The Role and Limits of Short-Term Mission Trips

The Role of Short-Term Mission Trips

Most long-term missionaries were first introduced to missions through a short-term trip. Short-term mission trips usually range somewhere between 1-2 weeks and are great opportunities for people in every stage of life to engage in God’s global mission.

These trips are instrumental in opening our eyes to how big the world is and how much bigger our Creator is. They are great at casting a vision for what God is doing around the world and how He invites His children to be a part of that.

Short-term trips also provide phenomenal opportunities to bless long-term missionaries. Teams can encourage them in their work, be an outlet for debrief, and even bring some treats they can’t find in their overseas home.

Short-term mission trips do have their limits, though. One of those limits is the lack of ability to prepare a person for long-term missions work. One to two weeks of exposure is not enough to gain a realistic view of living a life overseas among unreached people groups.

I can still remember the random thoughts that shot through my head during my first couple of weeks as an adult long-term missionary. ‘Wait, what? There’s nothing planned for us today? So what are we supposed to do? Hey, when is someone going to take us souvenir shopping? I was really looking forward to that! Why is no one telling me what to do with the trash? What am I supposed to do with it? Why is no one telling me what to do about anything?’

I caught myself many times. No, Amy, you live here now. This is not a short-term trip. I knew that, of course, but it was weird how my short-term trips had programmed my brain with certain expectations.”

This article walks through several ways that short-term mission trips are limited in their ability to prepare a future missionary for long-term work. Whether you work in ministry or are just interested in the world of missions, this article is worth your time.  Check out the full article here.