by David Armstrong
Some of the requests we get from organizations who want to post their opportunities on ShortTermMissions.com can be challenging! Do we exist to help people meet physical needs, or to share the gospel? The answer is that we are committed to both. We are here to help mission and outreach ministries which not only live out the gospel but also verbalize it.
We declined a request to post opportunities with an inner-city ministry established by Christians but whose website makes no mention of Jesus, God, or sharing the gospel. More difficult was a request from a service nonprofit which is unabashedly Christian on their website and in their service to communities around the world, even Muslim communities. But they send secular service groups as well as church groups. How does a secular group share the gospel?
Helping the poor and needy is very important to us and an outworking of God’s mercy living in us. We are called to that in Ephesians 2:10. But we also firmly believe that man’s deeper need and Jesus’ sacrifice needs to be shared in our words as well as in our actions. M-DAT exists to connect believers with opportunities to share the gospel in both word and deed. To bring people physical hope with our actions without offering to connect them to the source of all hope is to fall short.
These requests to list service opportunities by groups who aren’t committed to sharing the gospel in word as well cause us to reaffirm our commitment and reason for existence. We are a ministry, not an online ad business. We are a mission, committed to a message walking hand-in-hand with our service. Our purpose is to help Christ-centered mission organizations get the word out about their opportunities to both serve and share the gospel in the USA and around the world. Mission trips we post should, directly or indirectly, have an evangelistic or disciple-making component.
We applaud educational groups that provide youth with valuable experience serving others cross-culturally. We appreciate relief and aid groups that help relieve suffering and care for the refugees and neglected. And we honor justice organizations that fight the very real evils of human trafficking and abuse. May these groups and their good works increase! And may the Lord, the healer, the provider and the source of peace, be introduced and glorified in all these efforts.