A missionary survey trip is when a pre-field missionary purposely goes to the host country to pray for, prepare to move into, and pursue information needed to enter into ministry and life in that country. It is not a short-term mission, but a pre-field exercise for the home church and future missionary.
Taking 10 to 14 days for a survey trip may seem costly in time and resources, especially if there is a family involved. It may seem wasteful in this age of easy internet communication and research. For others, the survey trip can seem to postpone the actual move onto the field.
It is better to see the pre-field survey trip as a key and early investment for the home church and pre-field missionary.
Home Church Evaluation
A purposeful survey helps a missions pastor, missions committee or other church leadership to deepen the relationship with the pre-field missionary as expectations are discussed and evaluated. Here is a list of possible goals and expectations church leadership may desire to evaluate in their pre-field missionary on their return from a survey trip:
- Evaluate a confirmed calling on the pre-field whole missionary family.
- Evaluate their flexibility and adaptability to the culture they are being sent to.
- Evaluate the pre-field missionary’s ability to raise support and engage the church in participation in the mission.
- Evaluate the pre-field missionary’s ability to relate to existing missionaries and nationals.
- Evaluate any deficits in spiritual, emotional and practical training that may need to be built up before the missionary departs for the field full-time.