Today, my wife Susie and I, fly out on a short-term mission trip to Tiraspol, Moldova (Transnistria). We have a sister church there that we will visit and I will preach/teach and do some leadership training and development. Many pastors and church leaders have never gone on a short-term mission trip or did it once many years ago. Here is a quick list of 5 benefits that I experience each time I leave my culture to share the gospel in a different context:
1. Short-term missions help to strip away “cultural Christianity” from Biblical Christianity. So much of Christianity today is cultural and not Biblical. A mission trip provides a great opportunity to strip the cultural veneer away from our Christian faith.
2. Short-term missions gives the “big picture” of what is God is doing on a global scale, instead of just in my backyard. Stress comes in ministry when we maximize things that should really be minimized. A short-term missions trip has the potential to provide a healthy ministry framework that keeps perspective in balance.
3. Short-term missions allows for cross-cultural ministry connections that benefit both churches. We have a sister church in Moldova that God knit our hearts with. We annually travel there and fly their national pastors to the USA to report to our church all the great things God is doing.
4. Short-term missions affords an opportunity to invest in lives of people that rarely have the means to give back to you. Moldova is the poorest country in all of Europe. For our church, this allows us to get the “biggest bang for the buck” as we financially support them. When we go to them, there is no opportunity for us to receive in any tangible way from them. However, the spiritual blessing we do receive are so numerous and rich that it is hard to quantify.
5. Short-term missions is modeled throughout the New Testament by people like Paul, Peter and Philip (all great examples worth following). The fact is, we see trips like this all over the New Testament. There are few other ways to apply Jesus command to “Go into all the world” than to actually, “Go into all the world“.