In recent years many churches have been backing away from sending teams of volunteers on short-term international mission trips. Some argue that such initiatives are ineffective, a waste of resources, and even hurtful to the advancement of the Gospel.
I on the other hand believe short-term mission trips still work. God used a project I went on right after my freshman year of college with an organization called the Navigators to Singapore and Indonesia to completely change my view of what God is doing in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to lead hundreds of people on more than 10 international projects throughout the years and I’ve seen first hand how projects like this can change the world, the world of the participant and the field. Here are 4 reasons why I believe short-term mission trips still work.
1. Spiritual Maturity
I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want the people in their church to grow spiritually. Short-term mission trips are an engine for spiritual growth. People grow spiritually when they put themselves in a position to grow spiritually. While we as pastors can’t make people grow spiritually, short-term mission trips create the right environment for spiritual growth to take place.
2. Leadership Development
I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think they need more leaders in their church. Short-term mission trips are an engine for leadership development. Leaders learn to lead by leading not in a classroom. Short-term mission trips provide an environment for developing leaders to experiment with their leadership gifts.
3. Outsider Focus
I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want to see people outside of the faith meet Jesus. Short-term mission trips are an engine for building an outsider focused culture in your church. When people participate in a short-term mission trip, begin to personally wrestle with the contextualization of the Gospel in a different culture, and see people meet Jesus on the field; they are compelled to see people meet Jesus in their own workplace, neighborhood, and city.
4. Advance the Mission of the Field
I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t think that people all over the world need to know Jesus. When great partnerships take place between local stateside churches and the field, short-term mission trips can create an infusion of momentum and be catalytic to advancing the strategies of what missionaries on the field are doing to reach people with the Gospel in their context.
Posted in Spiritual Formation