Short-term missions is defined in many different ways, but commonly refers to trips lasting between one and eight weeks. Usually involving overseas assignments, they may also occur in the United States, particularly in cross-cultural settings. Such trips originate through local churches and mission sending agencies. Participants are usually required to apply for service, and pay or raise the costs.

Short-term trips most frequently include learning about the language and culture of the host country, and performing humanitarian ministries (e.g., construction, painting, medical care, teaching English, running programs for children, etc.) that assist long-term missionaries in some way.

American short-term trips have become a $2 billion industry annually, with 1.5 million people going on trips annually. Two-thirds of the trips last two or less weeks.[1] Recently the effectiveness and financial stewardship of such trips has become a topic of debate.


Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission: The God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries