Short-term missions

Adam Langford joined a long-term mission in Jinja, Uganda, in part, because of short-term experiences in Honduras and Uganda.

My friend, Johnna Raymond, said, “We challenged our interns to give it over to God, all of it. Adam did.” Adam Langford and Moses Kimezi died January 16 as they worked to take good news to the poor and proclaim the joy of Christ. Both Moses and Adam were like that: the spirit of Christ oozed from their pores and their quick laughing smiles.

Literally millions of people in the United States and worldwide are preparing right now for short-term trips, particularly on spring and summer breaks.

Missionary hero of mine, Sam Shewmaker, asks, “Who are the 50 who will ‘replace’ Adam Langford in the mission field?” And who are the 50 who will ‘replace’ Moses? Indeed, we can’t replace Adam or Moses, but they have inspired us, called us once again to missional lives, to suffer with those who suffer, to take fresh water, healing balm, words of comfort, listening ears and learning hearts and serving hands.

Will you hear God’s call through this tragedy? Jason and Jody King already have. They had already made a short-term trip to Jinja and have been planning to go back for two years to Jinja and work with the team that Adam and Moses served with. Jason and Jody still need support. Will you hear God’s call to help support them? Will you either support short-term missionaries or long-term if you can’t go yourself? Or will you go?

Please, please do not go into a short-term trip light-heartedly or with the flippant spirit of “tourism for Jesus.” You need more than a passport and shots. You need the humble spirit of one who is willing to die for others, willing to be a transformed traveler, an incarnational presence of Christ as you discover the amazing diversity and learn deep truths yourself from Christians and God-fearers worldwide.

Here are some resources for you as you prepare. May God bless you, and please write me to find out more about short-term trips that make long-term missionaries. If you have any questions about how to support short-termers, train them, or go yourself, feel free to write.

The Kibo Group
Partners with creative people in both short- and long-term mission capacities to develop solutions for sustainable and community development in East Africa.

International Mission Internships (IMI)
Places university students with experienced missionaries for six-week-long internships that include a two-night bonding experience with locals.

Harding University at Tahkodah (HUT)
The HUT training village offers economic and cultural learning games to show what real life is like in a developing nation.

Mission Alive
Experientially trains mission teams and Christian leaders as evangelists and church planters.

Youth Works
Provides weeklong youth mission trips throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico

Youth With A Mission (YWAM)
Sends out twenty-five thousand short-term missionaries each year. Participants make God known through evangelism, mercy ministries, and discipleship training.

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)
Seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. HFHI invites people of all backgrounds, races, and religions to partner with families in need through house-building projects.

Short-Term Evangelical Missions (STEM)
Offers training events, consulting, and publications to help churches and sending groups achieve maximum impact in their short-term mission programs.

Mission Year
Sends young people for one year to work in a poor urban neighborhood. In that time participants partner with a local church, volunteer at a social service agency, and develop relationships within the community.

Beyond Borders
Organizes reflective journeys and long-term apprenticeships that create opportunities for dialogue between the visitors and their Haitian hosts.

Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO)
Helps those working internationally with the poor be more effective, particularly in the areas of agricultural advancements and developing technology.

Casas por Cristo
A nondenominational ministry addressing the needs of the poor in Mexico through partnerships with churches in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (Casas por Cristo is Spanish for “Houses because of Christ”).

Source: How to get ready for short-term missions (Thomas Nelson, 2006).

6 comments on “Short-term missions

  1. Another source to add to my wonderings about my life. Responsibilities, excuses, fears, excitement about possibilities, all mixed in.


  2. What in the world inspired you to write this today? I’ve had some folks here in Albany express some interest in doing a “missions trip,” but I haven’t known where to lead them. (To me, short-term is 1-2 years, but I don’t think that’s what they have in mind.) Today — this morning — I was looking at short-term missions web sites, looking at your book on Amazon, and thinking about writing to you for ideas (but I figured you would just tell me to buy the book–which I need to do). Anyway, this is beyond coincidence for me.


  3. Thanks for the thoughts, Greg. I’ve been to ECHO’s campus for training. It’s wonderful. To your great list I’d add Lifewind ( and two books; Cross Cultural Servanthood and Serving With Eyes Wide-Open. Blessings.


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