If you’ve been following our organization, Mission Partners for Christ for a while, you know that we do short-term medical missions in places where they have limited access to the gospel and to medical care.

The Lord has been speaking to me recently during my quiet time about this topic that I’m going to talk about today. I have to tell you that I was a little bit hesitant and nervous to share about this: But the Lord has been laying it on my heart that not everyone is a good fit to serve with us on a mission team. 

Yep, that’s the truth. Just because you desire to serve doesn’t mean that you’re a good fit to serve with us. 

Here are a few things to be aware of if you’re thinking about serving on a short-term missions trip in 2023:

Mission Trips Are Not Vacations

If you’re viewing a short-term mission trip as a vacation — a way to and go to Africa and experience a new place– you are not thinking about this opportunity correctly. It is not a vacation.

We all have to remember this phrase when thinking about applying for a short-term mission trip:

“It’s really not about me when I go and serve on a mission trip. It’s really about God: what He wants to do in and through me as I go and serve.”

You Need To Be A Team Player

 In first Corinthians, it says,

 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV

Those who serve with us on a short term mission team need to be a real team player. That’s really important because we need to come together on one accord to serve on a mission team. So if that’s not you– if you don’t like to be a team player or you know that you like it your way– serving on a short-term mission trip may not be for you.

It’s Important To Be Flexible

Philippians 4 tells us,

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13, NIV

Now when we leave the United States, trust me you are going to have to apply the things that it says in those verses. We have to be flexible. Things don’t work on our timing. When we’re just living our life here at home in the United States, we can decide what we want to have for breakfast and when to eat. Often we can have the day just how we want to be, making our own choices as we go.

When you decide to go on a mission trip, you won’t have that same freedom; it won’t be about you.

 Maybe you don’t really want to get up early and have prayer and devotion time prior to our trip. But it’s a very, very important part of our trip. 

You might feel like we’re serving too late into the day. It might feel very taxing or inconvenient. You may not like the food. Maybe the accommodations are nothing like you would stay in. Yes, often we will be staying in very modest accommodations compared to what we’re used to in the United States.

But let me remind you: it’s for a short time. After 10 days, you’re going to go home and you can make your own decisions about what you want to do with your day or what you can have to eat.

I have been so humbled, in my time serving on mission trips, to see all the work that goes into preparing for our team:

  • finding a place for us to lodge 
  • the meals that they spent hours thinking about and preparing for us. 

So if you’re not flexible, short term medical missions are not for you.

It’s Necessary To Practice Humility and Spiritual Preparedness

The next thing I want to share about is spiritual preparation and humbleness.

Psalm 10 says,

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry

Psalm 10:17, NIV

 I want to say this, about being humble: it is important to spiritually prepare yourself for an upcoming mission trip. That is the most important part of serving.

I remember the first trip that I went on; I was concerned about what I was going to pack, what I was going to eat, what the lodging was going to be like. But I remembered the importance of trusting my partner and, most of all, trusting God. I trust Him because He always meets all of my needs. He always does. 

 So when those situations come up and they don’t go my way, I have to submit myself to the Lord. I have to spend time in His Word. 

So, today, in order to spiritually prepare myself for a mission trip, I spend time in God’s word before I go on the trip. And it’s not about speed reading: it’s spending quiet time in His Word so I can hear from him. Through that connection, I open myself up to be used by Him to serve and to share the gospel with people who have never heard the good news. 

 Now you might think, “I have a busy schedule. I have young kids. I’m working. I’m married., etc…” Yes, but we always prioritize those things that are important to us. 

You Need To Be Able To Submit To Leadership

How are you about submitting to your pastor to your church to your boss? Or people who are in any sort of leadership over you? Ask yourself that question. 

God puts leaders in place for a reason. Often those that are in leadership have insight into situations that you don’t, so you need to trust them. I want you to realize that if you have a difficult time respecting and submitting to leadership: short-term mission trips are not for you.

Are you willing to spiritually prepare and pray to serve on a short term trip? And are you willing to submit to leadership? Yes, I know it might sound a lot, but it’s so worth it. 

Mission trips really aren’t about us. They’re about serving God and serving His people. When you do that, it can be very, very rewarding. 

And that’s why I do it. 

So if this sounds like you. If you possess those qualities, I want to encourage you to pray about serving and joining us in 2023.

There Is A Place For EVERYONE In Missions

Now it’s okay if you can’t meet this criteria. That’s okay. God can use you in different ways on short term missions!

 You can be somebody that will pray as we go and serve. Maybe God has laid it on your heart for you to financially partner in order for the gospel to be shared around the world. You can partner with our organization or there’s many other organizations that are doing this work and you can partner with.

 If you meet these criteria, we would love to have you apply and serve with us in 2023.

Text was taken from a live video by Sheri Postma, Founder of Mission Partners For Christ. Watch the full video here: