Short-term mission trips, along with Vacation Bible School, have become the standard programming for the U.S. church summer season. The NAE recently asked its members if their churches conduct short-term mission trips. The vast majority, 94 percent, do, and nearly 80 percent of the NAE members who filled out the survey have participated in short-term missions. The United States was the top destination for these trips, with Mexico as a close second.

Church_Short-term Mission Trips

Short-term mission trips can help participants connect and partner with other ministries and give them an opportunity to see what God is doing in other parts of the world. Some studies have shown that short-term mission trips increase participants’ financial giving and prayer for missions, as well as the likelihood that they will become career missionaries.

Concern over unintentional negative impacts of outsiders on local ministries and the high cost of short-term mission trips has caused many churches to reevaluate their short-term missions strategy and goals. There is a growing body of resources for pastors and church mission boards to consider so that they can provide helpful, not harmful service opportunities for their congregants.

For Further Reading

“Effective Engagement in Short-term Missions: Doing it Right!” Robert J. Priest, William Carey Library (June 27, 2012)

“Research and Statistics,”,

“Seven Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission,” Hannah Nielson,,

“Should Churches Abandon Travel-Intensive Short-Term Missions in Favor of Local Projects?” Brian M. Howell, David Livermore and Robert J. Priest, Christianity Today (June 25, 2012),

“When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself,” Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Moody Publishers (2009)