Throughout the year, churches across the U.S. send out short-term mission teams. With so many teams going, it’s good to pause and ask the question the reason why. What is the purpose of short-term trips (STT’s)? Here are several reasons:
1. To proclaim the gospel to the nations. The Great Commission is for everyone. Every Christ-follower should take the good news of Jesus to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” STT’s help facilitate the command and joy-filled opportunity to live out the Great Commission.
2. To glorify God by making disciples in response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Christ-follower exists to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus among their neighbors and the nations.
3. To encourage long-term mission partners by participating in ministry with them. Congregations will often have many folks in their own body who know mission partners personally, pray for them regularly, and give to missions more generously because they have visited the mission partner.
4. To provide prayer support to mission partners and their local churches. When someone goes on a STT, prayer becomes much more real and fervent.
5. To disciple trip participants with a vision of God’s heart for the nations. Jesus had a heart for the nations, and as His followers, we want to mirror his heart and conduct. A vision of God's heart for the nations increases dramatically when one has the opportunity to see what God is doing around the world.
6. To develop leaders within the local church body. It is not uncommon to identify potential leaders through the process of pre-trip training and during the STT itself.
7. To lead the members/attendees to consider long-term involvement in the mission of God.Time and time again stories emerge of folks who went on an STT, and God used that trip to call them or clarify a call to full-time vocational ministry as missionaries.
What about you? What are other reasons to consider being part of an STT?
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Kris Eldridge lives in Atlanta and is the Community Outreach Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga. He is also the founder of Outreach Ministry Solutions and consults with churches to help them reach their communities.www