Increasingly, people are becoming critical of short-term mission trips. Some of this criticism is appropriate. However, in the midst of it all, we must not forget the ways short-term mission trips can be helpful. A qualification should be made here. This post is primarily about gospel-driven mission trips versus trips that are primarily service oriented with little to no verbal witness.
So, here are 7 ways short-term missions trips can be helpful:
1. They can help confirm one's calling. Short-term missions can help one experience the mission field in order to see if this is the environment into which God is calling them. Many a missionary’s clarity of call came through short-term trips. Additionally, other vocations are frequently confirmed or rejected as a result of the uniqueness of the mission trip.
2. They create an environment in which one can hear God speak clearly. Short-term trips provide a unique environment outside of our normal routines, and often outside of normal mobile phone receptions, where we tend to be more apt to discern the promptings and whispers of the Spirit.
3. They help get the gospel into hard-to-reach places. Some native Christian ministries are unwilling or unable to go to some of the places that are hardest to reach. Due to the vast amount of needs of the more populated areas and the limited resources some of these ministries have access to, not to mention the political and social corruption through which they often have to navigate, remote villages remain unreached. As a result, short-term mission teams are critical in reaching these people with the gospel.
4. They provide another avenue for fulfilling the Great Commission. At the end of the day, believers are called to be witnesses wherever they are and wherever God leads them. Short-term mission trips help people fulfill the call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Also, people really do get saved through these trips.
5. They support and encourage career missionaries. Career missionaries often get lonely and feel forgotten. They are literally strangers in a foreign land. Short-term trips help provide them with biblical support and encouragement in a unique way.
6. They help people see, smell, and taste other areas of the world. Videos are not sufficient to communicate the needs, the lostness, the living conditions, and other difficulties that many of our brothers and sisters around the world face. Going in-person often stimulates prayers, passions, and support in a way stay-at-home experiences cannot.
7. They remind us of the diversity of heaven. The Kingdom will be made up of people from every tribe. When we travel, we are reminded that God is building his church and the church is much larger than our ethnicity or nationality. It reminds us of the beauty and the granduer of the kingdom that awaits all who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.