Missions trips are often short-lived, but the effects are long-term. Its been argued that short-term missions are ineffective and often cause more hurt than help. However, if done right, there can be long-term, positive effects from a missions trip experience.
The Global Coalition said, When done well, a short-term trip itself is just one piece of the broader, long-term journey of learning and engagement with Gods work in the world. Through this type of transformation, churches can better share the gospel. There is no greater success than the local body of Christon both sides of the short-term trip equationdeclaring and demonstrating the hope of Jesus Christs reconciling work.
Here are three ways a short-term missions trip can have a long-term impact:
1. Represents the global church.
The people who attend a missions trip are the hands and feet of Christ. They serve others because of their love for the Lord! Giving time and energy in service of others is a reflection of Gods provision and love for His people. Introducing others to the love of God plants seeds that grow for years to come for both those giving and receiving care. The same God that is in the United States is also in all the other worlds continents.
2. Expands ones worldview.
When we travel, our view of the world broadens. We delve into different cultures, meet new people, and see how Gods love stretches across the world and covers all people. Though different, we can unify through faith. Our respect and love for others expands when we walk in their shoes. Missions trips give us that opportunity!
3. Develop a love and understanding for missions.
My first missions trip was when I was in eighth grade. My heart for missions began to grow from that moment on and led me to financially support other peoples missions trips, give to mission organizations, and adopt internationally. Serving can look different for everyone, but going on a short-term missions trip can change peoples hearts to make a long term impact and keep serving in their communities and beyond. Many missionaries or non-profit service organizations began with a short-term missions experience. Peoples heart for other cultures grew and they saw the need for change because of one short-term experience.
The Gospel Coalition said the following about longterm effects of short-term missions: What happens after participants return home is typically the single biggest factor in whether a trip was worth it. We need to communicate to participants that they have a responsibility to steward the visit well. They have an opportunity to support the believers and community they visited through their long-term prayers, monetary support, advocacy, and encouragement. And they have an opportunity to translate the things they have seen into faithful involvement in poverty alleviation in their own communities.
For those of you who have been on a missions trip, tell us in the comments how the experience effected your life long term!