What's Our Why? Missions

Missions & North Anderson Baptist

The importance of being engaged in missions work in a local church

What comes to mind when you hear “mission trip”? For some, the term brings to mind an experience they had as a student in youth group. They loaded up in a van or maybe hopped on a plane, went to some urban location or third world poverty-stricken area, and worked by helping with a day camp or building project. For some, unfortunately, missions brings to mind 19th century colonialism in which European powers used missionaries as advance scouts in order to claim territories and exploit them for resources. At North Anderson Baptist Church, we speak often about missions and encourage our members to take part in short-term mission trips as well as support and become involved in long-term missions.[1] Realizing that many things come to mind when people hear about missions, we feel it is important to examine what we mean by mission trips and why we so strongly promote missionary work to our members. First, we will begin with what the biblical precent is for missions.
   [1] Short-term missions is typically defined as a time period of a few days up to a year. Long-term missions is typically defined as a time period of over a year.

Biblical Precedent for Missions

Believing that the Bible is the perfect, inspired, inerrant Word of God, it is of utmost importance that we consider what it has to say about missions. While the Bible does not include the word “missionary,” the concept of being sent on a mission from and for God is throughout Scripture. Missions is something very near and dear to God’s own heart, demonstrated in His sending of His own Son on a mission trip to save those who would believe in Him (John 3:16-17). God does not end missions though with sending His Son, but also sending those who follow Jesus. Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17 records that, as the Son is sent so are His followers (John 17:18). The scope of the mission is given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). The gospel is to be proclaimed to every people group. This commission is blueprinted in Acts 1:8 when Jesus tells His followers “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Missions is nothing more or nothing less than Holy Spirit empowered witnessing in local, regional, and global contexts. Romans 10:13-15 demonstrates the necessity of being sent on mission. Paul quotes Joel 2:32, stating “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” However, Paul continues, in order to call on the name of the Lord requires that people hear about Him and how will they hear unless one is sent? Biblically speaking, we must be ready and willing to follow God’s command to missions.

Benefits of Short-Term Missions Trips

Once we understand the biblical precedent for missions, we then must consider our own calling to be on mission with and for God. While every believer is called to be a witness to those around them, at North Anderson Baptist Church, we feel it is beneficial for members of the local church to experience how God works in other contexts. As for short-term missions, there are several benefits for people to be engaged with mission work on a short-term basis. The first benefit is sharing the gospel. People are naturally curious. I have experienced that people are interested in learning about the beliefs and worldview of somebody from another culture when traveling. That gives an excellent segue into gospel conversations. However, it is important to note that the short-term missionary should have done their homework before the trip by learning as much as possible about the local culture and customs in order to be able to share the gospel more effectively. Short-term mission trips also encourage churches and believers to share ministry resources. One church may have limited people available, financial ability, or supplies but when churches partner together for mission work, these precious resources are strategically shared and vital mission work accomplished. An added benefit of short-term mission trips is that it offers encouragement to local ministry partners as teams come in to engage in the work, build long-term relationships with local believers, and partner with them in prayer. Short-term mission trips, besides seeking to accomplish Kingdom work in another context, are valuable for the spiritual formation of the short-term missionary. Traveling outside of one’s hometown to see how other people live can stretch one outside their own comfort zone as well as increase their global perspective. It also develops a burden for lostness around the world. For those sensing a call to ministry, short-term mission trips can help to clarify that call and give young servant leaders ministry experience in a wide range of contexts. Even as one who has been in youth ministry for ten years, short-term mission trips have opened my eyes to the need for calling out the called, equipping them, and sending them into a world that desperately needs to hear the gospel.

Benefits of Long-Term Missions

If short-term mission trips offer so many benefits and advance the work of the gospel so well, what about long-term missions? Long-term missionaries have an advantage over short-term missionaries in that they are able to have a deeper impact in the community because of cultural awareness (i.e. local language, customs, etc.). As someone who lives in that community, they are aware of barriers to the gospel and how to cross those barriers in order to share the gospel more effectively. Another benefit is the increased ability to focus more intently on gospel transformation in community (less time spent on travel back-and-forth so the missionary becomes imbedded in the community). The long-term missionary is then able to more closely observe the needs in the community in order to best steward the God-given resources for mission work. A short-term missionary with no ties to the local community may be able to make some small impact, but with the guidance of a long-term missionary, short-term mission work’s effectiveness exponentially increases.

Maybe you know that God has not called you into long-term missionary service in a different context than the one you are in now. However, as a member of a local church, we have the responsibility to affirm God’s call on the life of missionaries, partner with them in prayer, and support them as the Lord has blessed us.


Because Scripture demonstrates God’s heart for people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to turn from sin and worship Him (Revelation 6:9-10), as a church we strive to engage in short-term and long-term mission opportunities to share the gospel. Be on the look out for ways to be involved by volunteering your own time, resources, and prayers as North Anderson Baptist Church goes On Mission in Anderson and Beyond.
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