A 30 Day Journey to Healthcare Missions

In September, hosted a virtual event featuring several people from around the world that are involved in healthcare missions. That virtual event was a time to explore the realities of the mission landscape today. That reality is something that we wrote about a couple of months ago on this blog - that long term missionaries are facing some very difficult circumstances with very little relief. The fact is, we need more people to step up and help these long-term servants as they carry on the good work that they have set out to do. The virtual event essentially made the case for short-term trip involvement that promotes sustainability through consistent commitment.

During that virtual event, we also gave attendees the chance to download a 30-Day Journal, exploring our place in short term missions. We want to highlight some of the content from that journal in hopes that you will be inspired to take a 30-day dive into how you could engage short term missions as well.

Principles for Engaging with Short Term Trips

So, we’re going to start with the very basics. What are short term mission trips? Perhaps a great place to start with short-term missions is to look at history. The first missions we see are in the book of Acts and the journeys of Paul and others. These groups go out with a purpose to various regions of the world to share the good news. And how did they do that? Well, that’s where it's so crazy... every instance is different. They take different paths, they stay different lengths of time, they work in some places and not in others, and so on. I believe that this presents a model where the Lord desires for us to respond to the climate and needs of each culture. But what remains consistent is that people went.

In modern history, over the past 100 years, there has been a huge increase in modern short-term missions. This was obviously aided by more modern advancements in travel and technology. In many ways, the North American church has made short-term trips the vast majority of what we consider mission work. Is that good or bad? Thankfully, that’s not for us to tackle here. But what we can tackle are a few principles that do make engaging in short- term missions healthier. Let’s unpack just a few of these.

  • Work with long-term teams-short-term teams (groups or individuals) should always be working with long-term teams to partner in the long-term impact.
  • Regularity of location-greater impact can come when groups and individuals find a rhythm of regular service to the same location.
  • Seen as a step, not an end goal-short-term trips should always be seen as a step in someone’s journey... not the end goal. Even if a short-term trip leads to another, a lifestyle of serving is the end goal.
  • Leave your skills behind-when possible, train up others and leave your professional skills behind. Of course, you can’t quickly train surgery but you can leave other meaningful skills behind with the team and other indigenous leaders.

But What About the Time??

Time might be our greatest commodity today and there’s no way to gain more of it. Thankfully, we serve a God who is the Lord of time and He gives us so much helpful guidance on our use of time... He made time after all! As we focus on short-term engagement in missions, it certainly might feel like there’s just no time to engage. There might not be... but there may also be some ways to leverage your time that you haven’t thought about. Let’s unpack just a few ways you might leverage your time for the Kingdom:

  • Any length of time is worth something – no matter how much time you have to commit and give to engaging in short-term healthcare missions. It's helpful in some way to someone.
  • Combine this with other things you’re already doing – do you have vacation time or sabbatical time? Could you do a clinical rotation overseas? Consider leveraging that time to engage in short-term healthcare mission work. And yes, you can often bring your family along for the great adventure.
  • Stepping stones to going are great – are you just wrestling with the commitment of jumping on a plane and going? That’s okay for a season, but still take advantage of this time to support and engage somehow.
  • Be creative in your approach – think about your schedule and your time and look at things through the creative lens of managing your time. Be prayerful about how the Lord could leverage your time to engage.

There is no doubt we’re all extremely busy. The challenge is to stop to reflect on the time the Lord has given you (it all belongs to Him) and prayerfully consider how you might “make time” to engage in short-term healthcare missions.

To take a deeper dive into the world of short term trips, find more resources and a trip list here:

To download our FREE 30 Day Journal:


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