The mission doesn't end when you arrive back home. In many cases, it's only just begun ...  

Now is the time to turn your experience, learning and attention towards post-trip action and advocacy. 

Examples of post-trip actions & advocacy

Post-trip actions will vary depending on the type of trip. 

Post-trip actions could include:

  • Providing ongoing technical support to the receiving organisation you were volunteering with or mentoring and follow-up training.

For example, a volunteer who helped set up IT systems for a local organisation during their trip may continue to provide an agreed level of remote support after the trip concludes. This ensures the outcomes of the trip can be sustained and further built upon. 

Skills-based volunteers and exchanges

Post-trip actions could include:

  • Sharing stories of the people and communities you met and worked alongside, including stories of their amazing resilience and strength. 

By sharing these stories, we can be part of breaking down stereotypes and broad generalisations which paint communities living in poverty as helpless, and outsiders – including volunteers – as their 'saviours'. Changing common messaging can have long-term impact on the way people choose respond to issues of poverty and disadvantage. It also reaffirms the worth and dignity of local people. 

This approach to sharing stories should be used by all teams, not just asset-based community development trips. 

Asset-based community development trips

Post-trip actions could include:

  • Reflecting on your experience and praying and considering if long-term missions is something you feel called to engage in.  
  • If yes, then you may need to seek further guidance regarding what next steps to take towards this goal, including referrals to missions agencies and/or further training.
  • When suitably equipped, prepared and ready to go, return to the field as a missionary and begin laying the groundwork for your longer-term ministry. 

Exposure trips

For advocacy trips, these post-trips actions are the key purpose of the trip itself. This is your opportunity utilise the firsthand knowledge you have gained to raise awareness and advocate for change within your personal sphere of influence – among family, friends, workplace, church and community.

Post-trip actions could include:

  • hosting awareness raising and fundraising events;
  • looking at ways your own culture is complicit in causing issues of exploitation or poverty in the country you have visited and advocating for change; and
  • sharing stories and experiences of the people you met to give voice to local people who want their story to be heard and used to catalyse change. 

Advocacy trips

Be mindful

Some team members and volunteers can find aspects of a short-term missions (STM) trip quite confronting and struggle to reconcile the situation of children and families overseas (extreme poverty or child vulnerability) with their own lives and cultures, upon their return. It's a good idea to find someone, whether that be your team leader or another person you trust, to discuss and process these challenging experiences with. Debreifing is an important post-trip action, and one that is often necessary to give you confidence to move forward with other advocacy and awareness-raising efforts. 

wise as serpents, harmless as doves – a fitting conclusion

“Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
— Matt 10:16 (NKJV)


These instructions, given to the disciples as they prepared to go into all the world, are as relevant to those of us who engage in contemporary missions as they were to the disciples.

Jesus is instructing us to be wise, strategic and thoughtful in our engagement in the Great Commission. He knew that it would take wisdom to effectively navigate the often complex issues we interact with in the course of short-term missions trips and bear fruit. He knew it would take wisdom to know how to show love and how to be light in cultural contexts vastly different to our own. Jesus also knew that it takes more than good intentions to avoid doing harm; it takes wisdom.

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.”
— Proverbs 24:3-7 (ESV)

An ethical STM program is one built by wisdom. While this can amount to considerable effort, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we have done our utmost to uphold the best interests of communities and contribute to positive outcomes for children, families and whole communities, makes it well worth it.

We hope the information contained in this website has strengthened your foundations and will enrich the work you embark upon in short-term missions. 

For more information see links below: