Preparing for your Short Term assignment is very important. There are practical details such as having all the necessary vaccinations, getting hold of the appropriate equipment, and being able to shut all the zips once you have packed everything!
There are also more intangible aspects such as taking time to say goodbye to family and friends, making sure you have a number of people committed to praying for you while you are away, and preparing yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. These notes are designed to help with this last point.
Why not, right now, pray that the Lord will teach you and lead you as you prepare to go out and serve Him overseas? This booklet is divided into three main sections, each with four parts. This is not a huge ‘tome’, so take your time to read and ruminate, and put aside the inclination to skim through! Please note all Scripture references are from the New International Version.
My prayer for you is that you will have a fantastic Short Term experience and that you will grow in your relationship with God and in your understanding of world mission.
In this first main section we are going to look at the subject of Attitudes.
Before we consider the Basis of Mission, and certainly before we explore several Cultural Issues, we need to lay a foundation on which to build these other topics.
As we go through, you need to be asking: What do I think about this? What do I feel about this?
Your attitudes are crucial, so it is worth spending time reflecting on these matters.
Four Foundational Facets
In this first part, we will consider four foundational facets: the Holy Spirit, prayer, God’s love and God’s Word. My aim is not to outline every shade and shadow of each point, but to make some observations with regard to your short-term mission trip. If you are thinking this all seems very basic, you should know that many short term workers have gone overseas expecting their relationship with the Lord to take off and fly – after all, they were going out on a mission from God! However, they arrived in an unfamiliar culture with a language they couldn’t speak, and encountered many opinions and behaviours they found to be bizarre. As a result, some of them took their eyes off Jesus and their relationship with God crash landed. Without a recognition of the importance of these spiritual elements, and without a commitment to pray and read God’s Word, your relationship with the Lord might also dip and dive erratically.
You must go in the power of the Holy Spirit and minister with His wisdom and equipping (1 Corinthians 2:4-5; Ephesians 1:17). You will be involved in a spiritual ministry, even if you are going out to build a school or help with a sports project. Why? Because everything in life is spiritual! It is imperative that you are filled with, and open to, the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; John 14:17). The Bible tells us that the Spirit testifies about the Son (John 15:26; 1 John 5:6), so without His work and intervention our witness is wasted. You are going as a minister of Christ proclaiming His message of life and truth. However, it is the work of the Spirit to convict people of sin and bring them to the point of commitment to Jesus (John 16:8; Titus 3:5-6).
Why? Because everything in life is spiritual!