What to Expect on a Mission Trip

Character/Personality Traits that enhance your training to serve the Lord abroad include:

#1 flexibility  #2 flexibility  #3 a servant's heart  #4 humility  #5 a sense of adventure and humor   #6 flexibility #7 willingness to try new and different things  #8 time and willingness to learn  #9 deep prayer life and ease in dependence on the Holy Spirit  #10 did I mention flexibility?


IVC has a full training program designed for any level Believer to train for short-term missions. It may take up to a year to complete all the element and get the experience you need to function well in a ministry trip abroad, but if you've been around IVC for any length of time, serving in one capacity or another, you have probably already taken 1-3 of the 4 major components of Missionary Pathway Training. You may fill out an application and request a coffee chat with the Missions Coordinator at any time during your individual process.

First, you'll want to make sure you are a tithing member/attender and have gone through the Spiritual Gifts testing/results with a staff member during the Discovery Class (~2 hrs offered once per semester or as needed). 

Second, take Barry Sturdivant's Ministry Training class, or a refresher course if you took it a while back. In a low-pressure atmosphere, Barry invites Believers to listen for the voice of God and hear words of wisdom and knowledge or see pictures of what God is doing or has done in someone's life. This class is a pre-requisite for serving on the Sunday morning ministry team, and is offered 1-2 times per year. Once cleared to minister on Sunday morning with a team mate, you'll gain valuable experience and practice praying for people when you're abroad.

Third, you'll need to have a background check done ($12), and if you're not already a regular volunteer working in our children's department, you'll need to partner up with a current teacher to co-teach at least 3 sessions in any age-group you want, or a variety  of age groups if you prefer.

Fourth, you will need to complete the Missions Pathway Training course (small group format, 1x/week, 6-8 weeks) during which you will begin the detailed training you need for the team you are volunteering to serve on. Download a syllabus here  Download and preview the full Missions Pathway Training course (coming soon). You'll get some cultural training, money training, heart training, a chance to practice teaching/talking with a translator, and some personal safety/awareness training.  You'll learn some tricks to avoid jetlag and make the long-distance travel easier on your body.

Lastly, but not necessarily in this order, if you feel the Lord calling you to India or Kenya, you'll want to make sure you have some teaching experience under your belt. So, we would like for you to lead and teach an IVC small group for at least a semester. This small group leading can run simultaneously with any of the other requirements if your schedule allows.

The final leg of training includes:

Team meetings. These occur on a mutually acceptable evening or afternoon, beginning about 3 months out from departure. Every other week for 1.5 months and the final 6 weeks every week before departure. These are generally led by the Missions Coordinator, team leader or combination of the two. Team meetings give your team a chance to bond together over food or coffee, and shared questions and experiences; worship together; pray & fast together for your host country, your team & each other; and get to know each other as you countdown to Fly Day!

Using together the books Before You Go (40-day devotional) and Praying For The Nations (31-day prayer guide) to prepare your heart and build team unity. Link to Amazon descriptions by clicking on the title.

On a return mission trip/partnership visit, you'll want to get the book When Helping Hurts, a fantastic resource to expand your knowledge.

Upon your return, Debrief

The debrief dinner/lunch time is when we come together again about 10 days to 2 weeks after you have returned home and are working your way through a debrief devotional book on your own. Re-entry into your own culture can be difficult and it hits some people harder than others. Even a seasoned cross-cultural worker who has had no trouble with re-entry before, can struggle sometimes. Depending on a person's experience abroad and their stress load when arriving home, re-entry distress can creep up on a person, and individual debriefing sessions are available upon request before or after the group debrief. These training and debriefing resources are also available for IVC members who undertake a mission trip with another church or para-church ministry. Just email to make an appointment.

Download an IVC missions application. Return it with a $100 down payment in person or via email.
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