WHY IS SHORT-TERM SO IMPORTANT?
Jesus Christ told us that we are to spread the love of God to all people in all places of the world. This means those who live in our communities as well as those who live in other places. Some of us will choose to be cross-cultural ministers as a career, but all of us as Christians can be involved both at home and in other places. Wherever we are, as we are going, we need to make disciples of all people groups. Our Lord told us to go into the world and tend to the spiritual and physical needs of people, particularly those who are impoverished and poor in spirit.
Short-term mission is an accessible way for all Christians to gain a better understanding of Christian mission and to be obedient to Christ’s command to serve our world. For some it will act as an entry point to greater involvement as a missionary or Christian worker. Short-term mission experiences allow people an extended time away from their everyday activities and life. We all know that it is difficult to truly impact the life of a person with only a few hours a week. A Mission experience allows extended time for people to participate in God’s plan, to serve other people and to be challenged in a cross-cultural environment.
While we must not ignore the needs of people in our own communities, it is likely healthy to adopt a “both/and” approach. Youth short-term mission veterans often point to the accelerated discipleship that happens when a young person is removed from their everyday lives and challenged within a cross cultural short-term experience.