Many churches are very actively sending teams of church members overseas for a week or two to assist local missionaries with building projects, evangelism efforts, or other ministries. It’s a great blessing, not only to the missionary, but also to the church members. We encourage these efforts. However, taking teams overseas carries many risks, and it’s important to take steps to protect your team and not to waste your efforts.
Verify your foreign contact person
We’ve heard too many unfortunate stories of churches being duped into assisting someone who turned out not to be who they said they were: ministries that did not share our doctrines or values, or put the team in dangerous situations, or were outright impostors. For this reason we encourage the church to work with Assemblies of God appointed missionaries whenever possible. Additionally, churches cannot receive World Missions Giving Credit for their efforts unless they are working with AGWM or a foreign Assemblies of God ministry.
Research travel advisories
The US State Department and the Center for Disease Control publishes travel advisories for those traveling to foreign countries on their websites:
Obtain foreign medical and liability
- An individual’s domestic health insurance provides limited medical coverage overseas, and does not provide for things like evacuation, repatriation, war coverage, etc. Foreign medical insurance is needed.
- Likewise, the sponsoring church/organization’s liability insurance rarely cover overseas incidents. (For example, the medical policy may pay immediate medical expenses, but does not cover the church if there is a lawsuit.) Foreign liability insurance is needed to protect the organization.
- Assemblies of God Financial Services has created Mission Assure – a travel policy that covers both the traveler and the church. The cost is about $4.50 per day. AGWM has mandated that AGWM missionaries may not host any church teams unless they have purchased this travel insurance. Policy and information is available at Mission Assure.
Obtain appropriate Assumption of Risk forms
Please verify that your church’s assumption of risk form has all of the required legal language, is appropriate for foreign travel, and identifies the intended activities. All District Affiliated churches must also list the district on these forms. These forms are available through Mission Assure.
Please be aware Parental Consent forms for any minor traveling is a necessity as courts do not recognize assumption of risk forms for minors.
Be extra careful
Any time you travel overseas the number of dangers or possible accidents multiply, and the consequences multiply too. Please take extra cautions to ensure that your team is safe.