How Mission Trips Play a Role in Community Development

by Kinsey Tucker, Community Development Coordinator

Have you ever wondered if the work you did on your week-long mission trip made an impact? If the community was actually helped or if harm was done?

At Next Step, we are committed to being a place where short-term missions collide with long-term community development. What we mean by that is we believe that there is a distinct role that short-term mission trips can play in helping a community flourish in a long-term and sustainable way. But sometimes it’s not obvious how your trip contributes.

Here are four ways mission trips play significant role in community development.

Incoming mission teams can provide encouragement and support to individuals who are working year-round in poverty alleviation.

Chances are that in whatever community you served in on your mission trip, there are countless nonprofits and ministries working day in and day out all year. They are pouring in and emptying themselves daily for the people of their community. You have a unique opportunity when serving on a short-term trip to pray with these ministries and encourage them in their efforts.

You can be a part of the larger picture of partners and organizations working together.

As mentioned above, people are working hard all year to serve alongside a community. When you enter in for a short time, you can bring resources and time to work on projects that these organizations may not be able to accomplish with everything else they have going on. Plus, as your group works with many organizations and ministries, you have a chance to be a bridge between them and create resource connections.

When you partner with local ministries, you get to be an extension of them in their community to reach more people than they could without you during the week you are there. You get to be the spark for the people you encounter that connects them back to a rooted ministry/organization for long-term growth!

You can have the chance to learn about the true narrative of a community and share it when you return home.

It’s easy to come into a community with preconceived notions of what people are like and have your own opinions on why things have gotten to the place they are at. What’s unique about a short-term trip is that you will meet and hear from lots of different people in the community who can tell their story so you come away with a clearer picture of the community. This is important because you can speak from a place of knowledge and experience when you go home of what this community truly looks like.

Mission trips can create lifelong justice seekers.

Mission trips provide an opportunity for you to learn about service and loving a community well so that you can take it home to your community. A short-term mission trip experience should never end when you get on the bus and head home. It is just the beginning of understanding poverty and the different facets of communities. Take what you learned on this trip and apply it to your own community year-round. Advocate for those in your community who don’t have a voice. Connect with organizations who want to serve alongside them. Then your mission trip begins to have a multiplying effect and the Kingdom of God is seen all across the earth. Learn more about how to engage in your own community here.

Next Step Ministries