Redeeming Short-Term Missions Trips

Short-term missions trips can get a bad rap—and understandably so. But we think there’s a way to redeem short-term missions trips for the glory of God. The key is approaching your trip with humility as the learner, not the leader.

The Role of a Short-Term Missionary

If you take a short-term trip to partner with national believers (national partners as we call them) doing the Lord’s work overseas, your primary role as a short-termer should be to listen and to learn.

The trip provides an opportunity to gain a new understanding of how God is already at work in different ways around the world. And maybe you will begin to think differently about how you fit into God’s plan to redeem some from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation through Christ.

How a Short-Term Missionary Should Serve

The short-term missionary should always yield to the national partners. They are the ones who know the language, culture, ministry climate, and so much more. They live and serve in their home context every day.

For the partners who are doing ministry in their own regions, it can sometimes be helpful to have a short-term team come complete a specific one-time task that will enable the long-term ministry to continue in this location.

The short-term missionary should also always seek to be an encouragement to the partners as well through prayer and fellowship. Often the relationships between the partners and the Americans formed on these short-term trips can last for many years and even result in long-term global partnerships to the praise of God’s glory.

Six Tangible Ways to Take a Helpful Short-Term Trip

1. Never Force a Trip on a Partner

Wait to be invited to make a trip. You want to be sure you and your team are not a burden or hindrance to the partner and their ministry.

2. Pray and Seek Counsel

Before you recruit a team and buy plane tickets in response to the invitation you’ve received, pray for the Lord’s wisdom. Ask Him and read His Word to learn whether God would have you take this short-term trip. Also, seek counsel from wise members of your church about this matter.

3. Meet a Real Need for a Partner

From time to time, the partner may have a specific, tangible need or desire that they cannot fulfill with the current resources they have. Maybe they need to reconstruct a building, run a children’s camp over the summer, or do a medical outreach to a nearby village. These are great opportunities for a short-term team to help. Never assume that you know what their greatest need is.

4. Follow the Lead of the Partner

The short-term traveler is not the leader on a short-term trip. The partner is. That’s because the partner knows the culture, the language, the need, the ministry climate, and how their ministry normally operates. The short-term traveler is there to assist in the ways they’re asked.

5. Pay Your Own Way—and More

The most helpful thing for the partner is to have their needs met without incurring any additional expense. As a short-term traveler, you should pay or raise funds for your entire team to sleep, eat, and travel. You should pay for the project you are completing. And you should even leave behind more funding when you depart in case there were expenses you didn’t know about that the partner will have to cover in your wake.

5. Plans Will Change—Be Flexible

It’s possible that between the time when your short-term team signed up for the trip and the time your plane lands in the destination, the need you were expecting to fill has changed. Maybe the original plan was to fix houses but now the partner’s greatest need is for people to help deliver food to a nearby village. The partner’s ministry is always moving forward and they are responding to the circumstances in their location. The short-term team needs to know ahead of time to expect changes in the itinerary and be okay with trusting the Lord that He has them there for the right purpose at the right time.

Ready to Dive In?

If you think you are ready to explore taking a short-term missions trip, take the first step by exploring possibilities at Read about national believers doing God’s work in their own countries across the globe. Then, visit our Short-Term Trips page if you’d like to dialogue about how to get more involved.

Paul’s Missionary Strategy: Build Partnerships

Scholars tell us that in a little less than 15 years time, the apostle Paul completed his church-planting mission in four major provinces of the Roman Empire. Before 47 A.D., there were no churches in Asia Minor, Macedonia, Achaia, and the region of Galatia. By 60 A.D., Paul could write, “I no longer have any room for work in these regions” (Rom. 15:23).

How did he do it? Was the Apostle Paul a super-human, one-man army for God? Or are there other principles that Paul understood that would help us effectively reach our world for the sake of the gospel?

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5 Non-Financial Ways to Support Global Missions

If you’re like us at Live Global, you love Jesus and get passionate about spreading His name across the globe. But even so, not everyone is called to “go” and be a missionary cross-culturally. As we know from God’s Word, however, every Christian is still called to live missionally.

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5 Ways to Be Missional When You’re Not a Missionary

From Scripture we know that every Christian is called to be intentionally missional, but yet not everyone is called to be a missionary. For the purposes of this blog post, we consider a missionary to be someone who crosses a language, culture, or geographical barrier to go and take the gospel to a group of people—typically people who do not yet know Jesus.

Go, Send, or Disobey?

If you read Matthew 28:19–20, Romans 10:14–17 or Isaiah 52:7–10, it’s easy to see that God desires for believers to play an active role in sharing the gospel with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. So yes, that means either you “go” as a missionary, intentionally stay and “send” missionaries, or disobey this command of God in Scripture.

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How Should Christians Respond to the Refugee Crisis?

You hear stories of refugee families who spend their entire life savings on the slim chance they’ll make it across the sea on a raft to a potentially safer country. You see pictures of war-torn cities destroyed by bombs and pictures of little barefoot kids running down the street covered in scars, dirt, and ash. You listen to news reports about the United States’ new president making executive orders to stop refugees from entering this country.

And you’re a Christian. You love Jesus. Your heart breaks for these refugees who have no hope—not in this life and not in eternity. And you wonder what you can do.

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How to Know if God is Calling You to Be a Missionary

God calls every Christian to be missional, even though He does not call every Christian to be a missionary. So what’s the difference?

A missionary is someone who crosses a language, culture, or geographical barrier to go and take the gospel to a group of people—typically people who do not yet know Jesus.

Being missional is a call given to every Christian throughout the Bible. For example, in Matthew 28:19 it says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Also see Romans 10:14–17 and Isaiah 52:7–10 which both indicate that God desires to use believers to share the gospel. This call to be missional means that according to God’s Word, every Christian must be intentionally engaged in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with people all around the world, especially those who have not heard yet.

In other words, every Christian should be engaged in global missions.

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How to Get Your Church Engaged in Global Missions

Is Your Church Engaged in Global Missions?

We know Matthew 28:19-20 is not just a suggestion. It’s a command from Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations.” And we know that He uses His church as a primary way to fulfill it.

But with limited resources and unlimited opportunities, how can a pastor and missions leaders in the church be more effectively engaged in world missions? We know it can be overwhelming, so here are 10 baby steps for pastors and missions leaders to help get your much missions-ready for blast off.

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How to Make a Global Missions Strategy for Your Church

We think the best way to get your church engaged in global missions is to strategize, streamline, and plan.

“The most effective people aren’t the ones who dabble in a lot of things. The most effective people are the ones who choose a path and travel down it as far as possible.”—Matt Schmucker, 9 Marks


Take a look at your missions budget. Is it all over the place supporting every missionary who sends you a letter? If so, it might be time to reevaluate and prune the branches that aren’t producing fruit so you can better apply your resources to the ones that are.

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5 Characteristics of a Valued Global Partner

You or your church is passionate about global missions. You long to be a part of what God is doing through His followers around the globe. And you’ve decided global partnership is for you.

Are you thinking, “Wait, what is global partnership?” No worries. Get more info about global partnership in terms of global missions here.

Maybe you’re just starting to pray about who God might lead you to partner with or maybe you’re almost ready to seal the deal with a specific person. Or maybe you’re someone who has been partnering with a national believer for years and it’s time to reevaluate. Either way, analyzing your global partners will help you optimize your efforts for the Kingdom.

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