Short-term mission trips are life-changing. There’s nothing else like the firsthand experience of going abroad to take part in God’s global mission. God can take just a few brief days of cross-cultural service and use them to ignite a lifelong passion for the spread of his glory among the nations.
Knowing this, we at IMB get excited when we hear people talking about taking short-term mission trips. One of the ways we show our excitement is by offering hundreds of short-term opportunities all over the world. Just as important, we provide training resources so mission teams know what to do as well as what not to do. And we give away this training free of charge because we are passionate about helping short-term teams have maximum impact for the sake of the gospel.
How It Works
If you’re already a Christian serving in your local church (since that’s the best way to find out what God has gifted you to do), we can help you use your gifts overseas to further God’s mission globally.
Begin by praying and relying on the Holy Spirit’s leadership as you explore this collection of time-tested resources and search through hundreds of short-term trip opportunities.
Before You Go: Pray, Plan, and Prepare
Like a powerful laser beam, a church maximizes its impact in missions through focus and intentionality. Here’s how one church went from engaging in random activity with little impact to strategic and meaningful long-term partnerships with IMB missionaries. God not only used their approach to encourage and strengthen missionaries on the field but also to bring about more spiritual vitality among their own congregation back home.
Next, take advantage of IMB’s free short-term missions trip training course. You’ll not only learn how to choose a trip that fits the giftedness of your team, but you will also learn best practices in the areas of safety and security, raising support, managing culture shock and team conflict, and sharing the gospel cross-culturally.
Seasoned missionaries and pastors combined years of experience to work with a team of creative artists and writers in developing this very practical curriculum. It covers every key area you’ll need to know before, during, and after your mission trip.
We also have another great resource from IMB.org to supplement your worldview training. These five short videos will help you better understand Hinduism, Buddhism, animism, Islam, and the non-religious worldview as you seek to share the gospel in ways that your particular audience will be able to understand.
During the Trip: Character Matters
Seasoned missionary veteran Elbert Smith squarely addresses the reality of team conflict in this article as he underscores why a heart of humility is so important for each team member to cultivate. And former IMB missionary and trainer Caleb Crider also urges team members to walk in wisdom in his article “5 Mistakes That Could Derail Your Short Term Mission Trip.”
“Unfortunately, mistakes made by short-term ministry teams can often devalue their contribution. A single bad choice can even jeopardize the long-term work of missionaries on the field.”
After You Return: Stay on Mission
After the trip, do all you can to stay on mission. Here’s how Amy King and her family practice doing that once a trip has ended and life returns to normal.
Also, Elliot Clark offers practical counsel on how to best share your experiences in a way that makes God the hero in his article “5 Ways Not to Return from a Mission Trip.”
Maximize the Opportunity
Short-term mission trips are vital to advancing the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20). They also take a tremendous amount of effort, time, and money. But together, we can maximize our faithfulness and increase our effectiveness as we partner together in God’s global mission for the sake of his great name. May God bless you on your journey to spread his glory among the nations.
Alex Crain is an editor for IMB and a worship leader at his church in Richmond, Virginia. He and his wife have three children.