Why Go With Servant Life?
Our team at Servant Life has two primary functions: serving local churches here in the U.S. and Canada, and serving and supporting the work of missionaries around the world.
Servant Life serves the Church by equipping and sending believers to the nations. Our 20+ years of experience in short-term trips makes missions possible for many churches and individuals. Many churches do not have the training, experience, connections, or time to organize and execute trips of this magnitude. This is where Servant Life steps in. Our trips are all-inclusive, which means that we focus on the details so that you can focus on ministry with your team. Our team will work with in-country missionaries to take care of food, lodging, and ministry experiences for your short-term mission trip. Servant Life also provides international traveler's insurance, trip devotionals, training videos, and other resources as part of your basic trip cost. Servant Life exists to be a fantastic resource for churches as you make disciples of all nations.
Servant Life serves missionaries by equipping and sending the Church. According to our mission partners it can take a combination of 50 phone calls and e-mails to prepare a person to serve with them, not to mention countless hours before that trying to find and recruit churches to come serve with them. Equipping trip participants for the mission field requires time and resources that most missionaries do not have, as this pulls them away from ministry in their local context. Servant Life is ready to answer your calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, at your convienence and in your time zone. We can prepare you for the majority of the details for your trip to alleviate some of those communication logistics from the missionary, and then as we get closer to the trip the mission team will be able to communicate the specifics of your schedule and talk through your trip in more detail. Servant Life will also provide training materials for your trip to walk through such topics about the "Why" of missions, how to share your faith, culture shock, and other logistical considerations, so that you show up prepared to serve in your context. Servant Life is not only a great resource for the Church, but a great resource for missionaries as well.
Who Can Go?
Servant Life hosts many youth mission trips, college mission trips, and even works with individuals to get them on a trip as part of a team. Trips will only occur if there is a group (youth, college, or adults) signed up to go. For individuals interested, we would do our best to add you on to a group already planning to serve, but this is not always possible.
If registering and traveling with their church group, students must be 14 years old or older* to participate in a Servant Life missions experience. If registering as an individual participant without an adult, students must be 16 years old or older*. Of course, adults are welcome on these trips as well! Servant Life asks for at least a 1 to 5 adult to student ratio, but some groups even end up closer to 1 to 1 ratio, and we always love it when this happens because we know adults want to serve the nations as well. Teams may be made up of groups and/or individuals.
*It is possible for participants to be younger than 14 years of age if traveling with a group, but that is taken on a case by case basis depending on the trip location and the discretion of our mission partners. For domestic trips such as Houston Memphis, and St. Louis, middle school students are welcome to participate. For international trips, we love to accomodate younger students when possible, but please ask us if you would like to do this in a certain trip.
Can College Students Go?
Yes! Servant Life trips are designed for all students from the age of 14 with a group, or 16 as an individual, all the way through college age. We have also specifically designated College Weeks in which only college-aged students will participate. Additionally, Servant Life has launched the A1eight Project, an opportunity for college-aged individuals to serve with a missionary for the entire summer.
Servant Life trips are priced at a BASE COST PLUS AIRFARE (or plus travel, if domestic). The base cost varies per country and can be found by clicking on the link for a trip on the "Mission Trips" tab at the top of the page. The cost varies from trip to trip simply because our partners have different cost structures in their contexts and different expenses, and our partners set the price of our trips.
The bast cost covers all of your in-country expenses, including meals, lodging, transportation*, and even expenses like translators and local staff for the week. The base cost also covers training resources, traveler's insurance for international trips, and a t-shirt for every participant. Some of our camp ministries include scholarship funds in the base cost so you are helping students come to camp in these international contexts. As part of your base cost, Servant Life also offers to book airfare for you through our travel agent. Contact us if you would like an airfare estimate, and be sure to check out our Financial Guidelines to see a payment plan.
*Transportation is not provided for domestic trips like Memphis, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto. It is provided in NYC.
Servant Life offers to book all airfare through our travel agency, though you may book with your own travel agent if you prefer to do so. We just want you to get the best rate possible! Generally everyone on your team must travel together, though we may be able to take exceptions on a case by case basis. We book group airline tickets and therefore cannot always accommodate special requests for different individual flights. Due to commitments to our missionaries to have groups there on set dates, trip dates may not be flexible, so once again we must take requests on a case by case basis. Generally with our travel agent, we can hold your airfare tickets with a deposit a few months in advance of your trip, but then the full price of the ticket is due around 45 days before your trip. Once a ticket has been purchased in your name, it must be paid for regardless of circumstances. If you cancel an airfare ticket, we will refund you anything that the airline refunds us, but you would have to pay the cancellation penalty that the airline sets. Airline tickets are non-transferrable as they are tied to a person's name, and they are only partially refundable based on whatever policies the airline implements for your specific booking. Airfare can be a headache, but we try to alleviate that burden for you and make it easy!
Servant Life works with missionary partners in each country. Your team will be helping local missionaries with various needs, and exact details may vary from trip to trip. Sample activities include serving at a Christian youth camp, hosting VBS activities in the community or the school, conducting sports camps, "backyard Bible clubs," or other community events, teaching English to internationals, helping with food and clothing distribution, and home visits-- with an emphasis on sharing the gospel and the hope of Christ in conjunction with each of these activities. Specific details for each short term mission trip can be found by clicking on the trip's link and looking under the "What will my team be doing?" section.
We encourage anyone interested in an international mission trip with Servant Life to go ahead and apply for a passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and we generally do not recommend booking plane tickets without a copy of each person's passport, since the name on the airfare must match the passport exactly. Any costs associated with obtaining a passport are solely your responsibility. You can download a passport application and read instructions on obtaining a passport online here. It is required for your passport to have at least six months of validity past your travel dates.
Will I need a background check?
For groups serving on a Servant Life trip, the group leader will need to sign an agreement stating that background checks have been performed for all adult leaders 18 years or older. For individuals, Servant Life will perform a background check for you if you are 18+. The estimated cost of a background check is $10, which will be added to your base cost.
Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area, but please give us a call and we can talk through the recommendations for your specific trip. Ultimately, this will be up to your discretion, as we are not medical experts and default to your local doctor, the CDC, and your own judgment. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.
Once You Register
Shortly after you register, you will receive an email from the Servant Life team letting you know we have received your registration. The next step would be accessing the Prep Center where you will find needed paperwork to be filled out by each participant. An initial per person deposit is due by November 1, and paperwork is due by March 1. If you register after November 1, the deposit is due within 30 days of registering. A registration is not complete until we have received your deposit. Registrations cannot be held beyond 30 days if the deposit has not been received.
How many adults will be on each trip?
We request that groups bring at least 1 adult for every 5 student participants, but it is ok if you have even more than this. This is to ensure to the team's safety. Each setting you are working in is an area designated specifically for youth and college teams, but when traveling in a foreign context that you are unfamiliar with, it is always wise to have sufficient adult supervision.