How to do a Digital Mission Trip
Short-term mission trips have long been a staple of the church, a way to expose people – especially students — to other cultures, get them to share their faith, help in practical ways, and learn how to live life on mission. But then COVID-19 happened.
Due to the global pandemic, sending people on a mission trip isn’t possible right now. Even if you could travel, you can’t meet in groups and most of the places you would go are empty. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still do a mission trip; it just means doing things differently. Some missionaries have started running Digital Mission Trips. These are just like a regular mission trips, in that a group of Christians gather to share Christ and make disciples with their friends and strangers. Instead of doing it in schools, villages, or business centers, however, the trips are being done online using websites, apps, and social media.
Recently Melody, a missionary in Malaysia, spoke about Digital Mission Trips at the Asia edition of the Indigitous “Ministry from a Distance” webinar. During the webinar, she explained how Digital Mission Trips work and encouraged people to take part in one.
What happens in a DMT?
Like in-person mission trips, Digital Mission Trips involve forming relationships and building community as well as sharing the Gospel. “You’ll have this bonding time together, you’ll have … fun time together, and train each other to be a more effective worker for Christ,” Melody says. Whereas a traditional mission trip would take place over a week or longer, a Digital Mission Trip is much more intensive, packing all of the activities into a single weekend.
Melody has been running Digital Mission Trips in Malaysia for more than a year. During that time, she has seen the experience result in an evangelistic mindset for the students. “When they go back to their hometown, they continue to share. They recruit their friends, group them together, and continue to share Christ,” she says.
For those who want to host a Digital Mission Trip, Melody suggests these action steps:
- Gather a group of 5 online (Zoom, Skype, Meet, WhatsApp).
- Pray for divine opportunities (Make a list of 5 friends and ask how they need prayer).
- Have fun together: Get to know each other, watch a movie, play games, etc.
- Train by sharing resources, reading articles, watching videos, etc.
- Share the Gospel, do discipleship, share the vision of helping fulfill the Great Commission online
- Watch God work
How to share
Amy, a missionary in Central Europe, recently spoke at the North American edition of the Indigitous “Ministry at a Distance” webinar and shared some simple ways to share online. She recommended any of the following as conversation starters during a Digital Mission Trip:
- Use graphics that have a question or Bible verse.
- Use short films from the Jesus Film app.
- Create your own online game or quiz.
- If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
Starting with your own community, sharing with your friends and family is easiest, but you shouldn’t stop there. “I hope that we will all use this opportunity to reach beyond our borders,” Amy says, stating that 41.6% of the world’s population is still unreached. “They don’t have a community where they live that can reach out to them with evangelism because less than 5% of their population are professing Christians. But we can reach out to them online!”
One way to reach beyond your borders and share with someone in an unreached area is through Facebook. With a few simple steps, you can find interested students in unreached areas. Amy recommends following these steps:
- Go to the search box and type in:
- “People who attend [university name, such as University of Tehran, American University of Afghanistan, etc] and like [Christian interest, such as Bible or Hillsong United].”
- “People who attend [university name] and are Christian.”
- Try a combination of different search phrases and terms to see what works best.
- Click on “People” to see the extended list of those matching the search phrase.
- Add those students as a friend and add them to a new list such as “Key Students.”
- Message students
Just because you’re confined to your home doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference, bringing the Gospel to the unreached. “God has a wonderful plan for this season and for the world that He loves,” Amy says. Melody agrees, saying that although there are many places you can’t safely send physical mission trips, “God is working in those places we can’t reach.”
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Host a Digital Mission Trip.
- Let us know how it goes!