Are Short-Term Mission Trips Beneficial?

Short-term mission trips’ aim is similar to long-term mission trips: to share the Gospel and meet needs... But are they beneficial?


Are Short-Term Mission Trips Beneficial? 

Are Short-Term Mission Trips Beneficial


Many people have reservations about short-term mission trips. Some see it as an excuse for a vacation. Others think it’s too short to make an impact. And unfortunately, some have led mission trips poorly and maliciously. However, as someone who’s been on multiple short mission trips, I can attest to how much impact they can have on you and those you’re ministering to for good and that there are good missionary teams out there. 


The purpose of short-term mission trips 

Short-term mission trips’ aim is like long-term missionaries: to preach the gospel through words and actions and aid those in need. Some specialize in one or the other, but most have a mix. You don’t need to be a doctor or find talking to strangers easily. There is no cookie-cutter missionary. 

Long-term missions can require learning a language, large funding projects, and lack of training could hinder their ministry, even allowing them to unintentionally hurt the people they’re trying to help. Short-term mission trips buffer a lot of these issues. Most won’t require fluency, need less funds, and provide learning experiences. Short-term missions are also a great way to make an impact. For a time, missionaries temporarily live in a new culture and make a real difference in strangers’ lives by partnering with local ministries already established in the area. This empowers the missionary to understand better what foreign communities are facing and practical experience to face issues wherever they go. Short-term missions teach you humility, mercy, teamwork, handling patience, work ethic, and more. For every Christian, these are invaluable skills. 


Benefits of YWAM mission trips 

Youth With a Mission (YWAM) is a worldwide organization. YWAM bases run Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) to train christians in mission work, with a few months in the classroom (including local outreach) and a few months on outreach, often in a foreign area. While other short-term mission programs may jump into the field, DTS provides training from staff and teachers who’ve already been through a Youth With A Mission DTS. Whether you’ve never left for a missions trip or grew up on the missions field, all experience levels have room to excel and grow in a DTS. 

Another benefit of YWAM mission trips is that it’s interdenominational and international. Students and staff will come from different backgrounds and can be a great example of diversity and unity. When staff and students are committed to Jesus, it allows for deep friendships and great teamwork across cultural and denominational divides. 

The Discipleship Training School/Personal Experience

Every YWAM DTS location is different – to students’ advantage! You can find YWAM Discipleship Training Schools that use sports, tech, the arts, science, and more to reach the world. Some focus on specific people groups, such as children at risk, the unreached, refugees, and urban areas. Some train you in specific roles like worship and leadership. When you factor in the size of the YWAM base, their passions, and where the outreach is held, it can feel overwhelming with all the different bases. However, differences are valuable because if all were the same, it would only be a good fit for a few people. Many different kinds of Christians can find the best YWAM DTS locations for them through research and prayer. 

I did extensive research, sending emails and scheduling Zoom calls for the right DTS. After months of searching, praying, and several divine appointments, I found YWAM Asheville in North Carolina. Their smaller base felt like living among friends rather than a big campus. They had an art elective that reshaped my perspective of art’s role in the field. They wanted us to explore and weren’t afraid of disagreements because they were unified in their love of man and God. I made more friends than I could’ve imagined, learned things I never would’ve learned, and did things I never would’ve done. The YWAM Asheville DTS changed my life through teachings, practical application, and eye-opening experiences. 


Short-term missions have a great impact, not only on yourself but those around you. You are given the opportunity to help people you’d otherwise never meet and practical experience to carry with you the rest of your life. If you’re serious about setting time aside for missions, I recommend praying and researching YWAM.


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