A Brief Plea for More Short-Term Missionaries to Serve in America

While some in Christendom may think that the need to preach the Gospel is no longer as pressing as it was in days past, there are still some very dark places in the world where there is no strong Christian presence. Believe it or not, there are even places where wickedness is openly promoted and practiced with little to no Christian presence to speak truth in the midst of the darkness. One such dark place in the world is currently in great need of short-term missionaries to stand in the midst of wickedness and proclaim the lordship of Christ. I am not asking you to sell your house and move, I am only asking you to consider serving for a short-time in this particularly dark nation.

Why We Need More Short-Term Missionaries

The words spoken by Jesus when he sent out the seventy-two still apply today: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). Why are there so few short-term missionaries laboring in America? One reason may be that the persecution professing Christians would face if they publicly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our nation would be so severe that they simply are unwilling to serve as short-term missionaries.  Another reason could be that the poverty and hardships that most Christians face in America are too much and simply do not allow them to devote any time to a short-term missions trip. Whatever the reason, in this nation, even those who claim to be Christians seem not to be engaged in furthering the Great Commission. Eventually, America may need foreign missionaries to transverse the globe to bring the gospel. However, perhaps there is still time for short-term missionaries to do the work.

Just because a certain people group has access to the Bible (via the Internet, etc.) does not mean those people are engaged with the Gospel. God has ordained the proclamation of his Word as the means by which sinners are saved. As such, there is a need for men to serve as short-term missionaries who are willing to preach the Gospel to lost people here. For some reason, it is often the case that lost people don’t go to a Gospel-preaching church, so sometimes short-term missionaries are required to actually share the Gospel with them. This can be done via preaching outdoors among the lost:

The great benefit of open-air preaching is that we get so many new comers to hear the gospel who otherwise would never hear it. The gospel command is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), but it is so little obeyed that one would imagine that it ran thus, “Go into your own place of worship and preach the gospel to the few creatures who will come inside.” “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23)—albeit it constitutes part of a parable—is worthy to be taken very literally, and in so doing its meaning will be best carried out. We ought actually to go into the streets and lanes and highways, for there are lurkers in the hedges, tramps on the highway, streetwalkers, and lane-haunters, whom we shall never reach unless we pursue them into their own domains. (C.H. Spurgeon)

As crazy as it may sound, this old preacher has a point. The Gospel must be preached if people are to hear it. There may be some places in the world where the church has matured to the point that her members are fulfilling this role, but until then we still need short-term missionaries here in America.

The Sacrifice of Being a Short-Term Missionary

I won’t pull any punches here. It is a sacrifice to be a short-term missionary in America. But the bottom line is that there are places here where there are simply no Christians available to preach the Gospel to the lost and speak out against evil and idolatry. Being a short-term missionary may mean that the larger “Christian” community looks at you askew, categorizing you as one of those religious zealots and fanatics. Therefore, you may want to spend some time thinking about how others will look at you before you decide to serve (Proverbs 29:25 may help you think through this).

Serving is a big sacrifice and may mean saying “no” to other things during the time you are in the field. For example, your slot to serve may fall on the day your favorite sports team is playing a big game. Furthermore, the travel expenses must also be taken into consideration. For example, I had to pay for my own gas when I traveled over 2.3 miles (and that doesn’t include the trip back) to serve for three hours on a short-term missions trip. Every expense adds up, but there may be fundraising options available.

How to Become a Short-Term Missionary

Despite all the obstacles, some people still choose to serve as short-term missionaries in America. If you are called to serve on a short-term missions trip, please visit this website and put in your zip code to find the nearest short-term missions opportunity. There are even opportunities to serve for as little as a couple hours each week. Other sites (click here and here) will help you prepare for your trip. If you have any questions or need encouragement to serve, please visit Reformed Hope’s Facebook page and send us a message!


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