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Jesus’ Advice To Those Going on Mission Trips

Some people say that we shouldn’t do short-term mission trips because our track record is poor – we can do so much damage. The critique is fair – a lot of trips are poorly done (I point people to SOE.org to see how they can be done right). But if we follow Jesus and try to do what he did, we don…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Some people say that we shouldn’t do short-term mission trips because our track record is poor – we can do so much damage.

The critique is fair – a lot of trips are poorly done (I point people to SOE.org to see how they can be done right). But if we follow Jesus and try to do what he did, we don’t have much of a choice.

Jesus sent his disciples on multiple short mission trips. He showed his disciples how to live and minister and then he sent them out as described in Luke 9 and Matthew 10. Look at the advice he gives them in his pre-field orientation talk (Matt. 10). Jesus’ words are so provocative: 


Go and minister to Israelites. [In other words, those whom you can understand]. 

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 

Heal the sick.

Raise the dead.

Cleanse those who have leprosy.

Drive out demons.

Freely you have received; freely give.

Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you

No bag for the journey.

Don’t take an extra shirt or sandals or a staff.

Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 

As you enter the home, give it your greeting.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 

Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 

Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.

But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child;

Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid.


Now that’s a short-term mission trip! Everyone deserves a Matthew 10 trip at least once in their lives. We need to see if God will show up when we try to do his work without props. Leave your spiritual crutches behind and walk in authority!

I’d love to see modern people try to follow his precepts. If you do so, please let us know what happened.

Comments (5)

  • God does more with short-term missions trips than anyone realizes or will ever know. If didn’t know Jesus, I’d sure like to meet one of his followers. We have the means and we have the mandate. Let’s go!

    On short-term missions trips I have seen…
    1. Participants getting discipled and even saved!
    2. Muslims holding Bibles in their hands for the first time!
    3. Police in closed countries reading gospel tracts!
    4. Students asking for the scriptures because they want to know what is in the book that they have been told is forbidden!
    5. People searching for truth and then finding it!
    6. Baptisms!
    7. People getting stretched spiritually and growing in their faith!
    8. International teams working in unity! What a testimony!
    9. Short-term missionaries getting arrested for distributing the Gospel. How awesome is that?!!
    10. People weeping when they watch the Jesus film!
    11. Local officials pleading us to get out of their town! (You know you are doing something right for the kingdom when there is opposition!)
    12. And a man yelling in Arabic, “STOP! Is that a New Testament in your pocket? Can I have it please?”

    And sooooo much more! The stories are amazing! Don’t wait! Get going and see our great God do great things!

  • Matthew Chapter 10 is the story of the Mission and Commissioning of the 12 Apostles. The future leaders of the ONE True Church “Catholic”. We see since the day of Pentecost the True Church doing all these things in the nations around the world. I think that it would be better if you sited Christ command that leads us to the Corporal Works of Mercy which are Feed the Hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked Visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and bury the dead bearing all things under the most important work being love of God and others that is the missionary work given to us, the laity, and we can do this globally and in our own towns. I do not judge or fault you for this misinterpretation but I do encourage all including myself to present Sacred Scripture in context and order. I think we can both agree since the time of the Reformation(Defamation of the True Fullness of the Faith) That people have used misinterpretation for diabolic agendas and leading the Faithful off track. I need not remind you of Christs stern warning about leading the Faithful to sin(Apostasy) I am just keeping another beggar as myself on course. I doubt this will make your blog comment section, I don’t need it to. This is for you brother.

    • John – I love that passage and Jesus’ own commission in Luke 4. In fact, ten years before I quoted Matt. 10 on this blog, I quoted Luke 4: https://www.sethbarnes.com/post/how-to-minister-imitating-jesus It’s an awesome passage of Scripture.

      Why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t it be both/and? Both Scriptures are fantastic! Jesus modeled it, so we heed the passage 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

  • Sometimes certain scripture, as fantastic as it is, does not apply to all events as we would like to interpret them into. We have to know the difference between typology, symbolism and literal meaning so a lot of time either/or can cause confusion. I think we should heed what St James tells us in Chapter 3 of his letter and what St Paul writes to Timothy in Chapter 2, which points to those who have taken Holy Orders, written during one of the many persecutions that he suffered, as the Church would even to this day, told to us by our Lord in Matthew 10. May the peace of Christ be with you.

    Proper Context and Meaning of 1 John 2:6 brother.

    * [2:3–6] The way we may be sure: to those who claim, “I have known Christ and therefore I know him,” our author insists on not mere intellectual knowledge but obedience to God’s commandments in a life conformed to the example of Christ; this confirms our knowledge of him and is the love of God…perfected. Disparity between moral life and the commandments proves improper belief. United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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