The Role of Church Group Facilitator

“Church Group Facilitator” is the title used by Compassion to refer to the main planning contact at the U.S. Church Partner, also known as the “Church Leader.” This person’s role is to promote the trip, recruit and train the team and, most often, lead the team on the actual trip. The Church Group Facilitator will collaborate on the objectives of your trip with the Compassion Trip Planner at Compassion headquarters, who will relay those objectives to the field country office. The Church Group Facilitator is critical to the success of the trip, and the Trip Planner’s main role is to support the Church Group Facilitator as he or she builds the team for a life-changing experience, in-country and beyond.

During the trip, your role as Church Group Facilitator is vital in shaping the experience for maximum impact. Your team will look to you to provide spiritual oversight and shepherding. You will have daily opportunities for devotionals, team check-ins and debriefings about the events of each day. You will have a U.S. Compassion Representative who can assist and support in any and all these areas of responsibility.

Other Important Roles
Church Trip Planning Timeline
1 Year or More

Church leadership meets and agrees to partner on a mission trip with Compassion. Dates are decided and sent to Compassion.

Trip is requested and approved with the field country office.

8-10 Months
  • Trip objectives are identified and shared with Compassion
  • Promotion of the trip begins
  • Trip registration begins
  • Flight contract is reserved with airline
  • Trip price estimated
  • Trip proposal sent to U.S. church
4-6 Months
  • All travelers are committed to the trip
  • Initial deposits are collected
  • Team meetings begin
  • Passport applications are submitted
  • Registration closes
  • Child visit list is submitted
  • Hotel, meal and transportation reservations are made in-country
  • Field staff visit targeted child development center to confirm details and identify ministry needs
2-4 Months
  • Final payments are made to the U.S. church by travelers
  • Team meetings continue
  • Paperwork is collected from travelers
  • In-country details are finalized
0-2 Months
  • At 30 days, all logistics are set – there are no changes
  • Tickets are purchased
  • No changes to the itinerary at this point
  • Child visit costs paid by team members; final payment received from church
Post Trip
  • Feedback is submitted
  • Reunion party planned for 1 month and 6 months
  • Feedback is received from U.S. church and Compassion child development center
  • Talks are conducted with church leaders to strategize next steps
Promoting Your Trip

Compassion appreciates that each church community has its own best practices for communicating information. Your Compassion Trip Planner will provide an email with details that may be used in advertising.

We suggest using various methods of communication to ensure the trip invitation reaches the most individuals. One effective approach is to have a past Compassion traveler (or pastor) share their testimony of how their life was impacted by a Compassion trip. You are welcome to use Compassion images, videos and material from our website as you recruit your team. It is a great idea to coincide a big event such as a Compassion Sunday with the recruiting of your trip.

Feel free to share our trips video with those interested to help them see the benefit of traveling with Compassion.

Please note: Compassion has an age requirement for Church Trips.

  • Minimum age to travel is 13. Ages 13-15 yrs. old must travel with a parent, ratio 1:1
  • 16-17 yrs. old must travel in a 5:1 ratio minor to guardian
  • 18 yrs. old is considered an adult

It is up to the discretion of each individual traveler as to how they will fund their trip. Some teams choose to fundraise collectively from within their church or local community. Others may choose to invite supporters to sponsor them, or a traveler may choose to pay out of pocket for their trip. Below are several examples of support letters that can be used as a template for fundraising.


Your Trip Administrator will provide you a link to our online trip registration. You are welcome to provide the link directly to your entire church team. Or you can conduct an internal application process and give the link to individuals going on your trip. Your Compassion Trip Planner will give you a registration deadline of four to five months prior to your actual trip. By that date, all team members are expected to have registered. They will also need to complete a travel release and background check through links provided in their registration email. Please encourage your team to do this as soon as possible. If a new passport is needed, please encourage your travelers to apply immediately. Passport numbers are necessary for airline reservations and booking accommodations.

Sponsor giving Child a bible
Breakdown of Trip Cost

Your Compassion Church Trip planner will send you an estimated cost based on your expected number of travelers. This cost can fluctuate based on actual number of travelers: The more travelers you have, the lower the cost; the fewer travelers you have, the higher the cost. This estimated cost will include airfare (if requested), domestic transportation in-country, lodging, Compassion host and leadership expenses, trip insurance, food, bottled water, tips, home visit basket and translators. Your trip cost will also include background checks (required for all travelers), trip guides, name and luggage tags, and all registration-related costs.

This trip cost estimate does not include passports, vaccinations, visas, meals while in transit, souvenir shopping, baggage fees or the cost of your sponsored child’s transportation to the Fun Day activity.

(This cost will be itemized per traveler and included on the final invoice. It is based on the distance the sponsored child will have to travel to meet and spend the day with his/her sponsor.)

Please see our Church Trips Resource Guide for more information

“We had the best trip ever! I know you all work with thousands of thousands of groups planning mission trips, but as it probably is with so many others, we feel we had the ultimate experience and the time spent with our sponsored centers and the children has definitely ruined our lives forever! In a Christ way, of course.”

— Philippines Group Facilitator

  • Deposit: At the registration deadline, your Compassion Trip Planner will issue you a deposit invoice that itemizes a $300 non-refundable deposit for each registered individual. We request that this payment is made to Compassion in one lump sum through credit card or check. Please ensure that the deposit envelope clearly states the name of your Trip Administrator.
  • Final Payment: About six weeks prior to your trip departure, your Compassion Trip Planner will issue you a final invoice covering the remaining trip and Fun Day costs. Please note the due date of the payment and submit it through credit card or check. Please ensure that the envelope clearly states the name of your Trip Administrator.
  • Compassion policy is for the Church Group Facilitator to collect all trip payments (deposit and final payment) from participants and make one payment on behalf of the church.
Team Building and Preparation Ideas
  • Have the team share some of their journey to faith in Christ or a key moment when God worked in their life.
  • Start a team prayer journal in which team members can share prayers and apprehensions both before and during the trip. While on the trip and afterward, revisit what the team prayed for, and celebrate God’s answers.
  • Team Building Games
  • Perspective on STM Videos
  • Use the Compassion Trip Guide and have various people present information or play a trivia game with information about the destination country.
  • Spiritual Preparation Questions
  • Do trip prep activities together (VBS, Spa Day, Gift Shopping)
Re-Entry and Next Steps

After such powerful experiences on your trip, the transition back to life at home can be tremendously challenging for your team. We suggest that you create a time within a few weeks of your trip to meet with your team, reconnect and discuss how their lives have been changed from the experience. Check in with each team member within a few weeks of the trip and after a few months.

Another resource is the You Version STMT Devotional.

One of the biggest questions that individuals face after returning from a Compassion trip is, “What now?” We suggest that you encourage your team to engage deeper with Compassion’s ministry through becoming an advocate, coordinating sponsored child letter writing parties, beginning to plan for your next trip and looking for opportunities to make a difference in your own community.

  • Reach out to your team in the week following re-entry to provide support and counsel for those who may be struggling with their return.
  • Organize get-togethers for one month and six months after the trip to discuss the trip and share photos.
  • Encourage your team to find an outlet where they can volunteer some time to causes that are close to their heart. Section 3.7 in your Trip Guide can also be a starting place for ideas.You can use the Compassion International website to start that process NOW!
  • Encourage them to be part of the next Compassion event hosted by your church or community.