Spending time and money on mission trips can seem silly when we can just as easily share the gospel right where we are. And it’s true that, regardless of location, followers of Christ should strive to live as his ambassadors, leading lives of continual testimony. Nevertheless, this doesn’t discount the unique value of short-term trips, for they serve as a powerful means of fueling evangelistic passion and empowering believers to live on mission.
Short-term mission trips have unique value to both the long-term missionaries they support and the churches that take them. When executed with excellence in cooperation with long-term missions strategies, they can provide significant support and impetus to missionary work. In addition, they serve as a powerful means of fueling evangelistic passion and empowering believers to live on mission. J.D. Greear, SBC President and pastor of The Summit Church, recognizes the importance of investing in short-term missions, both for church members and for pastors.
Short-term trips are critical for developing church leaders’ vision for global missions. These trips often inform ministerial strategy and instigate a renewed burden for the lost, equipping pastors to inspire their congregations to get involved as well. Indeed, as Greear points out, “You can’t be passionate about what you haven’t seen.”
When church leaders experience short-term missions for themselves, they are then able to train their congregations to go as well. Preparing people for these short-term trips—training in spiritual disciplines like Scripture memorization, prayer, and regular devotional habits—is simply discipleship, a core responsibility of the church. In practicing these disciplines and subsequently going on short-term trips, church members become more equipped and more passionate about daily ministry. The reward of these trips—greater burden for the lost, deeper passion for the gospel, and active participation in the Great Commission—are assets to the missionary task, both globally and locally.
Gardner Davis is a student in the US and currently works as a content editor and social media associate with the IMB.