Many people I have had conversations with over the last couple of years see little to no value in short-term missions. The majority of the people that I am having those conversations with are those that would be considered long-term missionaries themselves. Just for clarification sake, when I say short-term missions I am referring to a one to two week trip. Mid-term would be anything from one month to one year of service. And long-term would be anything from two years on.
The long-term career missionaries who see little to no value in short-term missions question the importance and validity of such trips. I believe that many of their reservations are valid, having done long-term overseas missions myself; but I believe that my fellow colleagues and other overseas workers are mistaken if they see no value in short-term missions. They are quickly throwing the baby out with the bathwater when they see no value in such trips.
I don't know the exact percentage, but the majority of long-term career missionaries at some point took their first short-term mission trip, which likely led them to a long-term service later. That one aspect alone if nothing else is why I believe in short-term missions. It is a great way for the church to see what God is doing in another part of the world and to mobilize a church or an individual to commit to praying and working in a particular area or with a particular people group to see them reached.
Before my first short-term mission trip I had no desire to leave the US or go on a mission trip. To be completely honest, I had a fear for years that God would call me into some form of long-term missions service in another country. Once I went on my first short-term trip, my eyes were open to a global perspective, which started the journey towards long-term service.
I don't know one long-term missionary that would turn down more offerings for mission work or in some cases their own salary. Another benefit to short-term missions is that it gives the short-termers an idea of the needs, which many times results in more giving to the global cause of missions. In addition to giving, it mobilizes more prayer warriors, which truly is the most important thing that those on the field need in the midst of being on the front line of the battle.
Yes, there are many benefits to short-term mission trips and I ask that you prayerfully consider going on one this year as short-term missionaries will always be needed in the assistance of long-term ones until the task is finished. If you or your church need help getting connected to an area or a long-term missionary to work with feel free to contact me through the speaker request form.