Friday, December 03, 2010


By Seth Barnes, President and Founder of Adventures in Missions

Here are six ways that a short-term mission trip can change your life:

1. Change your worldview

We in America are notoriously provincial. We think our way is the only way, simply because we've never experienced any other ways. STMs expose us to new ways of doing life and to those who, though different, don't seem so strange.

2. Reveal your narcissism

We sing "It's All About You," but we live "it's all about me." Our little worlds need a dramatic overhaul that can only come as the pettiness of our concerns is juxtaposed with the needs of others.

3. Teach you how to minister

Most American Christians know precious little about how to listen to the heart of a hurting person and how to pray for them. Most of us need more experience. When Jesus talks about "loving one another," he's talking about ministering to the places where we hurt.

4. Reveal your materialism

Do you really need all the toys that cram your closets and garages? Do you need to shop as much as you do? It's a problem in the west. To reach our destinies, we need more simplicity, not stuff.

5. Connect you to your maker

How often in life do we find our world spinning so fast that we can no longer hear ourselves think, much less God whisper our name? We need to get off the merry-go-round of life and engage with God's priorities more often than we do.

6. Grow your faith

Good STMs will throw you into the deep end, forcing you to the end of your comfort zone and resources, to a place where you're forced to depend on God in new ways. This dependence is the posture God is waiting for in order to grow our faith.

Living in the west can be toxic to your faith. If your world is feeling claustrophobic and your faith is stagnating, chances are you need the kind of life-changing experience that Jesus gave his disciples when he began activating them on the first recorded STM experiences (read Luke 9 & 10). They came back with stories about how this power that they'd seen in Jesus had become their own and they were ecstatic. Maybe that's what he wants for you too.

To learn more about the short-term mission agency I work with, check out: