Leveraging a Short-Term Mission Trip for Kingdom Gain?
By Jake Embleton, Launch Global & MissionConneXion
In your opinion what is the greatest injustice in the world? Is it lack of clean water in many villages? Approximately two billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. Or maybe the fact that so many human beings are being trafficked? Approximately twenty-five million people of all ages are currently being trafficked.
Or maybe you believe it’s the refugee crisis, which has now displaced over one hundred million people around the world. In 2021, the number of displaced people was eighty-nine million, the war in Ukraine has pushed that number to over one hundred million.
These statistics are mind numbing and mind blowing. Each one of these people represents a human life that lives in deep struggle and pain.
Not to keep piling on the statistics that are hard to swallow because I truly don’t want to, however, I believe one of the greatest injustices in our planet currently is the lack of access to the Gospel. Approximately three billion people in the world today are considered unreached with the Good News of Jesus. In other words, they don’t have a church nearby, the Bible translated in their language, or even know a follower of Jesus that can share the Gospel with them. This is mind boggling.
You may be asking yourself what do any of these statistics have to do with leveraging a short-term mission trip for Kingdom gain? I am glad you asked. I believe it’s a lot. Here’s why. When people have a deeply impactful, transformative trip it can cause them to want to get involved in the injustices mentioned above and not go back to life as “normal” prior to their trip.
I have found that solid pre-field training ahead of a short-term trip, coupled with strategic intentional Bible studies and debriefs while on the trip along with solid post-field follow up from the trip can have a solid Kingdom impact.
I recently had the privilege of leading a team of ten people on a short-term trip to North Africa and to the Middle East. What a joy it was to get back into international travel as so many of us were sidelined from being able to do so because of the pandemic.
The goal of the trip was two-fold. One, was to visit an unreached people group in North Africa, to expose the trip participants to the life numbing realities that exist when the Kingdom of God hasn’t yet broken through and transformed a society. Second, was to visit a country in the Middle East where there is an established church and see how a long-term team from America is working with the local church to help mobilize them for effective outreach to the Muslim majority people in their communities.
It was a wonderful trip. We saw God’s hand in so many of the details and ways He provided. As usual, the people we visited were incredibly gracious, warm, and welcoming. I could tell you many cool God stories from the trip, however for the sake of time, I will share a few practical ways in which people are already taking next steps from this trip.
A quick caveat to share about each of these trip participants, all of them had gone through an intense ten-month training to help effectively prepare them for potentially moving overseas to be long-term workers.
One trip participant has already signed on to join one of the long-term teams that we visited and he’s currently taking steps to move overseas. Another of the trip participants came back fired up and is going to be helping lead a Pathways class (which is like a Perspectives) in his church to help mobilize more people. Several others are also praying about next steps to potentially join a team overseas to see the Gospel go forth among unreached people groups.
Well led and executed short-term trips are a great way to expose people to world realties. When done effectively and strategic we can see more people get involved in helping the refugee crisis or helping to rescue people from the evils of sex-trafficking, or maybe it’s to help fund ministries that are working to bring clean water to a village, or maybe it’s to help raise up more laborers for the harvest to see the Gospel go forth among the nations.
Wherever you live there is more than likely needs to serve the people. Whether it’s refugees, international students or bringing more awareness to your church for greater Kingdom impact.
There are many great resources available at S.O.E. to help serve you. Please see https://soe.org/resources/ for more information on leveraging your next short-term trip for God’s glory among the nations.
About the author
Jake Embleton lives in the Phoenix metropolitan area where he helps lead an intentional disciple-making community that trains people on how to share the Gospel among internationals and how to prepare effectively for life among the nations. He is also the southwest coordinator for Mission ConneXion, a ministry that helps mobilize people for the Great Commission.