Serving with friends and
Serve with us!
Big Creek Missions offers your group a flexible, affordable, and personal mission trip.
Our team will work to provide your service team meaningful opportunities in Southeast Kentucky
Both our mission facilities will provide comfortable bunk-style housing, food, and more for your team.
Our staff will plan all your service opportunities and provide the guidance to get you started.
Yes. This is a real mission trip- and it's all donation based
It really is flexible! In the fall & spring, you set the dates of your trips. We'll do our best to make it work!
It really is affordable. We ask groups to make a donation for their trip (see our suggestions below)
It really is personal! Here at Big Creek, we are all about people. We care for our community, and we care for our teams. The PEOPLE are our purpose, not just a "project" to keep our teams busy.
What type mission projects would our team do?
Generally, we offer three types of ministries for your team:
1) Construction - depending on the skill level of your team and leaders, your team may replace roofs, flooring, or install ramps. We do just about everything, depending on the construction skills you bring.
2) Community - we offer several community ministries AND partner with various community agencies to reach out in our community. We provide food, home goods, well care checks, and various other services to our people.
3) Children - your team might have an opportunity to partner in our local schools or with children. The more creative you are - the more opportunities you may have! If you can plan educational activities for children (STEM, arts, physical ed)- we can perhaps partner with our local schools!
Why do we need mission teams here?
Life is hard here in parts of Appalachia. The terrain is rugged and unforgiving. Technology is lagging. The coal mines are nearly gone. Few jobs are available that provide living wages. Everybody knows somebody with cancer - and someone struggling with addiction.
Our people are resilient - but many are hurting, without hope, and without help. That's why we're here.
Although we do have a lot of churches in our area, many struggle to find the resources to take care of their members, and it's difficult to take care of those outside their own congregation.
We are located in an area considered as one of the poorest counties in the United states. It has also been designated as one of the hardest places to live in the United States.* Our mission exists to share the Gospel of Jesus by meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our residents.
To accomplish this goal, we recruit volunteer teams to help us serve struggling families, provide hope for hurting neighbors, and show love to everyone we meet. Your teams will make a difference here, but these people and this area will impact the lives of your team members.
Our trips will expose your students to a different way of life here in Appalachia. We don't want to hype the Appalachian stereotypes - but there are parts of our area that some in your group might see as "unbelievable" living conditions.
This eye-opening experience is VERY affordable, easy to access, safe, and close to home. The work projects can be can be tailored to fit the desires and skills of your team - and are appropriate for the first time "mission tripper" or an experienced ministry team.
What are your steps to start planning?
1) Complete a simple registration below, and you determine your arrival and departure dates.
2) Recruit your team & Travel to Big Creek!
3) We do the rest! We will work within your guidelines and expectations to plan all the details, prepare almost all the supplies needed for your trip, and have your food and lodging ready when you arrive! Our staff can provide devotions and activities as needed. We keep it simple for you - so you can spend your time training your team.
We will offer your team a variety of service opportunities. You may help complete major (and minor) construction projects. You can visit and serve the homebound and disabled. You can visit and serve alongside various community ministries, including food pantries, nursing homes, and child/adult care agencies.
For 21 years, Big Creek Missions has been serving our community alongside groups of all ages - just like yours. We would consider it an honor to serve alongside you and your team!
Three simple steps to plan your trip:
1) CHOOSE YOUR DATES AND FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW
On that form, you'll tell us your desired travel dates and a little about your team's skills.
We'll verify those dates with you and reserve your spots!
We will start planning your projects and preparing for your arrival.
2) READ & RECRUIT YOU TEAM
Read our group planning guide! (see link below!)
Then, after reading, start recruiting your team. We welcome ALL ages and types of groups! We hope you will recruit a team that can help us minister in the community. Once your team is put together, you can have them complete permission forms online - HERE
3) SHOW UP AND SERVE
We will take care of your food, lodging, project planning, and almost everything else (except your transportation). We will connect with you about specific projects during your time of service with us
We don't have a set fee... we just ask for a donation. Our suggested donation is $35 per person per 24 hours.
What are the registration steps?1. Check our availability and register at www.bigcreekmissions.com/register 2. Choose your location! (Big Creek Campus or Wheelwright Campus) 3. Create an account & register with an initial $50 per person deposit via credit / debit card 4. Encourage your team members to complete their permission / release form & ministry profile at www.bigcreekmissions.com/go 5. 30 days prior to your trip: Pay your final balance.. You may mail the check to: Big Creek Missions, PO BOX 211, Bear Branch KY 41714 OR you may pay online using your mission trip portal. Online final payments incur a 3% surcharge for credit cards. We encourage you to read our payment / refund policy. Because we're a ministry that's fully funded by your donations ("deposits and payments") - it's very hard for us to refund your money if you decide not to come. Just like your church uses tithes and offerings to pay your weekly bills, our mission uses your deposits and payments - as you pay them - to fund our ongoing outreaches! Your donations are more than a "camp fee" - they're what keep our mission open before, during, and after your stay!
What do we need to plan in advance of our trip?We hope you'll come armed with some creative ideas for ministry! Even though we're planning the basic details, we need your team to do some work before arriving. CHILDRENS MINISTRY: If any portion of your team is helping with kids ministry, please plan to "adopt" an area of the kids camps to help plan & lead. Come prepared with ideas & supplies for games, crafts, and other activities. You can view our children's ministry starting ideas ideas at www.bigcreekmissions.com/volunteerinfo. Password is kids2024 Ideas for Kids Ministry: Sports Camps, Cheer Camps, STEM activities, sewing classes, music lessons, arts classes, skills classes, fun games, educational opportunities, and more! CONSTRUCTION MINISTRY: Our construction projects are diverse and vary weekly. Typically, we focus on FLOORS (subfloor replacements), ROOFS (metal) , and RAMPS (pressure treated construction)! Although we typically have all the basic tools needed to complete all our projects, your construction pros are encouraged to bring their own tools or tool trailer. More construction information is available at www.bigcreekmissions.com/construction We hope you'll consider hosting a "pre-trip" training day. Perhaps you could lead an activity day for children, or work on someone's home. You can mow lawns, wash cars, or have a simple service project. Use this work day as an example of the mission trip. Find out which students need extra attention, and work with them so they're ready for the mission trip. If your participants can't (or won't) work, don't pay attention to your instructions, and are a distraction, maybe they should consider attending next year! This is a legitimate mission trip where people are watching, listening, and making decisions based on your team's actions. Prepare accordingly.
Printable planning guides and brochuresTo keep our costs down, we don't offer any printed materials for shipping. You are encouraged to print, read, and distribute the applicable materials to your group. Read our BIG CREEK CAMPUS planning guide Read our WHEELWRIGHT CAMPUS planning guide Read our General Ministry Expectations and Rules View our Big Creek Campus on Google Maps View our Wheelwright Campus on Google Maps Download a Printable Brochure about Big Creek View a printable "What to bring list" and "Adult information Handout" and "menu" at www.bigcreekmissions.com/go
Financial details, deadlines, & more money questionsYou may wonder why our mission costs a bit less than other "big name" mission organizations. Here's why: -- We don't spend a lot on marketing -- We all pitch in. ALL of our "executive" and administrative staff are involved in daily operations. You'll see them cooking, cleaning, and serving -- We look for ways to maximize every dollar spent & cut unnecessary costs Your donation provides the following for your team: -- 2 good & hot meals daily, 1 sack lunch daily -- Bunk-style lodging with hot showers & cool sleeping rooms! -- Construction, tools, and other ministry materials -- Staffing & Worship team. (worship band @ Big Creek, worship leader @ Wheelwright) -- Pre-project planning and post-project followup --*$10 credit to our mission store for each participant (must meet qualifications) **1) if all team members register online 30 days prior to the trip 2) if all group payments are on time (30 days prior to trip) 3) if all driver / vehicle info is provided 30 days prior to the trip Your donation provides the following for our community: -- Your funds help us operate both of our food pantries year round -- Your funds help us assess and repair homes even when groups aren't on site -- Your funds help us offer services to our community through the year -- Your funds help us maintain and operate our facilities (in two counties) Deposit due dates: $50 per person registration deposit: due upon registration FINAL payment: Due 30 days prior to your trip date. Where do I send my donation payments? Your first donation of $50 pp is made online using a debit or credit card. Your second donation is made by mailing a check (free) or online in your trip portal (3% credit card surcharge) Financial Mailing Address: Big Creek Missions - PO BOX 211 - Bear Branch KY 41714 We encourage you to view our group planning guide to understand our cancellation policy. The simple version: Your payments are donations, and are generally non refundable. *We can refund early registrations until January 15th *We can apply "overestimated" deposits to your final balance until January 15th, or, if your week is over capacity *We can refund payments only if your week is over capacity We know our cancellation policy sounds strict. We have adopted these policies to protect the mission: as your funds are used to operate the mission throughout the year, not just provide your trip. We hope you'll consider these funds as a donation to a mission that's serving the community. Because we're a non profit organization (ministry) that's fully funded by your donations ("deposits and payments") - it's very hard for us to refund your money if you decide not to come. Just like your church uses tithes and offerings to pay your weekly bills, our mission uses your deposits and payments to pay our weekly bills! The funds you give help us keep the mission open before, during, and after your stay! We hope to fill every spot this summer so that we can serve as many of our neighbors as possible. Thus, we ask you to estimate your numbers reasonably. Please let us know if your numbers are lower as soon as possible so we can try to fill empty spots. If we can fill empty spots, we reimburse funds.
What ages & types of group are welcome at Big Creek?We welcome all age groups and group types! This isn't a "youth mission trip." This is a mission center open to all ages and group types. Even if you bring a youth group - we hope you'll open up the trip to your entire church so we have the adequate skills to provide quality ministry to our community. Teenagers need mentors, and we need experienced teachers, leaders, construction supervisors, and more to make this a successful mission trip! All groups are welcome - Including, but not limited to: Families Groups of families Adult groups Senior groups High School Student Groups: 1:4 ratio / adult to student Middle School Student Groups: 1:3 ratio / adult to student College groups Other service groups Our environment is Christ-centered, exciting, and joyful! Our mission ideal for all age groups as long as you're willing to worship, work, and live with others! If you have participants who can't pay attention, won't work, are divisive or apathetic, group leaders should reconsider their attendance. We strongly advise pre-trip training and requirements for all participants. It's important that you host trainings for your team prior to arrival. Gather your group to mow a lawn, paint a fence, or clean a building. Spend time teaching leadership skills, spiritual conversations, work ethic, and more. Challenge them to work hard and make sure they're up to the task! It's not advisable to bring participants who can't pay attention, won't work, are divisive, or simply aren't interested. Families are encouraged to attend together! Be advised that children under age 12 will be assigned to a group with their parent, and the parent will have the primary responsibility of caring for their child. Children are welcome as long as they can listen to instructions and are willing / able to serve in some capacity. Children under 12 need a parent or close relative to serve with them.
Will my group all serve together? Will they be split up?As the group leader, you will have the most control over your group's assignments. Your group members will individually choose between one of four ministries! (Children's, Construction, Community, and teens). As group leader, you will be able to tell us who to "keep together" on your team. Your team will be split according to the ministries they choose. Here's an example for a group of 15: 5 chose construction: They'll work together with an adult construction leader from your group. 5 chose community: They'll work together with an adult from your group. 5 chose childrens: They'll work together with an adult from your group. It's likely that your team members will work with others from across the country! We have found this to be a very encouraging way for students and adults to grow. Here are some benefits to letting your group divide & experience different things: **Even though it may seem that your group is “divided” through the week, they will have ample time throughout the week (both during the day AND during the evening group share time) to share their unique experiences from varying viewpoints and build unity within the group. **Allowing students to pick their own ministry and serve with other teams gives students an opportunity to lead and serve in a different group. They may be able to shed the social cliques and stereotypes that may exist within their own group. We’ve seen VERY positive results from this model!
What kind of vehicles are best for this mission trip?We will work with the vehicles you bring. Please communicate your vehicles and drivers to us using the registration system at www.bigcreekmissions.com/go - we can't asign groups until we know what size vehicles you're bringing, and who's driving each vehicle. Tips: **Please keep your vehicle sizes 26 passengers or less **Please keep 1 seat open per 7-8 people. This allows for flexibility in transporting supplies AND staff. **PLEASE CONSIDER BRINGING TRUCKS for construction! Not only are they great for transporting your luggage, but they're also extremely helpful on site to carry construction supplies through the week. **Don't forget LUGGAGE: You can't put 15 people in a 15 passenger van and have room for luggage! Car trunks, trucks, and cargo vans are helpful for luggage. These are the vehicles we recommend: *Personal Cars & trucks are great. *Mini-Vans are great. *Trucks for construction are extremely FANTASTICALLY wonderfully great!! *12-15 passenger vans: these are great if the drivers are trained and experienced. *Mini-buses 26 passengers or less are acceptable. 15-25 passenger buses are almost always assigned to children's ministry, and sometimes community ministry. *Please consider having multiple drivers available for each vehicle- even rental vehicles! Sometimes, we need a different driver for a vehicle so the primary driver can stay in their choice of ministry! 30 days before your trip, we ask that you provide vehicle types, vehicle primary drivers, and vehicle backup drivers so we can make group assignments. Remember - PLEASE LEAVE ONE SEAT AVAILABLE FOR EVERY 8 PARTICIPANTS! This way, we will have seats for our staff to ride along with our work groups Lastly, keep in mind this is a mission trip - and just as your church vehicles are used to transport visitors & local kids during church events back at home, you may also be transporting local kids to do mission work. If legalities and policies prohibit transporting anyone but "your" group, please inform us, as this will limit where your group may serve.
What type ministries are available for my group?Your participants will choose one of three ministries for the week. Each individual chooses their own ministry. As group leader, you'll be able to monitor their choices and "assign" them to work together. Example: if you bring 20 participants, 5 choose construction, 5 choose community, and 10 choose children's ministry: It's likely that the 5 construction will serve together, 5 community will serve together, an 10 children's will serve together. We strive to always have an adult representative from your church on each of your teams. Your groups will be blended with other teams. Children's Ministry: We offer exciting daycamps for children in three counties. We offer Christ-centered elements, summer feeding, games, activities, sports, and other activities to improve the quality of life for our kids. In Leslie County - we even fund and operate our county pool. We love our kids and ask that you help us plan some exciting events for our local children. At each children's ministry location, we also have teenagers who attend. If you love teenagers, let us know - as you may be able to help lead our teen ministry. These local students don't like "fluff" - but prefer relational leaders who truly care for their well-being. Community Ministry: Our community teams work with many local organizations We visit nursing homes & the elderly. We offer food and clothing giveaways. We deliver meals to homes, provide yard work, and serve in a variety of ways. This is the most diverse ministry with the most options for interaction with people. Construction Ministry: Our teams repair many homes in our community. We place priority on the people, not the project. If you have participants desiring to work in construction, it's important that you bring at least one skilled construction "crew chief" who can capably complete a project.
What is the typical daily schedule while at Big Creek?When you arrive Sunday between 3-4 pm EST, you'll be greeted by an eager and enthusiastic staff. They will lead you through a brief tour of the campus and and prepare you for the events of the week. Don't be late - you want to start your week prepared! (We are on Eastern time!) We work for five full days. Wednesday night (4-10 pm) is your night to spend time in our community and eat out! 6:45 am: Wakeup Call 7:00:am: Breakfast 8:00 am: Morning Worship 9am-4pm: Serving in the community! 5:45 pm: Dinner 8:00 pm: Worship (BC Campus) 9:00 pm: Group time 10:45 pm: Lights Out! This basic schedule summarizes the day. Check out our Group Planning Guide for a detailed version of our schedule.
Can my participants change ministry choices midweek?We prefer individuals stick with their ministry choice for the entire week so you are able to build relationships with the people you serve. For those wanting the most "variety" in ministries, we recommend the community ministry. It will offer you more opportunities for various programs (lawn care, elderly visits, food pantries, nursing homes) Remember, your participants will choose their own ministry through our online registration at www.bigcreekmissions.com/go NOTE: The group leader will have the ultimate choice of how your group is "kept together" or separated during the week. You'll communicate any pairings with us using the registration system after your participants register. If you don’t tell us who to “keep together” using the system, we will simply place your participants together in groups prior to your arrival. The registration system is located at: www.bigcreekmissions.com/go As your team members register, you can view their information at that link.
What are the accomodations like?We have two campuses that are very different! Big Creek Campus: We can comfortably accommodate 180 people at Big Creek. Most of our weeks are typically at capacity during the summer. This facility is wheelchair accessible with a private wheelchair accessible shower / restroom This facility is secured by a perimeter fence and gate that is secured by a keycode. Our doors are also keypad controlled for extra security. We keep our gates closed at all times for the safety and security of our volunteers. (Please note - our staff live at both campus locations. We don't feel unsafe in our community... but we take extra precautions for YOUR safety!) Bunkrooms 1-5: Boys (sleep 18 each) Bunkrooms 6-9: Girls (sleep 18 each) Bunkroom 10: Girls (sleeps 36) All our rooms have: -3 level Bunkbeds -Air Conditioning -Ample carpeted floor space for meetings in each room -Private dressing area Our new shower rooms were opened in June, 2017 and have: - 20 showers, 10 toilets, and 16 sinks - Lockable doors to all showers and toilets - plenty of sinks Outside, we have a huge front lawn that has plenty of room for outdoor games, a pavilion, carpet ball, gau-gau pit, volleyball, and 9 square in the air. You can view pictures of this facility at www.bigcreekmissions.com/facility Wheelwright Campus: This campus offers accommodations for 65 and we continue to grow: 2 bunkrooms sleeping 24 each (one for males, one for females) 3 family/couple rooms sleeping from 4-6 volunteers each. 3 adjacent shower rooms with 2-3 showers in each (with endless hot water) 2 level bunk beds Air conditioning Private Dressing Areas Worship Center Game Room Basketball & Playgrounds just a short walk up or down the road! Commons areas ... and more to come! You can view pictures of this location at www.bigcreekmissions.com/wheelwright
How many chaperones do I need to bring?How many chaperones are required? AS MANY AS YOU CAN BRING! This is not a "youth mission trip" - but is a mission center dedicated to serving our community. We need your team to provide skilled leaders to direct your team. Although we do have college age staff on site, they are only guides to help your team get started. Your adult leaders will guide the way after our staff get you started. Without capable adult leadership, your team may struggle in the area of children's ministry and construction. We hope you'll open this trip up to all age groups - not just students. You need quality adults to help lead and guide your students! Here are some examples of adults you should try to recruit: **Adults who can lead a VBS (school teachers, discipleship group leaders, and parents are GREAT for leading kids!) **Adults who know construction and can act as "crew chiefs" on site (handymen, jack of all trades, professional builders!) **Adults who are willing to lead! Our staff are merely guides - not the ones who know how to do everything! If you bring a high school group, we recommend a 1:4 (adult/student) ratio If you bring a middle school group, we recommend a 1:3 (adult/student)ratio If you bring a pre-teen group, we recommend a 1:2 (adult/student) ratio
What are the worship services and devotions like?Our worship services (both morning and evening) are simple, Christ-Centered, and Biblically based. Since our churches have various theological perspectives, we are careful to teach Christ as our focus and the Bible as our source. Our leaders will select scripturally supported worship music that also points to the scriptural theme for the week. The devotions will be scripture based (with scripture supporting scripture) and applicable to all ages. Please note, our worship services aren't showy, flashy, or "over the top." Rather, they're simple, focused, and centered on scripture. The scriptures may lead to discussions that can be difficult and sometimes divisive. We strive to handle these situations carefully with grace. Our Big Creek location typically has a full worship band and speaker (typically a director). Messages are typically expository and very practical. You can expect some current and well-known worship songs as well as some lesser-known songs. We choose one book (or chunk) of the Bible to study each summer, and depending on the content, it may be both encouraging AND challenging as we expose participants to biblical truths. At the Wheelwright location we will have a worship leader and speaker (typically the directors) We choose one centralized theme for the summer to study. We hope it is both encouraging AND stretching to leaders and younger folks alike.
Do the participants I bring need to be Christians?We certainly hope that most of your team members have professed faith in Jesus. However, we don't want to hinder the ministry that you may have with your students, as we know that each person grows and learns at a different pace. We ask that you prayerfully consider the maturity and abilities of that student to handle themselves in ministry situations. Please be aware that we have a high standard for ministry and will not tolerate behavior that distracts from our mission. All of that to say, we hope and pray to see God move both in and through the lives of those who serve and those we serve.
Can we bring extra donations? What kind?YES! Your donations are appreciated. Here are two ways you can donate: 1) Your team can help collect children's ministry materials! You can find this list at www.bigcreekmissions.com/volunteerinfo (password kids2024) 2). You can also view our “wishlist” at: www.bigcreekmissions.com/wishlist Cash, Lowe's and Walmart Gift Cards are ALWAYS welcome, as those are our two closest Big-Box stores.
What happens if i register too many people?We strive to offer one of the lowest priced full-service mission trips anywhere. It's important that we fill up every space each week as this helps us offer quality local ministries AND keep our prices lower for you. If you register too many, please reduce your numbers as soon as possible. If we can fill those spaces, we will refund your payments. However, if you wait too long and we can't fill those spots your payments are considered a donation to the ministry. Here's our suggestion: 1) REGISTER ONLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE PAID DEPOSITS! You can always increase your group numbers as long as space is available. IT'S OK TO BRING A SMALL GROUP! If group members don't register by the deadline, that's ok. Bring whoever registers! 2) REGISTER REASONABLY! Be careful not to overestimate!! Start communicating the trip early so you have a better idea of how many you'll bring. You can add spaces through our registration system as long as spaces are available during your week. 3) IF PARTICIPANTS BACK OUT, please decrease your group numbers as soon as possible. If we are able to fill those spots, we can refund the overpayments. If you wait too long and we are not able to fill those spots, we cannot refund overpayments. IF your week is over capacity we will refund deposits if you need to lower your numbers
I have questions! Who do I talk to?We are available to answer your questions! the BEST way to contact us is by email or the chat function on the webpage. BOTH CAMPUS LOCATIONS: Registration / numbers questions: (Jordan) email@example.com Financial / Accounting questions: (Rusty) firstname.lastname@example.org BIG CREEK CAMPUS: Construction ministry questions: email@example.com Children's ministry questions (Kori): kori@Bigcreekmissions.com General questions (Kevin) : firstname.lastname@example.org WHEELWRIGHT CAMPUS: All Wheelwright Questions (construction, community, childrens ministries): Bubba or Tammy: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Are your facilities accessible and wheelchair friendly?Our Big Creek Facility is fully accessible and has NO steps. Our entire facility is one level. We have just completed a private fully accessible bathroom complete with grab bars, roll in shower, ADA toilet and sink. We do not have any specialized equipment (lifts, shower wheelchair) although we do have a shower chair located in the shower. The Wheelwright Facility is somewhat accessible with a bit of assistance. The second floor dorm rooms are not accessible, however, accomodations can be made for first floor lodging and use of the first floor shower as needed. In time, we hope to improve the accessiblity of this facility as funds permit.
We're having a problem registering a participant for a trip... HELP!Typically, registration problems occur due to the trip code name! For SUMMER mission trips, make sure the correct code name is selected when registering. Participants can click "edit" in their profile to correct their code name. For SPRING and FALL trips, participants can select or correct their code name in the "My participant account" in the top right of the screen. Also, make sure you've signed up for the correct mission trip dates in step 2!
Ready To Serve?
Check out our group planning guide for either campus below. This guide is a much more thorough explanation of the mission trips. (Don't let it overwhelm you!)
Then, after reading, click the blue button below to sign up your team. No pre-payments are needed. This link will take you to our registration system where you can also manage your team member registrations.