Many volunteers that we send serve on the field for brief periods of time through ABWE’s short-term sending arm, Launch Point. Here’s a recent interview with executive director Jason Phillips to get to know the nuts and bolts of the ministry.
Q: How did you get involved in short-term missions?
A: I was first introduced to short-term missions when a pastor-friend invited me on a trip. Since then, I’ve lived on an Indian reservation along the US/Mexico border, evangelized in a maximum-security prison in Venezuela, and trekked through villages in the Himalayan mountains, serving as a participant, pastor, and leader on short-term trips. God has transformed my life and allowed me to see the long-term benefit that carefully planned short-term trips can have on the global church.
Q: What is the goal of Launch Point?
A: Launch Point initiates short-term missions trips that produce long-term impacts on ministry and transformational experiences for the participants. Launch Point’s five objectives are: 1) expand ministry for missionaries and ministry partners, 2) transform the lives of trip participants through missions, 3) build deeper relationships with our partnering churches, 4) foster greater relationships and support for our missionaries, and 5) identify potential mid-term and long-term missionaries.
Q: Why are short-term missions still an important, valuable, and crucial part to the Great Commission?
A: Short-term missions trips enable us to serve the global church outside of our own context, stretching us beyond our comfort zone and opening our eyes to God’s glory in different ways. I know many long-term missionaries who understood God’s calling on their lives after participating in a short-term missions trip.
Q: We like to use the phrase, “Maximize short-term trips.” How does it work?
A: Maximizing short-term trips means three things. 1) Amplifying the impact of the trip for long-term ministry and spiritual transformation. 2) Putting others before yourself. When we go on the field prepared to serve the global church, we see things from God’s perspective and experience true surrender to his leadership. 3) Applying the spiritual lessons learned on the field to your everyday life when you return home.
Some short-term trips focus more on the participants and ensuring they have an enjoyable experience, which becomes more “spiritual tourism” than missions. Because of this, short-term trips receive a lot of criticism for being fruitless and wasting time and resources. But the core problem is poor trip planning and execution, not the trip itself.
Q: How can the church get involved?
A: The ministry has already facilitated trips this year as a soft launch. We have other opportunities currently open, and we are already rolling out resources and coming alongside churches and organizations to begin preparing teams to be sent in 2022.
As a ministry of ABWE International, we leverage resources and ministry partnerships built over the last 94 years ministering in over 84 countries to provide long-term opportunities through short-term trips.