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.