MissionMinder Video Resource Library

We have put together an extensive libary to help you get your team organized,  raise funds, and keep everyone in the loop.

Visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoMissionMinder/videos for more information.

Topics include:

  • Adding Assistants and Setting Permission Levels
  • Adding or Copying Team Members to Trips
  • Building and Using Online Team Applications
  • Creating a MissionMinder Account for Your Organization
  • Entering Support Checks and Cash
  • Generating Reports and Exporting Data
  • How Team Members Login & How To Reset Password
  • How to Activate Online Fundraising
  • How to Donate Online
  • How to Raise Support Online with Your Personal Fundraising Page
  • Logging Into and Using Your WePay Account
  • Managing Project Files and Documents
  • Managing Your Settings on the Admin Page
  • Managing Your Team To-Do Checklist
  • Posting Important Trip Information and FAQs
  • QuickStart Guide for Team Leaders
  • Raising Funds for Whole Team vs Individuals
  • Sending Support Updates to Team Members
  • Sending Team Emails and Text Messages
  • Setting Team Member Support Raising Goals
  • Setting-up the Trip Welcome Page
  • Setting-Up Your Organization’s WePay Account
  • Team Member Profile Pages
  • The Menu Bar and Switching Between Trips
  • The Team Funding Page and Tracking Support
  • Tracking Your Personal Support Level
  • Using the My Team Page
  • Your Personal Online Support Raising Page


How to (not) act like an American on your mission trip

One thing almost everyone learns on their first mission trip is that stereotypes run both ways. When we travel overseas, people are looking at us much the same way we look at a foreigner in our midst and try to figure out where they are from.

There are several things you can do that scream, “Hey, I’m an American!” louder than you may want to. Here are 5 simple tips to help you blend in a little bit better:

  1. Don’t wear tennis shoes everywhere. In most developed countries, tennis shoes are worn for sporting activities, not everyday street attire. The same thing goes for crocs and clogs (unless you are working on a farm).
  2. Don’t be so loud in public. Americans love to cut-up with their friends. A group acting loud and boisterous screams, “Hey, look at us! We’re from the USA” quicker than you would ever imagine.
  3. Don’t try to hug everyone you meet. In most countries, this is just not the norm, even among familiar acquaintances.
  4. Don’t dress too informal. In most countries, if people have the means, they dress nicer than we do in America. Don’t dress like it’s your vacation. Shorts and t-shirts may have their place, but typically not out in public.
  5. Don’t complain about the food or service. Americans are very used to getting our way and speaking up when something is not just right. When overseas, it is better to consider yourself a guest and keep your comments to yourself.

Even with these tips, its quite unlikely anyone will ever mistake you for a local, but they will appreciate your efforts to be a considerate guest.

10 Cultural Tips When Traveling to a Muslim Country

Despite news reports and travel advisories that encourage us to be “safe,” it’s exciting to see more and more mission teams taking trips to Muslim countries in recent years. The rich culture, history and hospitality of these lands is overwhelming to those who share the privilege of visiting.

Here’s 10 cultural tips you and your team should keep in mind and practice when visiting a Muslim country:

  1. Take your shoes off before entering a home, even if they insist you don’t need to. The bottom of your shoes is not just dirty, it is considered “unclean.”
  2. For the same reason, don’t cross or stretch out your legs in a manner that points the bottom of your feet or shoes at another person.
  3. Men greet men with a handshake– right hand only. The left hand is considered unclean.
  4. Men do not greet women with a handshake, except in rare situations where the woman extends her hand first. You can greet most women with a polite nod of your head. Hugs are a definite “no.”
  5. Almost all Muslim cultures are very conservative. Men should limit interaction to only men, and women to women. Do not mix this up. For example, a woman should avoid intentional eye contact or long conversations with a man and vice versa.
  6. Dress very conservative. Men should not wear tank tops or shorts. Long sleeves are best. Women should wear loose—fitting clothing that covers shoulders, below the elbows and well below the knees. No low necklines.
  7. Alcoholic drinks and pork are considered “unclean,” so offering these to a Muslim, or partaking in their presence, is very offensive.
  8. Avoid boisterous laughing or loud conversations in public. It is considered rude and draws unnecessary attention to the team.
  9. Extend reasonable effort to let locals walk through a doorway before you do. It is a sign of respect.
  10. Do not insult or speak light of anyone’s religion or prophet at anytime. Be respectful.

Six Month Passport Rule

Leading an international short-term mission trip requires lots of prayer, preparation and attention to detail. Visas and passports comprise just a few of the many details you need to tend to, but they are among the most important details.

The country your team visits may or may not require a visa, but it will certainly require a valid US passport. In recent years, more and more countries have adopted the mysterious “six month passport rule,” a rule that continues to catch unsuspecting travelers by surprise.

The “six month passport rule” is a policy adopted and enforced on a per-country basis. If you are traveling with a U.S. passport to Europe, Asia, South America or a host of other areas, the country you are visiting will likely require that your U.S. Passport be valid for 6 months following your expected date of departure (not date of entry).

Often perceived as just a nuisance or “payback” for similar policies the U.S. places upon visitors to its own shores, the “six month passport rule” does serve a valuable purpose. If a team member becomes sick or incapacitated, the host country does not want to risk the chance that they overstay their passport validity and have trouble returning home when able.

The only way to know for sure is to check with the embassy of the country you are visiting.  Also, you can visit the U.S. Department of State website, enter your destination country, and look for “passport validity” under the “Quick Facts” heading. Do the research and don’t rely entirely upon travel agents and ticket counters for the final word. Once at the airport, it is way too late to get a passport renewed.

To be safe, be sure to include on your trip application a place for team member passport number, expiration date, and name exactly as it appears on their passport. Double check the passport expiration date, and ask any team member with a passport expiring within 12 months of your return date to go ahead and get their passport renewed now. That way, even if your mission trip gets postponed a few weeks, you’re good to go.

Safe travels, and thanks for the important work you do to help support missions!

Insurance for Short Term Mission Trips

Insurance coverage for team members going on short-term mission trips is a smart and affordable part of preparation to travel abroad. Your regular family or employer health insurance policy typically will not cover illness or injury sustained overseas. You can call and check on your existing policy, but sometimes even such a call will raise unnecessary eyebrows.

In addition to coverage for unexpected medical expenses, many short-term travel policies will include coverage for lost or stolen luggage, emergency medical evacuation, and canceled flights.

Cost is basically a factor of three components: (1) destination location, (2) trip duration, and (3) age of team member.

For example, a 20 year-old going on a two week trip to Mexico will pay around $20 for $500,000 policy, whereas a 60 year-old traveling to the Middle East for one week would pay around $80 for the same amount of coverage.

Given the potential for the unexpected, both are quite reasonable. Some companies also offer group rates for whole team coverage.

Once you’ve purchased a policy, be sure to print out and take with you policy numbers and instructions for filing claims. Most policies require you to contact them as soon as possible regarding treatment or losses, and to keep documentation or receipts of all submitted charges.

An internet search will reveal several providers. We typically use Talent Trust ConsultantsInternational Medical Group or Mission Trip Insurance for short-term team coverage.

Sample Mission Trip FAQs

Questions. Questions. Questions…

You’re going to be asked lots of them! Be proactive and get answers out there before all the questions start.

A little up-front work now will save you hours down the road and also help prevent those awkward, or even dangerous, moments on the field. Let’s develop your list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) now and get it in your team’s hands before that first meeting.

If you’ve run the same trip before, you can probably type up a list of FAQs in 30 minutes or less. And it doesn’t have to be final; post it on your website and update it periodically, distribute them out via email, or make copies available during your team meetings. Also, you can you team management tool like MissionMinder to host your FAQs and other key documents online for easy and secure team member access.

Need some help getting started? Click here to download a starter list of Mission Trip FAQs:

Mission Trip FAQs Download (MS Word Document)

Finally, be sure and save your list and build upon it each year. Don’t let something you learned last year slip through the cracks next year.

Mission Trip Budget Worksheets

One of the most important steps in planning a short-term missions trip is building the budget. On large teams, a few errors or simple oversights can cost you thousands of dollars.

Apart from the highly visible expenses like tickets, taxis, hotels and food, there are dozens of items that are too easy to overlook until it’s too late.

Click here to download a detailed mission trip budget worksheet you can use to help build your team’s budget.

Mission Trip Budget Worksheet (Excel Spreadsheet)

Be sure and give your budget a generous cushion. There will always be unexpected expenses, – equipment repairs, travel delays, etc. Your goal is not to get the budget as low as possible. Also, ask yourself the following questions when building your budget:

  1. Do members need to help cover the costs of one or more team leaders?
  2. How much administrative expense will result from running a trip through your church or organization?
  3. Are we raising enough funds to cover training, project supplies and materials?
  4. Do we want to leave a gift for our hosts?

Finally, find someone else who’s been on a similar trip and ask them to look over your budget. Another set of eyes will often spot something you’ve missed.


Sample Mission Trip Applications

If you or your church are taking teams on a mission trip this coming year, take time now to get your application and application review process ready. Most churches start taking applications for Spring and Summer trips as soon as October of the prior year, so now is the time to get organized.

Start with a thorough trip application, honestly check those references, and prayerfully select your team. You need more than names, passport numbers and a deposit to make those kinds of decisions. Also, try to enlist the help of at least two others when evaluating applications.

If you don’t already have an application, or want to tweak what you already have, here’s a sample you can use to get started:

Mission Trip Application Sample Template

Your Mission Trip Support Letter and Message

Raising support can be awkward, especially if you’ve never done it before. The main thing understand and remember is:

  1. Support raising gives others the opportunity to also be a part of missions, and your trip in particular.
  2. Support raising gives God the opportunity to bless and confirm your calling through the gifts and prayers of others.

There are many ways to raise support (car washes, bake sales, etc.), but the most common is the PERSONAL SUPPORT LETTER. You can also distribute support letters through email, use an online crowd-funding service, print and mail out hardcopies, or even hand-deliver them. Regardless of which method(s) you use, let’s walk through the three basic steps for getting it done:

Step 1 – The List

Compile a list of names of friends, family, co-workers, fellow church members, etc. Collect emails and/or mailing addresses for each name. Most people can come up with 30 – 50 names. If not, grab a cup of coffee, go back, think harder and reach a little further.

Step 2 – The Letter

An effective personal fundraising letter should be brief (200-300 words), broken into 3-5 short paragraphs and include the following:

  1. Introduce yourself by sharing briefly what your life has been like recently (school, work, family, etc.).
  2. How God has been leading/calling you to go on this particular trip.
  3. Where you are going, when you are going, and who you are going with.
  4. What you and your team will be doing on the trip. What you hope to accomplish.
  5. How much you need to raise and when funds are due.
  6. Close by thanking readers for their prayers and support.

Don’t get preachy, and don’t get too detailed. Most people who support you will do so because of their personal relationship with you, not because of where you’re going or what you’re going to do on your mission trip.

Step 3 – Share It

If you are using an online service to raise support, you are done with most of the hard work at this point. Just click and share your online fundraising page via email or Facebook, or post a link on your blog site if you have one. If you are mailing out hardcopy newsletters, – be sure to hand-address each sending envelope and include a pre-addressed return envelope. Computer-printed labels and envelopes are too easily mistaken for junk mail.

Hope this helps. Just remember, by raising support you’re giving many others who can’t “go” a chance to participate.


Airline Tickets for Mission Trips

Often, the single most expensive part of your mission trip is airfare, particularly when you’re talking about international travel during the peak seasons. Here are 9 tips that could help save you and your team some headaches, and hopefully some money.

  1. If you use a travel agency or discount website, make sure to ask about their service fees on top of the ticket price. Ask before they do all the work of finding you their best deal.
  2. Look up the website of your destination airport and find out what airlines fly there. Then go to their websites and check for flights and pricing. Also call them and ask about group fares.
  3. Clear or reset your browser often when searching for tickets. For some strange reason, the more you search for certain flights, routes or destination cities, the more the price seems to climb.
  4. Be aware that some smaller international airlines require that you present the credit card you used to book your ticket when you check-in.
  5. Use a service like Orbitz or Vayama to discover airlines, routes or fares you may have overlooked.
  6. Don’t wait until the last minute. It’s better to “look and book” 6 weeks to 2 months prior to scheduled departure dates.
  7. Make sure you book your ticket with the exact name as on your passport. If your team leader is booking tickets, – make sure they have that information. If the name on your passport and ticket don’t match, you could be buying a new ticket or watching your team members leave without you.
  8. Be as flexible as you can with your schedule. Mid-week and EARLY morning flights are often cheaper.
  9. Consider using a travel consolidator like RaptimMissionTravel or Fellowship Travel International that specializes in serving missionaries.