As a society, we like getting the most bang for our buck whenever we spend or donate our money. This is often made evident in the way products are advertised or non-profits brag about their low administrative costs. When it comes to missions, people have the same attitude when deciding what missionary they should donate their money to. The value of short-term missions is fiercely debated, with many people reaching the conclusion that it is a poor financial investment to the Kingdom.
The argument is simple: Why give money to a short-term missions team who will only be there for a week when that same money can most likely be used more efficiently when sent to a long-term missionary? Why pay thousands in airfare to send a team of amateurs when you could send money to missionary and have him/her hire a team of professionals? Even better, what about the option of helping a national missionary?
The Case For Short-Term Missions
God’s Economy Is Different Than Man’s Economy
Sending a short-term missions team can be quite expensive, sometimes even as much as several thousand dollars per person. It seems wasteful to spend thousands on airfare instead of sending the money to the missionary who could make better use of that money. However, crazy things happen when God is in charge of finances. Just look at the tithe. In Malachi 3, God promises great rewards to those who tithe, and He even challenges people to test Him on that. In the same way that it doesn’t make sense how blessed we become when we tithe, it also doesn’t make sense how generous God is when we give to projects like this. Time and time again, missions teams see financial miracles when they raise their funds.
Lives Are Changed On Short-Term Missions Trips
People who may be on the fence spiritually come back from missions trips changed. Yes, it’s true that the purpose of missions trips are to bless the mission field, but those who go always come home as a different person than when they left. What do these changed lives do? Many times they feel empowered to reach their classmates and coworkers, they often become generous missions givers in the future, and some of them are even called to a lifetime of vocational ministry. Even though your church may make a better financial investment by just sending money to the missionary, they end up making a larger people investment by sending short-term missions teams.
Short-Term Missions Can Be Used Very Strategically
Some churches will send teams to the same place every year or even several times a year. By strategically planning your short-term missions trips, you can have a long-term missions investment with a partner missionary or ministry. This provides an outlet and a means of follow-up for the work of your team. Even if your church does not have the means to send teams annually, by partnering with a missionary or local ministry, you know that the effects of your ministry will play a part in a larger strategy.
What Do You Think About Short-Term Missions?
Love it? Hate it? Have any great stories about trips you’ve been on? How did that trip affect you? Please let me know about it in the comments below.
—Rob Sorbo RobSorbo.com