Mission Journeys

The new WELS program for short-term mission trips

WELS Mission Journeys, the official WELS program for short-term mission trips, provides an opportunity for all WELS members to walk together in the Great Commission. Through church- or school-based volunteer trips to WELS mission fields at home and abroad, members have the opportunity to engage in Christian service. Pre-trip training led by a Mission Journeys team leader equips volunteers to have significant impact during their trip. While volunteering, the learning and sharing of outreach ideas will allow teams to explore how they can use their God-given abilities to lead an outreach event upon their return home. With the Lord’s blessing, these trips will inspire a lifelong journey of service and outreach for all who volunteer.

Pre-Trip

Through pre-trip training, you will develop a spiritual plan for your earthly mission journey. Teams receive training materials that provide opportunities for spiritual growth, team building, and enhanced cultural understanding.

Trip

Your mission journey will provide you with a new perspective on the urgency of sharing the Gospel. With everything centered on our Savior, you will develop meaningful relationships with your team, host congregations, and even members of the community you witness to.

Post-Trip

Your team will have the opportunity to lead an outreach activity or event in your community through your local congregation. This will allow your team to take what you’ve learned and apply it back home, continuing to walk together in the Great Commission.

WHAT TO EXPECT

View Mr. Shannon Bohme’s presentation about WELS Mission Journeys from the 2018 LWMS Convention. Presentation starts at the 2:04:00 marker.

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FAQs

Q: Can anyone apply for a mission journey trip?

A: Mission Journeys is a program for WELS/ELS members over the age of 13. This program is designed for both lay people and called workers, to give all WELS members the opportunity to experience a short-term mission trip.

Q: What kinds of groups can send a Mission Journeys team?

A: The focus of the Mission Journeys program is to work with congregations, but we will also work with schools and campus ministries to assist with mission trips. You do not need a team to apply. Mission Journeys will help you recruit a team from your congregation or school.

Q: What if I’m the only one from my congregation or school that can go on a mission journey trip?

A: We will try to help you recruit additional team members. There is also potential to pair up with a team from a congregation close by.

Q: What happens after I apply?

A: You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Mission Journeys staff will contact you within one week to talk more specifically about the details of a mission journeys trip.

Q: How is my team matched up with a host congregation?

A: Some congregations and schools already work with a specific ministry and consistently send volunteers – if that is the case, we would encourage you to continue those relationships and enhance volunteer efforts through the Mission Journeys program. For congregations not currently doing missions trips, Mission Journeys will match teams based on the needs of the hosting mission congregation or field.

Q: What kinds of congregations/mission fields might my team be sent to?

A: Mission Journeys is looking to send 75% of trips to domestic locations – in home missions or existing, self-supporting congregations – with the rest of the trips being at an international location.

Q: How many people will be on a team?

A: Team size is dependent on the request and needs of the host congregation.

Q: What projects will my team work on?

A: Types of projects including canvassing, a variety of camps (Soccer, Fine Arts, Coding etc.), and Vacation Bible School.

Q: Do I need to know a foreign language?

A: For many domestic trips, you won’t have to worry about a language barrier. While it may be helpful for some members of the team to have some fluency in the local language on international trips, it is not required.

Q: Is my team provided with training prior to the departure of the trip?

A: Yes – Team training includes developing a resiliency plan, culture sensitivity training, team building activities, devotions, and sharing ideas for fundraising. Most mission journey teams will meet four to five times as a team before departure.

Q: What happens when we return home?

A: Your journey continues with a post-trip team meeting and a presentation to your church. Each team also leads an outreach activity or program in the local congregation/community. This could be an enhanced VBS program, canvassing your community, starting a campus ministry, or finding service projects in your community for your congregation to participate in.

Q: What is the financial commitment to participate in a mission journeys trip?

A: Mission Journeys trips are funded by the team. The costs will vary for each trip. Fundraising is allowed and recommended for those who might need financial assistance.

Q: What are the housing accommodations?

A: You may be staying with a host family, in a hotel, or in dorm rooms. Housing is dependent on what the host can provide.

Q: What can I expect if staying with a host family?

A: Host families will be church members of the congregation or mission field you are working with. They have generously offered to share their home and meals to support the ministry. Host families may be a family with extra space to share or a retired couple looking to share their space with you. By staying with a host family, you may be building a life-long friendship. You may share a room with another member of your team, of the same gender.

Q: Will there be opportunities for sight-seeing?

A: While the focus of the trip with be to walk alongside the congregation or mission field that you are visiting, there may be opportunities to enjoy the area you are visiting. Most hosts are proud to share the beauty and sights of the area in which they live.

Q: Will I need a passport?

A: If your mission journeys trip is international, you will need a valid U.S. passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and plane tickets cannot be booked without a copy of each person’s passport. Any costs associated with obtaining a passport are solely your responsibility. You can download a passport application and read instructions on obtaining a passport online at www.travel.state.gov/passport. It is required for your passport to have at least six months of validity past your travel dates.

Q: Do I need to provide my own travel insurance?

A: Travel insurance is provided to team members traveling on international trips. Services provided include political and natural disaster evacuation, emergency medical transport as well as other services relating to trip planning and emergency coordination.

Q: How can my church host a team?

A: If your church would like to host a team, there is a Host Request Form available on the WELS Missions Journeys webpage. Hosts and Teams will be matched according to gifts, timing, and needs.

Download flyers, posters, and bulletin inserts from the WELS Resource Center to promote Mission Journeys within your congregation, school, or organization.

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