Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 8 Reasons I Was Wrong About Short Term Missions Trips

8 Reasons I Was Wrong About Short Term Missions Trips

5. The experience generates clarity on our economic status.

This is related to people becoming better donors but it’s more personal.

A well executed short term missions trip gives people clarity on the fact that they are amongst the rich minority in the world. Some people end up experiencing this as guilt … which might be a start … but ultimately the hope is to move people beyond feeling bad to the place where they feel thankful that they have the opportunity to steward the resources God has given them.

6. Opportunity for dependence on God … maybe for the first time.

Our culture is structured to be predictable, safe and comfortable. It often removes the chance for people to be dependent on God because there is little opportunity for stuff to go wrong. [Watch this video from my trip where stuff went wrong!]

Short term mission trips move people out of their comfort zones and force them to face the fact that they aren’t in control … maybe for the first time in their lives! This gift can give people greater clarity on their place in the universe and helps to reset their relationship with Jesus!

7. It gets people out of their seats.

A core part of engaging the people in our church is to get them out of their seats and engaged in the mission.

Experiences like these trips give another chance for people to serve and give back to what God is doing … and that in turn draws them in closer and helps them get more connected with your church.

8. A final reason … that’s not as polite.

I’m not sure how to say this one but I do think it’s a factor. Often times people traveling on these short term mission trips are a part of the wealthy dominant cultures. (Think old, rich, white and male.)

They are traveling to poorer countries and often being led by people who look totally different than them. I love the fact that our people are being led by incredibly talented people who are in the “minority” culture in our country. I love the impact this can have on our people as they see others from various cultures in a different light than is often portrayed by the dominant culture at home.

What has your experience with short term mission trips been? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned! 

BONUS: If you want to get a sense of trip I was recently on … Christine (my wife) posted 9 photos and quick stories about the trip in an album called Learning from Nicaraguan Friends.  

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Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.