Why Should I Go on a Short-term Mission Trip

You may have been there before. The pastor begins closing the Sunday morning service by giving a few reminders just before he wishes everyone a wonderful week. He talks about the upcoming men’s fellowship, about the need for Vacation Bible School workers, about Mom’s Day Out and then about the annual mission trip. It’s probably to somewhere in South America and isn’t something that you want to spend either your money or your vacation time on. So, you don’t give it any more thought.
Until…you’re leaving the sanctuary and the pastor, while shaking your hand says, “You really should consider going with us on the mission trip. It will change your life.” With those words, which could come from any number of sources—your small group leader, a neighbor, your husband—the Holy Spirit pierces your comfortable heart saying, “Go.”
You wake up the next day, sit down with your Bible and your cup of coffee to find your favorite Bible Reading Plan has directed you to read every passage in the Bible that deal with what we normally call the Great Commission. And then the excuses start pouring out. There are so many that you almost convince yourself not to go. Some of them are totally valid too.
But, I don’t want to talk about the excuses or reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t go on a short-term mission trip. I want to empower you with a few wonderful reasons why you and every other able bodied believer in Christ (with the relative wealth we have been blessed with in the western world) from 17-70 should go on a short-term mission trip.

To practice obedience

Jesus gave the command to go and make disciples of all nations to his disciples. If we believe that He only gave the commandment to go into all the world to a few select believers because only the apostles were present, then we need to reconsider a whole lot more of our theology based on who was and wasn’t present. I don’t think that we want to do that. In Acts 1:8 when Jesus said that the apostles would be His witnesses, “…in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” He knew there would come a day when believers like you and I could fulfill this command by witnessing to others in our local community, in the greater region, in a nearby region and also in a foreign country. You should go on a short-term mission trip so that you could be obedient to the Lord’s call to witness of His great power in your life in far away places.

To invest in kingdom building

You need to do something that will allow you to point someone to Christ. Not to your church, but to Christ. You need to go on a short-term mission trip so that you could invest in others, while investing in building God’s kingdom. I know that you probably invest in others all the time, but this is different. This is different because the people that you will be investing in will never be able to repay you. You won’t get anything in return…here on earth. You will however be able to invest so much more than just the money that it cost you for a plane ticket. You’ll invest that too. It probably won’t be any more than $1000 and could be as little as $300 depending on the trip. Some people regularly spend that amount at the ball game. Here, or wherever you go on your short-term trip you’ll be able to invest your talents. Did you know that you could find a short-term mission trip where you teach in sports’ camps? You could teach English for a week. You could use your skills as a builder or dentist or almost any other unique skill set that you might have in order to point someone to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Even better, you will be able to invest your time. In many places that’s all that people need. Before they believe that Jesus loves them, they need to see that someone else does too.

To grow in Christ

Going on a short-term mission trip will help you grow in Christ like no other ministry service that I know. It will get you out of your comfort zone. It will help you focus on what is really important. For the first time in your life you may actually see real poverty, and when that moment comes, you’ll stop either right in the moment, or shortly thereafter and say, “Lord, thank you for being so good to me and always taking care of me. Help me to never worry or complain about not having enough stuff. Please forgive me.” You’ll say that or something like it, and you’ll go home with a renewed vision to serve in your local church. I know of numerous examples of where simply going on short-term mission trips helped people grow in their walk with Christ so that they went back to serve the local church in ways that they had never served before.

To strengthen bonds in your local church

If you go with a small group of people in your church, chances are that you may not know every one of them that well. Spending a week with people you don’t know that well in the context of a mission trip where you are working together for the gospel, where you are eating together, praying together and worshipping together will allow you to build friendships or to strengthen friendships that you never thought possible. You’ll never have a better opportunity to get to know leaders in your church and to learn from them like you will on a mission trip. You’ll get to know them personally. While you’re investing in others together, your pastor or small group leader will also be investing in you and your spiritual growth.

To see if the Lord is calling you to full-time service

Finally and perhaps most frightening for some. You just might discover that the Lord is calling you to serve Him full-time on the mission field. You might discover that God doesn’t just want one week a year but wants so much more from you. That’s what happened with me. The Lord used short-term mission trips to get me to the place where I would surrender and serve Him far away from all that I knew to be common and normal. I deal with it more in depth in my book, The Overflow: Avoiding the Normal. But, I’m not the only one that has taken this route. Many times, it’s what the Lord uses to open a door and deal with someone’s heart about a specific field or a specific need. But, you’ll never know if you never go.
Five simple reasons why you should go on a short-term mission trip. I hope they outweigh the excuses that have been piling up, and I hope that you’ll consider them next Sunday when the announcement time arrives at your church.
About the Author

Michael Andrzejewski

Michael Andrzejewski is a missionary in western Europe who loves to share his stories. An introvert by nature, he swims upstream while struggling to pastor cross-culturally. Passionate about both the Gospel and football, he constantly searches for really good sushi.