Over the past few years, the discussion among some Youth Pastors on the idea of moving away from short term student mission trips has become a hot topic. Some churches have moved towards a more integrated approach to short term trips with their entire congregation (making them more multi-generational) which I love. Others, however, have simply abandoned short term trips altogether because of their so-called ineffectiveness. Here are a few reason why we (Summit Student Ministry) still offer Short Term Mission trips for students in our ministry.
- It has benefits for the Full-Time Missionary: Listen carefully, the complete opposite can be true of this statement if you plan a short term trip with your own agenda in mind. However, when you lay your agenda down and ask the missionary how your team can best serve the work that is currently happening on the ground, it’s a win. Always ask your on-the-ground contact how your team can best serve the work. This brings alignment to the strategy and clarity to the purpose of the trip.
- Development of a Global Mindset in your Students: You can talk about the nations all you want, but when you actually take your students and immerse them among the nations, that’s a completely different ballgame. Several years ago I took a group of students on a trip to SE Asia, and for one student it was her first time overseas. She grasped God’s heart for the nations, fell in love with a people group, and is now living overseas as an ambassador of the gospel. Short Term trips helped fuel her passion for long term investment.
- Intentional and Focused Discipleship: Our teams meet together for several months before they set foot on the ground overseas. During our meetings, we try and focus the majority of the time on discipling our students (Scripture memory, focused times of prayer, bible study). Sure, we have some information that needs passed along, but don’t take for granted the opportunity to have the full attention of teenagers in your training meetings…capitalize on discipleship!
- Ministry Realization: Most of the time when we come back from short term trips, what our students realize most is that the ministry they just did in another context is absolutely no different than the ministry they do at home. That’s a game changer for your ministry.
“Do what you do well for the glory of God, but do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.” – Summit Church Plumbline