Short-Term Missions Trips: Good or Bad?

By Daniel Darling

There has been a lot of discussion and debate among missiologists about the validity of short-term mission trips. Some view them as an impediment to long-term, rooted gospel work in cross-cultural contexts and others still see mission trips, used well, as a great tool to engage God’s people in His work in different cultures. I posed this question to Tony Myles, the author of a new book, Flipping Missions. Like me, he feels that short term missions is still a good thing and he gives great tips on how to do them well. Here is one of the questions I asked him:

Do you still think short term trips are valid?

Absolutely, but they can’t just become a calendar event or an annual thing we do. Mission trips are like “date nights” for married couples. They aren’t meant to replace the relationship, but provide space and investment to figure out what’s even happening in the relationship.

Any time we spend in a cross-cultural community is meant to let God cross into the community and culture of our souls. We sign up for a mission trip thinking it will be a meaningful experience, but God wants to give each of us a meaningful life. It’s good to go “somewhere else” to serve, but it’s better to use that to then start living as a missionary right where you are.

You can read the rest of the interview here, including practical ways pastors can prepare their people for maximum gospel impact while they are overseas.