Mission Trip Resources - Book list

A list of suggested books for making the most of church mission trips

If your church is preparing for a mission trip, these resources can help your congregation get the most out of their experience.

Mission Trips That Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World
by Don C. Richter (Upper Room Books, 2008)

Following Jesus and actively living out our Christian faith is at the heart of "Mission Trips That Matter." Through scripture, personal stories, insightful questions, and prayerful activities, leaders can guide others to a deeper understanding of Christ's incarnational ministry. Whether you are leading a one-day mission service event or a week-long mission trip, this resource can assist leaders with deepening one's spiritual experience with God. This book offers practical advice, great stories, prayers to use on the trip, preparation ideas, and reflection suggestions.

Mission Trips from Start to Finish: How to Organize and Lead Impactful Mission Trips [With CDROM]
by Lynn Ellis and Doug Fields (Group Publishing, June 2008)

Practical guide to planning life-changing mission trips for youth.  Guides first time planners step-by-step through the process, saving you time and headaches.

Deep Justice in a Broken World: Helping Your Kids Serve Others and Right the Wrongs around Them
by Chap Clark and Kara Powell (Zondervan, 2008)

Deep Social Justice for Your Ministry gives youth workers the opportunity to go beyond simply trying to motivate kids to serve those in need and invites them to help their kids wrestle with why those people are in need in the first place.

You'll hear from well-known social justice leaders and youth workers who are making a difference in urban, suburban, and small town settings such as Jim Wallis of Sojourners and  Tony Campolo. In addition to expanding your personal justice commitments, Deep Justice in a Broken World will help you reflect with your own leadership team, and will provide you with online resources to take you even deeper into the journey.

Ready-to-Go Devotions for Mission and Service
by Mark Ray (Abingdon Press, 2008)

What if you held a mission trip and nobody changed? It's a haunting, daunting question, one that youth workers and researchers across America are beginning to ask. Ready-to-Go Devotions for Mission and Service is a toolkit of daily devotionals for youth mission trips. The devotions in this book address every aspect of the mission experience, from leaving home and sleeping on the floor to dealing with language barriers and grumpy teammates. Each devotion includes a relevant Bible story, a commentary that connects that story to the mission experience, and a section that challenges the reader to take specific actions on the trip, back home, or both. The book includes devotions in preparation for, during, and after the mission trip or service project.

Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence
by David Livermore (Baker Books, 2006)

Serving with Eyes Wide Open helps Christians understand the changing face of Christianity and how that affects short-term missions. In three parts, author David A. Livermore will take a broad look at what the twenty-first-century church is doing on the mission field, the assumptions people make about Christianity, and what it takes to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts. Perfect for all who engage in short-term missions trips--either at home or abroad--Serving with Eyes Wide Open will equip readers to serve more sensitively.
Author David A. Livermore is executive director of the Global Learning Center at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and is cofounder of Intersect, a ministry that provides leadership training and consulting to emerging leaders in ministries around the world.

Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility
by Duane Elmer (InterVarsity Press, 2006)

Duane Elmer asked people around the world how they felt about Western missionaries. The response? "Missionaries could be more effective if they did not think they were better than us."The last thing we want to do in cross-cultural ministry is to offend people in other cultures. Unfortunately, all too often and even though we don't mean it, our actions communicate superiority, paternalism, imperialism and arrogance. Our best intentions become unintentional insults. How can we minister in ways that are received as true Christlike service? Cross-cultural specialist Duane Elmer gives Christians practical advice for serving other cultures with sensitivity and humility.

Author Duane H. Elmer (Ph.D., Michigan State U.) is director of the Ph.D. program in educational studies and is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Multicultural Manners: Essential Rules of Etiquette for the 21st Century
by Norine Dresser (Wiley, 2005)

Both highly informative and entertaining, Multicultural Manners gives readers the understanding they need, the perfect words to say, and the correct behavior to use in a wide range of cross-cultural situations. This incisive and award-winning guide to etiquette features completely updated etiquette guidelines with special emphasis on post–September 11 culture clashes as well as a brand-new section that demystifies unfamiliar cultures in the news. Norine Dresser identifies key cross-cultural hot spots and suggests methods that foster respect for diversity. Readers will discover the dos and don'ts of successful business and social interaction, detailed tips on avoiding embarrassment in a variety of social settings, amusing firsthand accounts of cultural gaffes, a breakdown of customs, religions, languages, and ethnicities for seventy different countries, and appropriate etiquette for innumerable settings.

Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens
by Tim Dearborn (InterVarsity Press, 2003)

Going on a short-term missions trip can be a life- and faith-transforming experience. It can enrich the way you view the world. It will cause you to rely on God more fully. It is an opportunity to develop deep relationships with your team and the people you serve. A short-term missions experience can also involve weeks of physical and spiritual distress. An unprepared team can wreak havoc on each other and the people they intend to serve. To get the most out of such a missions trip, you need to go prepared. Whether you are going on your own or with a team, the keys to preparation are here in Tim Dearborn's workbook. It includes

  • Concise summary of crosscultural principles
  • Help in facing spiritual warfare
  • Tips on avoiding a tourist mentality
  • Spiritual preparation through individual or group Bible study
  • 8-week course for teams to do together

You'll get a biblical perspective on the world, gain crosscultural understanding and even prepare for reentry when you return. If you are planning to go on a short-term missions trip, don't leave home without working through this book!


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  • commented 2016-02-09 12:59:32 -0500
    Thank you so much for this resource. I was looking for just such a thing. Very helpful!