Sadly, many trips have minimal connection to long-term missions, except for orienting possible future missionaries and exposing them to another culture. Both of these objectives can also be accomplished in trips designed for long-term missions impact. In deciding on a short-term trip, choose in favor of trips that will make a tangible contribution to long-term church planting in some way.
Short-term missions trips impact long-term missions in the following ways:
- May return to the field as a long-term worker.
- Becomes a resource for sending and debriefing future short-termers from his church.
- May become an advocate back home for the long-term ministry he visited, by recruiting future workers, giving or raising money, caring for the long-term missionaries, and mobilizing prayer.
While on the field, the short-termer can accomplish the following for long-termers:
- Provides care for long-term workers, thus helping them to continue effectively (cf., a pastor who counsels a couple about their marriage).
- Accomplishes a task that would risk long-termers’ expulsion (cf. mass distributing Jesus Film DVDs in bicycle baskets in China).
- Accomplishes a task that enables the long-term workers to be more effective. (cf., if a missionary’s business on the field provides business consulting or English for business, key business people could travel to the field for two weeks and provide these services.)