By Mike Price
A short-term mission is the mobilization of a Christian for a short period of time, usually ranging from a few days to a year. The short-term missionary is a fairly recent innovation, but many short-term missions agencies are helping to feed, house and show the love of Jesus in trips that consist of a week up to a year.
In the past, missionaries were men, women and sometimes entire families who gave up their comfortable life to serve the less fortunate in other countries. In the past 40-50 years, the Christian church has moved toward mobilizing people for short-term trips (as opposed to long-term missions).
One of the first short-term missions organizations, Youth With a Mission (YWAM), began in the 1960s. It introduced the novel concept that young people could be missionaries.
In 1951, Bill and Vonette Bright created the organization “Campus Crusade for Christ” on the UCLA campus in California. Campus Crusade for Christ performs short term missions in both the United States as well as overseas, bringing another twist to the concept of missions.
In 1989, Adventures In Missions was founded by Seth Barnes. Remembering how God had touched him as a young person while on a short-term missions trip to the killing fields of Thailand, Seth felt the call of God to do begin a short-term missions agency. He started AIM in a small office in his garage, and it has since expanded to over 100 full and part time staff and over 8,000 people taken out on short-term missions every year. In 2006, Seth Barnes introduced a new form of short term missionary – The World Racer.
In the past, missionaries were expected to have extensive theological training before going into the mission field. However, providing short-term opportunities for young people who have a passion for Jesus Christ to share their faith is powerful and effective. Adventures in Missions is helping to mobilize the church through short term missions.
Although many secularists view mission trips as a vehicle to “push their faith” onto others, Christian missionaries never require that anyone change their belief system or agree with their philosophy in order to receive the love, labor or care provided through missions. That’s one of the benefits of Christianity – it’s 100% voluntary.
Mike lives in Powder Springs, GA with his two lovely daughters and lovely wife Amy.