Short-term Missions Trips
Principles for Short-term Ministry Trips
Short-term cross-cultural ministry should be an extension of your church's local ministry. For example, there is a high concentration of Somali Muslims living near my church [Darren Carlson]. Before our church considers sending short-term teams to Somalia to reach out to Muslims, it should first consider how to serve and reach the neighbours God has brought to us. It feels like the Great Commission in reverse.
Ask the Missionaries
Local missionaries can advise from a position of knowledge and understanding. Some of the best short-term trips involve just two or three friends sent by the church to visit a missionary in a difficult place.
Move away from relief
Development, not relief
Relief is appropriate for short periods, but if you want to get involved in alleviating physical poverty and use that platform to share the gospel and relieve spiritual poverty, you must move toward development work.
Long Term Partnerships
Partnerships with local churches
Work primarily through local churches, so when you leave, discipleship can continue. Your desire should be to serve at the request of and under local church leadership. Your disposition should be one of a learner, with humility to listen to local leaders.
Really, really prepare
If the primary purpose of a trip is to change the people sent, it would be best to stay home! However, there should be a 1year commitment to include a preparation & prayer before going as well as follow-up at the end of the trip.