I have heard believers and even pastors criticize and dismiss the importance of a short-term missions trip. They make statements like, “It is not true missions, the missionaries put on their best show to entertain you when you come;” or “You could have taken all that money and sent it to the missionary and it would have been a much greater blessing.” Both of these statements have been directed to me at different times. This philosophy is completely Americanized and usually made by someone who has had very little exposure to the field. Some things money can’t buy. Allow me to explain.
Short-term mission trips have the ability to make a long-term impact. Our team will be able to go into St. Vincent with the funds and means necessary to make a huge impression on the island. The team will be able to go in and “take over” for a week giving the missioary and his family a much needed break and boost! We will have the opportunity to reach hundreds of children and we will be able to follow-up with them in the afternoons in their homes. If this alone does not put your questions to rest allow me to list some other reasons.
1. The team encourages their local church about missions. Before one trip, I had a deacon come to me and say, “I am so excited about your trip, it almost feels like the whole church is going with you.” In essence they were. They were backing the mission trip with their finances, prayers and encouragement. The trip gives a personal perception to the church at home and abroad that a check to a mission board just does not accomplish.
2. The team encourages the missionary. There is nothing more refreshing than true Biblical fellowship. Trips allow the missionaries t fellowship with friends of like faith without feeling like they must have their “guard up.” The team is also able to bring items like: peanut butter, candy, and in our case coffee, that are difficult for the missionary to purchase and gives them a “taste” of home.
3. The team edifies the body. The mission church is edified by guest speakers. Here in the states we have the opportunity to have in missionaries and evangelist every week if we so desire. Not on the field. We can minister by preaching and teaching God’s word as well as ministering in music.
4. The team enhances their knowledge of missions. Very rarely does one surrender to missions without the experience of a short-term mission trip. God has commanded us to be missional in our Jerusalem. Many times our hearts ignite for missions when we spend a short time in the uttermost.
5. Evangelism is commanded. We are commanded to go to take the gospel to the uttermost. What better way to fulfill this than going personally to a foreign country as an ambassador for Christ.