6 Principles for Effective Short Term Missions – Matt 10:1-20
Reflection from my reading in Matt 10:1-20 in the One Year Bible New Testament.
We can learn some valuable principles for how to do short-term trips from Jesus’ instructions. These are NOT commands for all Christians but specific instructions from which we can learn principles.
1. Go To A Specific People Group
“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 10:5–6
Jesus told them specifically to go to the Jews, not the Samaritans or Gentiles. We should love everyone we come across but focus on reaching those we are sent to reach!
2. Preach the Kingdom
” And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7
Preaching is still the best way to share the good news! Don’t be afraid to share the good news. Besides, you are only there for a short time so why not be bold?!
3. Meet Practical Needs
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” Matthew 10:8
Generously meet the needs of the area. Pray for the sick to be healed and meet other practical needs of the area. This will draw positive attention to you and open doors for your message.
4. Trust God to Meet Your Needs
“Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.” Matthew 10:9–10
Where God guides, God provides. Don’t let money stop you from going where God called you. Remember, these are specific commands that applied to the 12, but the principle is that we should expect God to provide if we are serving him.
5. Find A Worthy Host
“And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” Matthew 10:11–13
If you find someone willing to host you, stay there! Don’t be too proud to accept hospitality. This will open up relational doors to the network of the host and will establish you as a legitimate person in the community. This summer in Germany, our students stayed with host students, loved it and were able to influence more people that way!
6. Harvest The Ripe
“And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” Matthew 10:14
Move with the movers. And if no one is moving… move on! Don’t pressure people that are not interested in hearing! Move on and find those who are ripe for the good news. One thing that I like to do is to pray that we could find the ripe people to talk to. Imagine a farmer yanking all the fruit off the tree before it’s ripe; that would be silly. As you go, God will bring you some who are ready to hear your message, focus on them!
I love short term trips and hope that more will follow these principles and bring many more to faith in Jesus!