Team leader checklist

As you lead and coordinate a short-term mission trip, consider the suggested schedule below. The timetable allows some flexibility. It may be helpful as you plan to fill in your specific dates.

Confirmed dates of the trip: ______________________________

6 months before the trip: ________________________________ 

____ Determine outreach location and on-site hosts.
  • Consider your church’s mission strategy and how you might advance your church's vision.
  • Consider serving alongside a missionary your congregation supports or another person        with whom you are connected.
____ Contact potential hosts to confirm an opportunity, and set dates for the trip.
____ Begin initial planning of training weekend (dates, location). You may use the teaching                   materials yourself or contact EMM to reserve dates for a training weekend.
____ Create a preliminary budget and set the cost per participant.
____ Create a trip summary sheet and make it available to the congregation and others.
____ Form a discernment cluster to review and approve potential team members.

5 months before the trip:

____ Book a facility for the training weekend.
____ Work with outreach hosts on:
  • Initial schedule and ministry focus
  • Food and lodging options
  • Travel at outreach location (rentals, ticket purchase, etc.)
____ Receive initial deposits from approved team members. Suggested amount is $300/person.

4 months before the trip: ____________________________________

____ Finalize the roster of team members.
____ Check in with team members to make sure each has a current passport and ask for a                    photocopy of each passport.
____ Keep in touch with the approved participants, and inform them about training weekend 
       details and planned team meetings and/or activities.
____ Research immunizations needed and inform team members.
____ Arrange for travel visas if needed for your location.
____ Start fund-raising efforts.

3 months before the trip: ____________________________________

____ Finalize the budget.
____ Make travel arrangements.
____ Gather the team for an initial team meeting and/or fun activity.
____ Continue fund-raising.
____ Invite the congregation to be praying for the team.
____ Complete preparation for the training weekend:
  • Finalize dates and location
  • Check out options for the Logistics session. If someone from your congregation has been to the location or culture, you may want to invite that person to share during this session.

Two weeks before the training weekend: _______________________________

____ Distribute the questions for the Cross-cultural messengers session and ask team members            to respond/prepare for this session.
____ Make arrangements for food preparation. When possible, have someone who is not on the           team prepare the meals, so that team members do not miss any of the sessions. Also                   consider arrangements for the “cross-cultural understanding” meal.
____ After the training weekend, return training evaluations to EMM if EMM provided the training.

2 months before the trip: ____________________________________________

____ Continue shopping for airfare/travel and get ready to purchase tickets.
____ Gather the team for one or two team meetings and/or fun activities.
____ Ask all team members to make sure that their medical insurance plans cover them while               they are overseas. If they are not covered, encourage them to consider a short-term policy           with an insurance agency that will provide coverage.
____ Ask team members whether they have ordered the devotional book, Prepare Your                  
       Heart: Short-term Mission Preparation Guide by Cindy Judge. It includes 12 Bible studies plus          a trip journal (ISBN# 0 -9712-320-4-0).

6 weeks before the trip: _____________________________________________

____ Confirm travel visas (if needed for outreach location).
____ If you have not yet done so, refer to the team member roles/delegating responsibility 
       document and consider ways to share responsibilities.
____ Ask team members to complete the Emergency medical information form and return it to           you.
____ Distribute the Parental consent form to team members under age 18 (if parents are not part 
       of the team) and have the forms returned to you.

5 weeks before the trip: ____________________________________________

____ Confirm the maximum weight allowance for baggage on the airline you will be using. Also           confirm airport security guidelines and items restricted from carry-on luggage. Ask for the           cost of checked-in bags and find out if it is cheaper to pay for checked-in bags online before        the day of the flight.
____ Ask congregational leadership to give the team an opportunity to share prior to the trip and        to be commissioned.
____ Request names of prayer supporters from each team member, and designate one of the               prayer supporters to be the Prayer Coordinator.
____ Prepare a trip itinerary and give it to your team members.

2 weeks before the trip:

____ Remind team members to use the Prepare Your Heart devotional booklet.
____ Take inventory of items going with the team (tools for work projects, etc.).
____ Plan transportation to and from the airport.
____ Ensure that any monies transferred to the host site have been received.
____ Photocopy visas, passports, and emergency medical information forms. Carry copies with           you to the outreach location, and give a copy to each participant’s emergency contact 
____ Photocopy reflection/debriefing material to use on outreach with team members.

1 week before the trip: _____________________________________________

____ Obtain the address and phone number of the U.S. embassy in the host country.
____ Designate one person who is staying home to be your contact in case of an emergency.               Give him or her each team member’s emergency contact information, and make sure that he        or she knows how to contact all the others.

3 days before departure: ____________________________________

____ Confirm flights.
____ Tag luggage with I.D.

Day of departure: __________________________________________

____ Ensure that team members have their passports with them.

On field:

____ Ensure that the team is oriented by hosts and that crisis/emergency plans have been shared.
____ Ensure that on-site sessions and teams are in place.
____ One or two days before return, begin reflection and debriefing.

After the team returns:

____ Ask team members to use the post-trip reflection material.
____ Gather the team two or three times after the trip to debrief, share, and reflect.
____ Arrange a time for the team to report to the congregation about their experience.