Recently I wrote a post called “A Pastor’s Take on Short Term Mission Teams.” In that post I talked about “how” to do short term missions. This week, I’m writing about “why” your church should participate in short term missions. When done wisely, sending short term mission teams can be a great blessing to your church. Here are 5 reasons why:
- Short term mission trips can help your people personalize the Great Commission. Yes, I’ve read the progression of home to the nations in Acts 1:8. Yes, I’ve heard the argument that you should witness at home before going around the world. I’ve also seen how a cross-cultural mission trip can change a person’s perspective on the Great Commission. I’ve seen the “light bulb” go off for people as they realize they have a role to play in making disciples of all nations. I’ve seen people return home with a new sense of purpose, seeking to make disciples of their own nation.
- Short term mission trips can force your people to think about communicating the gospel. Recently at Immanuel, we started training our short term participants in how to share the gospel and how to share their testimony. Some of our people were forced, for the first time, to stop and think through how to communicate the gospel and how to communicate their story. This intentional preparation will pay dividends, not just on the mission field, but also at home. Several of our people have told me the training and preparation helped them share the gospel right here at home.
- Short term mission trips can make your people aware of the great needs around the world. In the United States, it can be hard to imagine real, crushing poverty. It can be hard to imagine the crisis of not having access to clean drinking water. It can be hard to imagine how people feel when they don’t know where their next meal will come from. In addition to great physical needs, there is also the need for access to the gospel. Until an American experiences life in a place without a church on every corner, it’s hard to imagine the millions with no access to the gospel.
- Short term mission trips can show your people the necessity of “career” missionaries. Recent data suggests that short term mission trips are on the rise. The ease of travel and the spread of technology have made these trips a possibility. These teams have the potential to make a great impact for the Kingdom. Nevertheless, these teams also come with significant limitations. We still need people to settle in a place, learn the language, and understand the culture. We still need people to invest in building meaningful relationships that last beyond a week or two.
- Short term mission trips can give your people real faces to put with impersonal statistics. What does it mean when I tell you so-many-billions of people do not believe in Jesus? What does it mean when I tell you so-many-millions of people do not have access to the gospel? What does it mean when I tell you so-many-thousands of people groups do not have a Bible in their own language? Until you see faces up close, these numbers are just numbers. But when you participate in a short term mission trip, you put real faces with impersonal numbers.
Originally published July 11, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.