This may not be a term you are used to (pun intended).
You know what it means for someone to go to the mission field "long-term" and hopefully you've been on (or certainly at least heard of) "short-term mission trips." But what is this "mid-term" thing?
This past Sunday we stood in front of you and commissioned out 21 college students for a summer of mid-term mission, ranging from 6 weeks in Boston to 10 weeks in South Asia. A few were left off the list (by mistake) and a few more were left off the stage (because they are already gone) but what a beautiful sight!
Yes, but once again...why are they doing that? What is mid-term mission?
Categorically we define "mid-term" as anything longer than 2 weeks and shorter than 2 years. But categories aren't really that important.
More important is the purpose. Short-term trips are important and, when done correctly, are an integral part of our long-term mission strategy as a church and the strategy of our partners overseas. But the reality is, there is only so much one can do in a short-term trip, and only so much one can learn and experience in 2 weeks or less.
We send people mid-term for 2 main reasons:
- To make a longer, deeper investment in our long-term partners. Students giving 6 weeks in Boston can truly make a long-term impact on church-planting work through NAMB in that city. One of our students spending 10 weeks in South Asia can build relationships, make connections, and serve strategically alongside the long-term workers she is partnering with, in ways that are just impossible in shorter amounts of time.
- To give those going a true taste of life on mission in a different context. Most of these mid-termers are asking big questions right now, like "where should I live after college" or "Is God calling me overseas long-term?" and all of them are asking "What does it look like for me to do what I'm good at for the glory of God, somewhere strategic on the mission of God?" Spending a summer in Southeast Asia, for example, means that you get past the romanticized view of mission and truly see what it's like to live life day to day somewhere completely foreign. In many cases, these students will see what it's like to learn language, learn culture, and to share the gospel with people who have never heard. We want our people to be doing, asking and learning these things as they live their lives openhanded before God, willing to go anywhere and do anything for the sake of His glory among all peoples.
So, for you guys here with me in Watkinsville and Athens this summer:
- Join me in praying for these mid-term goers that we commissioned out this past Sunday. I hope you kept your Sunday Paper, and if not, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a list of names. Pray specifically that these students would:
Gain clarity and confidence from God on how He would have them live strategically on His mission
Be a help and encouragement to the long-term workers they partner with
- Be asking God these same questions as you live life here. Never assume that where He has you is where He will always keep you. A regular prayer of mine is, "Lord, everything is yours and everything is on the table. My life, my family, my comfort, my city, my home, my plans, my future, my resources...all of it is yours. We will go where you ask us and do what you ask us. We are listening." I invite you to pray something like this to, on a regular basis, with open mind and open hands.
- Begin thinking and praying now about the possibility of YOU going mid-term (or short-term) next year.