Discover Eastern Kentucky hidden among the peaks and hollows as you encounter small-town hospitality and unique culture. Once part of a booming coal-mining industry, this region has experienced many hardships and fallen below the poverty line. Kentucky mission trips expose teams to the realities of poverty in rural places like Appalachia and how difficult it can be for families to break free.
Participate in Appalachian missions! Build authentic relationships with locals and bond with your teammates while also meeting practical needs. Help neighbors with home repair projects and work alongside community leaders who are challenging children and youth to dream of a brighter future.
Will you commit to sharing the love of Jesus by learning from and serving your neighbors on 2023 Appalachia mission trips to Kentucky communities?
NOTE: EM teams to Kentucky will partner with ministries in either Beattyville or Pikeville, Kentucky. Registering teams will choose which community to serve in. Fill out an interest form to learn more about both communities!
Similar opportunities available: West Virginia Mission Trips
In all Eastern Kentucky communities, work projects are organized to support the needs and vision of the community and are designed to connect team members with local people and families. There is a large population of elderly and disabled shut-ins in this community and many are the focus of our projects.
Your team will be involved in home repair, yard cleanup, landscaping, and community restoration work projects that reach out to those in need in various practical ways. We will work in neighborhoods with a diverse group of people and circumstances. Team members will have the opportunity to share their lives through service, prayer, and time spent with the families and children they come to work amongst.
In Pike County, there may be additional opportunities to serve in various types of relational ministry if the need arises. These could include: visiting the elderly, singing at a nursing home, gardening, cleaning, etc.
Due to the unique nature of this community, the opportunity for relational ministry may take place directly at project worksites as volunteers come alongside and encourage those you come to serve.
In Beattyville, Experience Mission may hold an organized Kids Club, depending on the specific needs of the week you serve. Teams will be notified several months prior to their trip if Kids Club is an opportunity during their trip. If Kids Club is included as an opportunity for your team, participation will be optional. If your team chooses to participate in Kids Club, Experience Mission will provide the curriculum for your team's use. This Kids Club curriculum will be emailed to Team Leaders in the months prior to your trip.
Teams participating in Kids Club will be responsible to bring the craft supplies needed for their specific crafts and should budget appropriately. While we do our best to make sure craft materials are cost-effective, teams may feel free to augment any materials to make them more suitable to their budget. Experience Mission will supply scissors, staplers, and paper hole punches. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with local children through games like soccer or Frisbee. Tuck in a hacky sack, football, or jump rope as they are sure to come in handy!
*NOTE: EM teams to Kentucky will partner with ministries in either Beattyville or Pikeville, Kentucky. Registering teams will be assigned a community as the trip dates get closer, based on scheduling and community needs. Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific daily activities until your team arrives.
Due to staffing limitations and varying school schedules in our community locations, Kids Club and Evening Gathering are not offered during any spring mission trips. Teams should plan to prepare their own worship and devotional materials for trips from February-May.
In the heart of the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, we find the beautiful Pike County. Pike County is known as Kentucky's "Mountain Treasure." Pike County is Kentucky's largest county in terms of land area and has a population of 68,736.
Pike County was founded in 1821 and was named for General Zebulon Pike, the same explorer who discovered Pikes Peak. You may have heard of Pike County as they are known for the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud. This feud was an Appalachian vendetta between two families that lasted from the 1860s up to the 1890s.
Pike County is true to the Appalachian way of coal mining and has trademarked itself as "America's Energy Capital" because of its immense reserves of coal and natural gas. They are a leader in the nation's coal & gas production and are continually developing strategies to further lead the nation into more comprehensive energy plans. Pikeville, a town within Pike County is the 3rd largest banking center in the commonwealth and is considered an economic hub in Eastern Kentucky.
The state of Kentucky is home to over 90,000 miles of streams which makes it one of the most expansive and complex stream systems in the nation. Including the immense expanse of rivers, Kentucky is home to many great parks, including Breaks Park which borders Virginia. Breaks Park has a breathtaking view that will leave you in awe of our Creator as you experience what is known as the "Grand Canyon of the South."
While many people residing in Pike County enjoy modern conveniences such as TV, computers, phones, etc., there are still many who resist those conveniences and choose to enjoy the simple mountain life without those conveniences. While they are few and far between, there are some people who live in the mountains with no electricity, running water or vehicles; rather they rely on nature to provide them with the means to maintain life.
Kentucky is true to its heritage and Pike County hosts an annual, "Hillbilly Days"—a three-day festival that draws people from all over.
The median income per family in Pike County is $34,700 per year. Many of the people who live under the median income are elderly or disabled. Because of this, the elderly or disabled families, as well as other families who have fallen on tough times, fall through the cracks and do not make enough to pay for the labor of keeping up their homes. There is a large need for manual labor as well as skilled labor.
Pike County is home to many small mountain churches. Religious roots travel deep in the hearts of the older generations especially. Evangelical Protestant churches such as The Free-Will Baptist Church, Southern Baptist Church and other Baptist Churches are a high segment of churches in the area. The state of Kentucky is home to several seminaries which have influenced the religious culture of the area. In Pike County resides Pikeville College, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage all team members to spend it with God, journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold. EM will provide a physical or printable devotional journal.
Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.
3-6pm Groups Arrive
5pm - Leader's Meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Orientation Meeting
8:30pm - Team Time (a time for your group alone)
11:30pm - Lights Out
7:15am - Breakfast
7:45am - Devotions and Quiet Time
8:15am - Group Prayer
8:30am - Teams leave for Sites
12pm - Lunch
3:30pm - Finish work for the day
4pm - Break and Clean-up
5pm - Leaders meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Evening Gathering (as a whole group)
8:30pm - Team time
7am - Breakfast
7:30am - Cleanup/ Packing
9am - Pictures and Good-Byes
Teams in Pike County will stay in a local church. We partner with several churches and the exact location will be determined closer to your trip. In Beattyville, teams will stay a local church or VFW hall (for weeks with larger/multiple groups).
You will be sleeping on the floor and should plan to bring an air mattress or a mat. Team members should plan to bring light bedding or a sleeping bag and a pillow.
In Pike County, teams will shower at a local YMCA (a 4-minute drive from the housing location). In Beattyville, teams will make use of tent showers provided by Experience Mission. There will be bathrooms for your team at any place you stay and at most work sites. On the occasion that there are no facilities where you are working, teams will need to take breaks midday to use a public restroom.
There is running water in Pike County. Teams will have access to it where they are staying, and at most work sites. Teams should plan to bring refillable water bottles to stay hydrated at work sites.
There is electricity in Pike County that will be available where teams stay as well as at most work sites.
Pike County is a safe area in general. The facilities where teams stay will be locked throughout the night and Experience Mission Staff members will do a sweep to make sure the facilities are secure before retiring for the evening. There is minor petty theft in the area. For this reason, we recommend teams leaving all valuables (smartphones, computers, jewelry, etc.) at home. If a team does bring some valuables, the best way to keep them safe is to store them in a locked vehicle during the day.
A wonderful team of local cooks, alongside your Experience Mission Summer Staff, will be preparing and serving your meals. Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet-style, and your team will pack their own lunches each morning. Team members should plan to bring their own plate, bowl, cup, and silverware for meals.
Your teams transportation to, from, and while in Kentucky is not covered. You will need vehicles throughout the entire week to transport your team to various locations for work and ministry. Using a school bus as your main mode of transportation while in this community is not an option. Our work in Pike County can only accommodate standard 15 passenger vans or smaller.
Curious about EM's Covid Guidelines? Check out EM's current guidelines for 2022 Trips
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.
What age group can you accommodate in Kentucky?
We can accommodate late elementary and Jr. High/middle school students in this location as well as high school students, college students, and adults.
How much do Kentucky mission trips cost?
The cost for this trip in 2023 is $465/person. This includes all lodging, food, staffing, and trip-related expenses. Transportation is not included. Note that all construction projects are generally provided at no cost to families. Your fees help cover this blessing for homeowners.
What seasons do you offer Kentucky mission trips?
Mission trips to Kentucky are available during the summer. Check out this list of all available spring break trips if you are looking for trips outside the summer months.
What will volunteers do on a mission trip to Kentucky?
Ministry in Pike County and Beattyville is a mix of relational outreach and work projects. Teams can expect to work on home improvement projects with local families and volunteer at a local food bank, pregnancy center, etc.
Will we work with children on mission trips to Kentucky?
Kids club participation depends on the specific week. If your team will have the opportunity to lead a kids club, we will contact you several months prior to the trip.
What paperwork is required for this mission trip?
Each team member will need to fill out a team member registration form and liability waiver, and all adults are required to pass a background check. Your mission trip support representative will contact you if any other paperwork is required.
Where will my team stay?
Teams will stay at a local church in vacant classrooms. Plan to bring along air mattresses and sleeping bags for added comfort! Depending on your team size, showers may be available on-site, or at a sister church a few minutes down the street. Large teams may shower at the local YMCA.
How does transportation work during Kentucky mission trips?
Transportation is entirely up to groups to arrange. We recommend 15-passenger vans or smaller. We don't recommend relying on buses as a mode of transportation for this trip. Keep in mind that groups are often split into teams of 8-12 for construction projects. It works well if you are able to plan transportation accordingly.
When should I arrive?
Check-in is between 3 and 5 PM on the first day of your selected trip. Our staff will be awaiting your arrival. You can expect dinner and an orientation meeting to get you ready for the week that evening as well.
What should I pack for this trip?
A packing list will be available to you once you register for the trip. Generally, be prepared to bring along work clothes. All tools will be provided to you, but donations of additional tools are welcome!
Does EM offer mission trips to any other Appalachia communities?
Yes! We also currently offer Appalachia volunteer trips to Richwood, West Virginia.
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
Dont hit a snag in your mission trip planning! Fill out an interest form or call (888) 475-6414 (Tue-Thu, 9am-5pm ET) to ask questions and learn more about upcoming EM mission trips.
Fill out a Group Interest Form
Only takes a minute! Simply choose the community and trip dates you’re most interested in—no commitment necessary.
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Answering your questions and walking you through the process of finding the best trip, registering your group, and preparing to serve together.
You and your team serve on a cross-cultural mission trip!
Organized and led by EM field staff or local partners, your trip will bring encouragement and light to people in difficult circumstances, as you learn what it means to care for all people, whoever and wherever you are.
Read our Mission Trip FAQ and Registration Policy. If you have additional questions or don't see the dates you're looking for, fill out an interest form for the trip closest to what you're hoping for and let us know the needs of your group.
Download the free EM Fundraising Guide for all our best tips and ideas for making fundraising for your next trip fun and easy.
Download our free Fundraising Guide for all our best tips and ideas for making fundraising for your next trip fun and easy.
You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.