Short-term missions phases

Each year, as many as half a million North Americans go on short-term missions trips. A 10-day short-term missions experience is more than just the 10 days spent on a mission field. There are important things that go on before the trip occurs and important things that occur after the 10 days are over. As you set up your mission trip calendar, there are a lot more things that go on it in addition to the date of departure and the date of return.

Here are the three phases of every short-term missions trip along with a listing of activities that go on in each phase.

PRE-Field ON-FieldPOST-Field
Preparing Giving/Receiving Back to earth
  • Ministry (evangelism, medical, construction, and other)
  • Team building
  • Surprises
  • Language encounters
  • Challenges requiring flexibility
  • Divine encounters
  • Tourism
  • Dealing with conflict [ more info ]
  • Juggling finances
  • Debriefing (and even de-griefing)
  • Reverse culture shock [ more info ]
  • Reporting
  • Plugging back into home culture / environment
  • Future decisions for both go-ers and receivers
  • Re-mobilization
  • Cleaning up messes on field and at home
  • Field followup on new contacts

This material reflects presentations by Roger Peterson at Fall Fellowship of Short-Term Missions Leaders conferences and the followup discussions among participants.

It's been said that the interactions within a group of people on a short-term mission trip go through a progression of:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

arrow   Jack Hempfling's devotional book for short-term mission participants

How do I raise support?

NextHow do you get started raising finances for a missions trip? There are some effective strategies you can use to create a network of faithful supporters. [ read more ]

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

Cultural Anthropology    Introduction to Missions    Linguistics    Missions Strategies    Modern Missionary Movement (History of Missions)    Nazarene Missions    Church Growth and Christian Missions    Theology of Missions    Traditional Religions    World Religions
 Top of page|My Home Page|Master List\Index||SNU Home Page|Scripture index

Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658
Copyright © 2000, 2001 - Last Updated: January 12, 2015 |  URL:

You have permission to reprint what you just read. Use it in your ezine, at your web site or in your newsletter. Please include the following footer:
Article by Howard Culbertson.
For more original content like this, visit: