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Missions 101: Recruiting Your Team

By Jason Pfingsten 

Assemble a Recruiting Team

Organize a team of three or four leaders to help recruit team members. Collaborate on a list and target specific people, personally inviting them to a team meeting and on the trip itself. Be sure to ask people who have been on a mission trip in the past—they are very likely to say yes! And when you’re looking for people to go, be sure to ask the church secretary, as they have a pulse on the church like no one else.

Age Matters (or does it?)

Open the trip up to all ages. Make it intergenerational so that family members can experience the trip together.

Allow more chaperones, younger siblings, and other family members with various ages to attend. If you can swing it, offer a discount for those families who have two or more people attending.

Incentives and Removing Roadblocks

Use the mission trip as an outreach tool. Give anyone who invites a friend from outside the church or youth group a financial incentive or another reward for reaching out. Use the “fun” aspects of the trip to invite those who are on the fence. A Thirst Missions trip to Belize is about ministry first and foremost, but it’s also a ton of fun! Visits to Mayan ruins, snorkeling on Caye Caulker—even getting from point A to point B in Belize is a fun adventure.

Let people know about the significant needs of the people you are ministering to, both physically and spiritually, and how they can make a difference. Choose ministries for the trip that will attract certain groups of people: sports ministry will help attract the soccer players, VBS will attract those with a soft spot for kids, construction ministry will attract guys, and so on.

One way to remove the financial roadblock is to find people with money in the church who can’t go but would be willing to sponsor someone without financial means. Create a scholarship program for those who can’t afford it.


There are many ways to promote a trip. Mix and match promotional techniques from the following list, and you’ll get a robust turnout for your trip!

  • Personally invite the pastor(s). If the pastor goes others will follow.
  • Partner with another youth group or school.
  • Schedule home visits with people who are new to the church inviting them to join the team.
  • Announce the trip at church new member orientations.
  • Put an article (or numerous articles) in the church or school newsletter, and submit small news items for the church bulletin each week about the trip. And don’t forget the church website—provide some content for the webmaster and be sure they add it.
  • Present a testimony or do recruitment during a church service or school program.
  • Talk to the local Christian radio stations about doing a promotional piece.
  • Submit information to a local newspaper before and after the trip. The media is always looking for positive stories to run.
  • Put posters up in the school or church.
  • Use Twitter, Facebook, or other social media to keep the trip in front of people.
  • Send out regular texts or emails highlighting the trip for anyone interested.


Sometimes people want to go but are struggling to put all the pieces together. Acceptnot too late late registrations. Yes, it would be better to get them in on time, but ultimately what’s important is that people can go and serve. We hope this trip will be a life-changer for them and for the Belizeans they are going to serve!

And that brings us to the last point, which really should be the first point. This thing needs to be bathed in prayer at the outset and all the way through. God is good and God is able to work out any logistical hurdles you may be facing. Trust Him with it, and go serve!

Jason Pfingsten is the founder of Thirst Missions. He has led missions trips to Belize for over 20 years and has overseen recruiting for dozens of teams.

One Comment

  • Christina Sherrod says:

    Thank you for the information. For the first time i will be leading a youth mission team to Cuba to attend a youth camp. This team will be comprised of youth from different churches. Any suggestions on how to recruit or work with youth pastors you don’t know?

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