The Benefits of Short-Term Mission Trips (and Some Advice)

Over the last thirty-five years, the Lord has given me the opportunity to lead numerous short-term mission teams, both domestically and abroad, and to receive teams where I’ve labored as a church planter. What follows is some of the fruit of what the Lord has taught me about short-term missions: the benefits of short-term teams for those sending and receiving them, as well as some suggestions. These matters are fresh on my mind, as I recently returned from leading a short-term trip overseas and am presently hosting a team to assist our church-planting work in Naples, Florida. Benefits of Short-Term Mission Trips for the Sending Body 1. Short-term mission trips give participants an opportunity to see a larger picture of the church. Many short-term teams visiting other cultures and cities see for the first time that the glorious church of Jesus Christ encompasses people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). 2. Often participants return with a greater “confidence in ... Read more

Intentionally Presbyterian Short-Term Missions

How does the Presbytery of Southern California do short-term foreign mission work in a way that might be helpful for others in the OPC to consider? Over thirty years and some forty teams, I have observed a conscientious effort to do things in a Presbyterian fashion, and along the way we have created a culture of summer service on the mission fields. Most often we, as a presbytery, send pastor-led teams to places where “come over and help us” OPC missionaries are laboring. An Eager OP Missionary Our mission teams began with gusto in 1987, when the first Team Baja was sent to Tijuana, Mexico. The presbytery’s Youth Committee, with the blessing of the presbytery’s Missions Committee, worked with the presbytery’s foreign missionary, Dave Crum, to plan and develop a strategy for having a team of young people each summer. The goal was to work with the Mexican Presbyterian churches, where Mr. Crum was already ministering. So the first important ingredients were the eager OP missionary and the ... Read more

Short-Term Missions at the Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood

How do believers effectively fulfill the Great Commission when average Americans spend their lives chasing entertainment? Why bother witnessing to sinners vacationing on the Jersey Shore, one of today’s most noticeable hot spots of blatant rebellion and youthful corruption? Theologically speaking, where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. More concretely, Jesus still calls his disciples today. He calls us to take up our cross and follow him. Christ calls his church to bring his message of faith and repentance to the whole world, even to those who are the most hardened to truth. This is what our Lord and Savior has called us to do at the Boardwalk Chapel. A History of Faithfulness In the early 1940s, Rev. Leslie Dunn stood on the Wildwood Shore and counted the cost of bringing the gospel of Jesus to the lost souls who traveled from near and far in search of fame and happiness. With the oversight of the Presbytery of New Jersey, a boardwalk property was purchased, the Gospel Pavilion was built, ... Read more

Base Camp: Opportunities for Young People

The Presbytery of Southern California kicked off its youth activities this year in Westminster, California, where its first ever Base Camp was held. Centering on the idea that a base camp is where everyone gathers before heading up to summit experiences, over 150 people from seventeen churches came together for a time of fun, fellowship, and ministry. Starting with a Friday evening photo-scavenger hunt led by Jon Sanchez from Westminster OPC in Westminster, teams were divided up and sent all across town as an icebreaker activity. This was followed by an hour of brainstorming for local and regional youth outreach activities in the future. The next morning, the winners of the photo hunt and the brainstorming were announced. Regional home missionary Dave Crum gave a sermon of encouragement and warning from Matthew 7:13–27: “Two Ways, Two Kinds of Prophets, Two Kinds of Disciples, Two Kinds of Foundations.” David Nakhla, the OPC’s short-term missions coordinator, spoke about the special ... Read more