• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
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    Director, Facilities/Finance
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    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Why Short-term Missions

The answer to this question depends on whether you want to remain as you are, or be forever different.  Back in the early 90’s, a semi-retired missionary became a part of my church.  He regularly traveled to Russia to supervise a team of missionaries there.  One day, I had the audacity to ask if I could join him on his next trip.  He happily said yes, and I have not been the same since.

What happened on that trip?  There were too many things to mention in this short piece, but I’ll give you a few of the most impactful.  First, Russia was so different from any place I had ever been. The language was so foreign that I could not even pronounce the letters in their alphabet.  It was a country that possessed rich natural beauty contrasted with a very broken society.  Life was hard there, much more than what I had ever known.

Second, though life was hard, new life was growing.  I preached at the worship service of a new church plant.  That service lasted for about two and a half hours, had two sermons, poetry, and songs that musically I recognized.  These believers were worshipping the same God, dependent on the same Bible, and trusting the same Savior that I was, but also worshipping in different forms than what I commonly practiced.  It was a remarkable experience.  My vision of the Christ’s church grew exponentially that day.

Thirdly, I saw cities with half a million people that had fewer than a dozen evangelical churches, and many of those churches were badly dysfunctional.  In this spiritually dark place, the options for people to hear the Gospel were terribly few.  At that time, I lived in a small county in south Georgia with a population of about 35,000 that had over 65 churches.  And I was planting a new church.  I had access to endless resources and support, while these Russian pastors knew so little of the Gospel they were attempting to proclaim and were fighting battles for which I had no boxes.  After this experience I had a hard time justifying the course I had set for my life.

Maybe the biggest impact came from the fact that I was totally out of control.  I was traveling through a very “foreign” country with a traveling companion who was naively fearless, taking me places that neither of us knew anything about.  My itinerary continued to change from day to day.  I traveled with one carry-on bag with the essentials for almost three weeks.  I could not leave the building where I stayed in fear of getting forever lost, because I could not pronounce even the street name, and all the buildings looked exactly alike.  But I lived to tell about it.  I saw the Spirit work in my fearful heart showing me He was more than enough.  Even there in Russia, God was at work.

I did little actual ministry, but the Spirit did much in me.  On that trip, a barb got under my skin that would not come out.  My heart was hooked with the fresh first-hand knowledge of these dear people, because I was willing to venture out into and experience the unknown and witness the work of God.  My heart ached to see the Gospel come to this needy place. 
This is what can happen on a short-term trip.  So, be careful.  If you go, you might not ever be the same.