In my time at Cornell, I have been on a missions trip with Cru to Panama City Beach, FL, three times, Guatemala City, Guatemala, one time, and East Asia, one time. Each trip, whether I was a participant or a leader, has helped to facilitate both my spiritual growth and also those of other people who have gone.
So I’m writing this blog on the back end of having led several short term missions trips with Cru in my time at Cornell. Let’s just say that as time goes on, I have not become this pessimistic dude about these STM (short term missions, as they will be known herein) Trips.
I’m a big fan of short term missions trips, especially good ones that have a gospel mindset and impact on both the people who go and the places we go to.
They are Gospel Proclaiming
One thing you don’t want is to simply go on or have these trips for your own personal vacation time and say that it’s for Jesus. I believe that these short term trips can be truly gospel proclaiming in the places that they are intended to reach. The Gospel is more than just good news, it’s the transformation of lives and everything around us. The Gospel is the foundation of what God’s Kingdom is! It affects our hearts, how we work, how we love each other, everything!
They give Kingdom Vision
Many students who go on these trips come back with a bigger Kingdom Vision of what God is doing in different places in the world. Many times it might be as simple as really helping Christians to see that there are people who are in need of help, people who need to hear the gospel, etc. This vision can give Christians that desire to start praying for places and people groups and maybe see the same stuff happening. Christians might come back excited to start reaching out to people who are homeless or sharing the gospel with the people they have been living with for years! They might even come back with a strong desire to
They expedite Spiritual Growth
One big reason for why I’m a fan of missions trips is because of the spiritual growth that happens in a person’s life who goes. It takes a massive step of faith to go, to raise funds, and to be in a country or place and engage in something that is not in one’s comfort zone. Sometimes we refer to them as spiritual greenhouses. Many times you live in a strong Christian community and live on mission together. It’s something of a small glimpse of what the true Christian life is supposed to look like everyday!
They give support to Local Missionaries
Another great reason to go on a trip is because of the support that the trips provide to various missionaries, churches, or organizations. In Paul’s letters, as a missionary, he is frequently mentioning the blessing that he receives when he is in community with other Christians. He even specifically asks for churches to send specific people to refresh him spiritually and encourage him in the work of the ministry. Sometimes missions trips are essentially a energy drink to missionaries and churches who might have been in a lull. Also, many times missions trips might be a great financial and physical asset to small churches and organizations.
They give life to the Church
By going on a missions trip, you help the church to be doing it’s job, being disciple makers of the whole world. You also help the church be a part of God’s plan for the whole world. By going, you ask the church to actively engage in the work by praying and sending you. When you come back, the church can celebrate with you what God is doing around the world and continue to pray for those places and the people there! And many times, by coming back excited, you give energy and life to the church. You might come back with great ideas or training that might benefit many people.
These are just some of the reasons why I’m a fan of Short Term Missions Trips and why I believe you should go on one, pray for someone who is going on one, encouraging people to go on these trips, or to financially support someone who goes!