In my experience as a pastor, there are many benefits of short-term missions:
- BLESSINGS: People who engage in obeying the great commission are to be blessed abundantly by God. Those who go on short term missions trips realize that we are blessed to be a blessing. The experiences I had were not a feeling of pity or superiority, but a desire to share that which God has blessed me with…whether money or abilities.
- VISION: Those who go are given greater enlightenment about God and His purposes toward the people groups of the world. You are overwhelmed by the fact that you are a part of a much bigger picture – a much bigger plan then you realize sitting in the pew of the local church. It’s easy to become self-focused in the local church.
- PURPOSE: Those who go are given a heightened sense of meaning, fulfillment and direction when they give themselves to serve on short term mission projects. New objectives and perspectives are learned about God’s greater plans for the world beyond our own limited personal perspective. You never know how God will use you. Short term mission experiences help one uncover hidden areas of strengths and weaknesses that are helpful in all areas of life, relationships and decision-making.
4. PROJECTS COMPLETED: Some are often able to complete new buildings, worship halls, or training clinics that fulfill the needs of people on the field. Things are accomplished that could never be done by the locals…and God gets the glory!
5. DRAWING CAPACITY: Short-termer’s often attract attention from locals who are interested in seeing their evangelistic films or participating in their medical clinics or sewing classes, or V.B.S. programs. Fresh faces also provoke a sense of curiosity from all sectors of the community that will open up many new doors for the gospel…and the local pastors.
6. LONG-TERM COMMITMENTS: Many short-termers develop long term commitments to missions…Often going again and again. The need is great in all countries, and Jesus said that we must pray for workers in the harvest field.
7. PRAYERS INCREASED: When people engage in short term missions they pray more fervently. People tend to pray for things that they have some kind of personal involvement.
8. LINKS ESTABLISHED: Many barriers of culture, geography and perceptions are broken down as a result of the favorable relationships that are established in short term missions. You develop a love for the people that can only be God loving them through you. The lives of the local believers are warmed by the spirit of cross-cultural servanthood that the short termers display.
9. Personal EXPERIENCE: Greater insight is given to those who take part in short term missions as their experience teaches them things they could not learn any other way. There is something to be said for the sights, sounds, smells, and hands on experience.
10. DONATIONS: People who have been on short term missions tend to give much more generously to missions the rest of their lives. They will also encourage other volunteers as a result of participation on short term missions as well. They are apt to engage in local ministries with great enthusiasm, and greater effectiveness.
11. FULL-TIME MISSIONARIES: Some people who go on short term missions are much more likely to commit themselves to full time missionary service. They often need first hand experience before they are willing to commit themselves to missionary service.
12. APPRECIATION: Short term missions give people a greater appreciation for what they have so they are less likely to fail to give thanks for all things.
13. BLESSING: Those who go will be blessed! And they will have a personal testimony that will never be forgotten.