Short-Term Mission Trip Book Suggestions

by Jessica Purdy

What to read to prepare for your trip

Your short-term mission trip is likely going to be a life-changing event. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone and you will see things you’ve never seen before. You will see God work in ways you never would have imagined. Through all of this, it is important to keep your mind and heart in the right place. Check out the following books help to prepare you for what you will experience on your cross-cultural trip. 

Book List


Helping without Hurting: In Short-Term Missions (Leader’s guide and Participant’s guide): Aims to train and debrief team members, preparing them to do short-term missions as effectively as possible. To do this, it provides practical examples and guidelines for team members, and it creates interaction and reflection opportunities through questions and journaling.
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself Shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good. Also provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out.

Short-term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens

a concise summary of cross cultural principles, help in facing spiritual warfare, tips on avoiding a tourist mentality, spiritual preparation through individual or group, Bible questions for individual reflection and group discussion.

How to Get Ready for Short-term Missions: The Ultimate Guide for Sponsor, Parents, and Those Who Go.

Anne-Geri’ and Greg have been in the field and led teams. They will help you prep and pack for the trip, put their arms around you while you’re gone, and offer perspective as you reenter “normal” life. This book will help you pack your suitcase and prepare your heart, build genuine relationships with the locals, understand cultural differences, deal with physical fatigue, and combat stretched emotions.

The Essential Guide to the Short Term Mission Trip.

David Forward helps prepare leaders and members on the team for their experience as volunteers for the cause of Christ. He covers all sorts of topics, including cultural sensitivity, raising financial support, choosing a team, pre-trip team meetings, what to bring, clearing, customs, and after-trip debriefing.

Now What?: Spiritual Discernment for Cultural Encounters.

Research indicates that short-term missions have minimal effect on the spiritual lives of participants unless intentional debriefing occurs. Yet, in our hurry-sick society, this debriefing is rare. Now What? Spiritual Discernment For Cultural Encounters is a spiritual formation workbook that meets this need. The book uses a mixture of reflection questions and Ignatian principles to help those who have had a cultural experience reflect on the past, internalize the effect and address the future.

A Guide to Short Term Missions: A Comprehensive Manual for Planning An Effective Mission Trip.

Drawing on his experiences from over thirty short-term missions trips, Dr. Greene gives a detailed look at the challenges and blessings faced by those who are considering such an endeavor. This one-stop guide helps make the most of this opportunity by outlining the steps to take from start to finish.

Sending out Servants: A Church-based Short-term Missions Strategy.

This book gives churches helpful insight and suggestions on ways to create strategies for short-term missions.


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