I currently work for Cru, which does have a lot of short term missions trips. There’s some thought on these trips that I will probably address later on in different blogs, but I just wanted to share something I thought was interesting in my reading.
One thing everyone has to ask about short term missions is: Was Jesus for it? Did he send disciples on a short term missions trip?
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:1-2 ESV)
Jesus sends out 72 people on Short Term Missions!
In Luke 10, we see that Jesus sends out 72 of his followers ahead of him, two by two, into every place that he himself was about to go to. In vs 2, Jesus tells them that as he is sending them that the laborers are few and that they too should be praying that God would send out laborers into the harvest.
Why do I believe that this is a short term missions trip? The first reason is that they return in that same chapter to Jesus. Since we also know that Jesus’ time of ministry was 3 years and that it was significantly early on in the book of Luke, we can assume that it was very short.
Were they doing real missions work? I do believe so, because as short as it was, Jesus tells them to enter into villages and into people’s homes to share the gospel. Even if it was just a short time, it was to pave the way for Christ’ message of the gospel to come later on. And the reality was that where the gospel was preached was where Jesus was going to go to! So we should move forward with faith that where the gospel is preached is where God’s Kingdom will be soon!
Jesus sends out his disciples to be messengers of the gospel and to proclaim that Christ was coming and the Kingdom of God was near! This is exactly what we do as believers when we go on missions trips. We go before into places where the news of the gospel is needed to prepare way for the gospel to move in their hearts.
Jesus rejoices when they return!
I also love the party that happens when they return to Jesus and tell him about their travels! They come back to Jesus and tell him all that they did and how they healed people and shared the good news!
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20 ESV)
And check out that praise that Jesus gives about what they did: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven!” Dude, that’s soooo sick. That’s the sickest prop anyone can give, and it came from JESUS! Is that what happens when the people of God moves into places where the gospel has not been preached, even for a short time? I’m not sure but what I do know is that Christ has won victory over Satan for us once and for all. We can now move forward with the gospel without fear and with boldness that comes from Christ’s encouragement!
It’s amazing to see how when they were sent out, I’m sure they were scared out of their minds. But as they went out in faith, they saw God move in amazing ways. They came back excited and empowered to move forward. This is exactly what happens when people come back from even a short term missions trip. People see God working in other places, come back with experience, and are more confident in doing God’s work wherever they go!
I also believe that as those 72 disciples went on their short term missions trip, they were trained and equipped for what I am sure is a life of missions no matter where they went and what they did.
We too, are sent by Christ, into the world to preach the good news of the new life that we have in Christ!
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. (John 17:18 ESV)