We’re glad you’re here and welcome your comments and questions– though we’re not always able to respond immediately. Your comment was edited to reflect our ground rules listed above.

      The Great Commission is simply Jesus’ command, found in Matthew 28:19-20) to take the gospel to ever person throughout the world and to make disciples in all nations.

      • Lucifer’s Lover (xtra Lube)

        Isn’t that a little self-centered though? I mean, hinduism’s been going strong for a long time and that’s worked for people in India. Also, Buddhism seems pretty chill. No gods or whatnot, just inner peace and helping one another. Doesn’t there reach a point where it’s better to just be a good person and do right by others than worry about who your neighbor prays to?

        • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

          Interesting perspective.

          It’s actually love for others that compels me to tell what Jesus has done for me. How could I not tell of the One who has so incredibly changed everything about my life—and continues to do that today. Not sharing that good news would be the epitomy of self-centerededness.

          So I share often of His love…His forgiveness…His tender mercies… and the hope He brings to the broken, messy pieces of my life.

          It’s why we, here at LYWB, exist. To make much of Jesus and His ways.

  • Carolyn

    This summer, God has lead me to host a 5 day Bible club for the kids in my community. This is something I would not have the desire to do on my own because I don’t really feel comfortable leading things. But God has given me the desire to do this and the burden for the kids in my town. I’m really excited about what God is going to do through me to share His love with His people!

  • -I don’t understand. I’m 16 and I had my spiritual awakening 12/24/15 when God knocked sense into me. I’m so grateful for Him and I was raised in a Christian family. I’m studying the Bible daily but I have a question I just can’t figure out: I understand God gave married couples sex to enjoy and to grow deeper intimacy, but I’m tornmented because I have a realllly strong sex drive but I’m can’t have the kind that’s holy. Why would God give us the desire when Teens that aren’t married can’t have it.
    -Also, this blog has been such a blessing in my life and has revealed many things to me. Also, I ask that you would please pray that I may be released from my main sin, lust. I have struggled with it for my entire life in different ways over the years. Please pray for healing for me. ~thank you. ❤️

    • We have paused in our day to pray for you and ask God to draw you close to Him and make you aware of what is in the habits of your daily life that could be feeding your lust and your battle with sexual desire, so that you can avoid them or even get rid of them. We’ve asked Him to deepen your faith and use this trial in your life to cause you to love Him more and trust Him with your unfulfilled desires. God promises in 1 Cor. 10:13 that He will always provide a way out of the temptations we face. We just have to recognize that way out and choose to take it. May God bless you!

      • Thank you so much for replying and praying for me. I am very grateful for this blog and it’s changed my life and added to my learning. I wish I could’ve stumbled across it sooner. God bless y’all. 🌹

    • Allie

      I would HIGHLY recommend the book “It’s not that complicated” by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Boykin on this subject!!!
      Praying for you sister! <3

      • Allie

        Botkin not “Boykin”

      • Thanks! I’ll remember to read that! <3