It’s no secret that the benefits of short-term mission projects are received by the ones going on the trip as much as the local people that the team serves. However, the benefit to the goers is not automatic. Below are some suggestions to help get the most spiritual value from a short-term missions project. It can be used as a daily checklist to make sure that you stay on track to thrive as well as survive spiritually during the project.
- Keep a journal. The practice of writing will motivate you to reflect on the day’s activities and to organize your thoughts. Record crucial conversations, scriptural insights, ministry lessons, observations about the culture, prayers, team lessons, adventures of the day, etc. The journal will also be invaluable when communicating with friends when you arrive home about the experience.
- Consider relationships on the team. Anyone to forgive? Anyone to serve or encourage? Anyone who needs correction? Anyone that you are irritated with that you need to give more patience? Are you praying for the team and especially its leader?
- Consider the ministry with the locals. Who are you praying salvation for? Anyone that you need to follow-up with a word of truth or with scripture materials in their own language? Are your ministry projects really being done with excellence? Any progress that can be celebrated as a team?
- Consider the field leadership. Are you serving them well? Are you accomplishing the goals that they set out for the group? Do you have a clear conscience regarding your relationship with them?
- Rest some each day and all day weekly. Short-term teams are often very productive because they don’t have to pace themselves like longer term workers do. However, periodic rest is necessary to avoid burn out. You will get rest one way or another: either schedule it or you will get it because of an illness or discouragement that comes from stress.
Other posts in this series: