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Ten Commandments for Mission Trip Participants

Ten Commandments for Mission Trip Participants

by Howard Culbertson, ShortTermMissions.com
  1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home, for thou hast left thy home to find things differently.
  2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously. A willingness to accept things as they are lays the foundation for a good trip to another country.
  3. Thou shalt not let other group members get on thy nerves. Thou raised good money and set aside this time to enjoy thyself.
  4. Thou shalt not forget that, at all times, thou dost represent thy own country and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Thou shalt not be overly worried. He who worrieth hath no pleasures. Few things people worry about are ever fatal.
  6. Remember thy passport (or other identification document) so that thou knowest where it is at all times. A person without documents is a person without a country.
  7. Blessed is the person who says, “When in [insert name of country] (Rome), do as the [insert name of people] (Romans) do.” If in difficulty, use common sense and thy American friendliness.
  8. Do not judge all [insert name of target people] by the one person with whom thou hast had trouble.
  9. Remember, thou art a guest in [insert name of country]. He who treateth his host with respect shall be treated as an honored guest.

Admittedly, these 10 commandments weren’t given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They are, however, based on some foundational principles of success in short-term cross-cultural experiences. So, breaking them can spoil your short-term experience and even tarnish your witness for Christ.


Howard Culbertson is a missions professor at Southern Nazarene University. He maintains a website featuring an extensive collection of articles on missions.

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  1. Articles on Short-Term Missions
  2. Packing Tips
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