BLOG: Why go on a short-term mission trip?

By Ben, our Short-term Co-ordinator and Mission Mobiliser

When considering taking part in a short-term mission trip, people are often motivated by the desire to serve others, to be a blessing and to make a difference in the world. But they often don’t expect the level of profound impact and personal growth that going might have on their own lives!

New perspective

Getting involved in cross-cultural mission trips has had a profound impact on me and has shaped the course of my life. As a teenager, spending a week in West Africa opened my eyes to a different worldview and way of life. God spoke to me through this experience and used it to reshape my view of myself, my relationship with Him, and my sense of purpose in the world.

Getting immersed in another culture gave me a perspective that was much bigger than what I had before, a greater awareness of being part of the global body of Christ, and a love of intercultural life and ministry that has shaped the course of my life ever since. This only increased in the following years, as I received training in cross-cultural ministry and took part in overseas placements.

These experiences are by no means unique to me! One of the most encouraging parts of my job is debriefing people after their short-term trips and hearing the impact that getting involved has had on them. I have met so many people involved in long-term cross-cultural ministry who say that they probably wouldn’t be doing this work if they hadn’t got involved in a short-term trip in the past.

A shared journey

One of the best aspects of this profound journey is the fact that we don’t go on it alone. In fact, it’s the relationships we build and the way we see God at work in and through one another that is often the most impactful part of a short-term mission trip! Being part of a team gives you the chance to process your experiences together and learn from one another, and often leads to deep friendships that will last for years to come.

You also learn so much through building relationships with local people in the context you serve in – being enriched by better understanding their worldview and way of life, and being blessed by their friendship, warmth and hospitality. It’s through these relationships that you’ll be able to show the love of Jesus, and to share your faith with people who have never heard the gospel. If you have the chance to spend time with local Christians, you will be inspired and challenged by the realities of life as a Christian in that context, and blessed with greater awareness of being part of the global body of Christ.

For many, one of the most impactful parts of going short-term is spending time with long-term missionaries. It’s such a privilege to be able to see and be part of their lives and ministries – learning from their experience and being inspired by their stories. You can also be a blessing to the long-term teams as you encourage them, pray with them and play a part in supporting their work. Though you can only do so much on a short-term trip, you may make new contacts which the long-term team can follow up on. There have been times when someone has made a friend on a short-term trip and shared the gospel with them for the first time, and then the long-term team has continued to develop that relationship for months or years until they have eventually come to faith!

Be equipped

Through the great commission, Jesus has commanded us as His global church to make disciples of all nations, and we all have different roles to play in this mission. Whatever your calling, a short-term mission trip can be a great way to gain perspectives, skills, knowledge and experience that will equip and inspire you as you seek to serve God.

If you sense that the Lord may be calling you to long-term cross-cultural ministry, going on a short-term trip is an important part of exploring this calling and gaining experience. If you are called to support others who are serving cross-culturally, then it’s a great way to learn about the realities and prayer needs of life on the field, and how you can support and encourage most effectively. If God is calling you to cross-cultural ministry locally, you will gain practical skills and knowledge that you can apply in your own context.

How might God be calling you to get involved?

If you’d like to join in with a short-term mission team or training weekend, click here to see our latest opportunities, or get in touch with Ben on

Previous Articles