We regularly have opportunities for Short Term Mission trips. We yearly take a team to the borders to give people a chance to see what we are doing and also for them to minister to the orphans and North Korean refugees.
Alongside the China/North Korean border trips we also have short term trips to Mongolia, Japan, Vietnam and other surrounding unreached nations as God leads us.
If you have never considered short term mission before, or think you couldn’t be involved, then read on! Today, more than ever, short term mission (STM) is playing a vital role in helping the church fulfil the Great Commission. Indeed the Bible shows us that the return of our soon coming King will follow as a result of ‘…this gospel of the kingdom [being] preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end will come’:
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Matthew 24:14 (KJV)
There have been significant advances in technology, communications and travel compared to the difficulties endured by our missionary predecessors at the turn of the last century. This is to the advantage of the church in fulfilling her call.
Today, being able to ‘go’ or to support those who go is within the grasp of every Christian in the developed world and beyond. If Coca Cola can have as its founding vision to put a bottle of coke or, as they call it, ‘the real thing’, within easy reach of every human being, how much more should Christians put the genuine article, Jesus Christ, in reach of every person on the face of the earth to affect their eternal destiny.
The mobilisation of a group of three or more people, sent overseas from a church for the purpose of ministry. Short-term missionaries are a fairly recent innovation in the global missions movement but they are rapidly increasing in number with missions trips ranging in duration from a week to a year.
Sources: Elim Pentecostal STM Leadership Manual and Wikipedia
The truth is that all missionary work, whether long or short term, is about team work! Jesus knew the importance of this and developed a team around Him. There is a pattern evident in the Gospels of an increased number and magnitude of miracles and fruit once Jesus had a team, compared to when He worked on His own. It is a great privilege and honour that God has chosen us to partner with Him.
There are many ways to be a part of the team:
The difference that a God-ordained and thoughtfully planned STM trip can make is threefold. It benefits the recipients, the participants, and those who send them.
One of the key benefits of STM is the increased witness of the Gospel. This is powerful in dealing a death blow to spiritual poverty, and physical poverty which has a spiritual root. The power of the Gospel alone can effectively deal with these and transform many lives.
Teams can bring aid and relief, but also strength and refreshing to missionaries already labouring in the field. Teaching and discipleship are other ways in which a team can leave a Godly deposit and ensure multiplication of the work. STM also aids relationships with other ministries in the field, with the advantage of learning from each other’s experience and assessing ministry gaps.
Short term missions are a life changing experience, stepping out of comfort zones to full reliance upon God. God honours the sacrifice of time, resources and effort by meeting with participants in the field through spiritual encounters and by confirming personal calling. STM also enables the participant to discover the joy of God working through them. It also causes participants to re-prioritize their lives and values, to facilitate becoming ‘World View’ Christians by exposure to the bigger picture.
“Mission team gives you the courage to experience the unknown first time… it gives the assurance and support needed to embark on those new experiences you wouldn’t otherwise tackle.”
NK Borders/China 2009 participant
STM team members also learn from one another, being supported in spiritual growth and flowing under the anointing of the team leaders.
Most importantly, God is also able to arouse within the participant a fresh compassion for lost people, to show the essential role of prayer and the importance of being led by the Spirit.
Short term missionaries also learn what is close to God’s heart, which in turn ignites a passion for Him. Many times we wait to be changed before we go – but it is in the going, that we are changed!
Senders enable and support Short Term Missionaries to go. As such they too will be credited by God for the resulting fruit. A church member impacted by a trip can be a positive catalyst long after the trip has ended. Benefit can be derived through them being able to share their experiences, which in turn stirs others within the congregation to be more outwardly focused and draws out those who are called to ‘go’. First-hand knowledge also helps those who pray to more easily identify with the people for whom they pray. Prayer in turn births transformation and fuels new ministries.
Much research has been done over the past century, identifying people groups around the world who have never heard the Gospel. Operation World and The Joshua Project are such examples. Many will also be familiar with the concept of the ‘10/40 Window’. However, the truth is that only around 2.5% of total missionaries go to unreached nations (OW 2006). It is for this very reason that God has raised up ministries such as NK&Beyond amongst others to concentrate on these nations of many millions of people. This has been God’s heart-beat since revealing His precious Son to the world, as reflected in Paul’s ministry in Romans 15:20-21.
And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: ‘To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.’
Romans 15:20-21 (New KJV)
Paul and the other apostles almost succeeded in reaching their known world following this strategy. It is time for us to pick up where they left off. Will you pray to the Lord of the Harvest for more labourers? Are you willing to support in any way? Have you considered how you could fulfil the command to ‘Go’?
It will take each person playing his or her part, motivated by love for our gracious God and the plight of the lost, to bring closure to our Great Commission. This will finally fulfil God’s earnest desire to see people from every nation, tribe and tongue worship before Him, united in Christ for all eternity.
Dedicated Korean churches work faithfully for North Koreans here in the UK.
Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me. Psalm 35:1
Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, when there remains someone who has not heard it once?
Oswald J. Smith