Years, months, weeks, days. Missions fits into all of these time frames. While more than an estimated 4 million people go on short-term trips every year, thousands of traditional missionaries go out to serve long-term, coming back for furloughs to raise support and then return to church planting and Bible translation.
Missions organizations such as GoCorps are taking a new approach by sending people who use marketplace skills to assist long-term teams for two-five years. This new phenomenon is called “mid-term.”
So what exactly are the working definitions for “short-term,” “mid-term,” and “long-term” missions? The Navigators, a missions organization based in the United States, divides it up this way:
Short-term: less than one year, usually general service or evangelizing trips
Mid-term: 1-3 years, often career or skill specific opportunities to help long-term missionaries
Long-term: 3+ years, these are what we could call “career missionaries”
Whatever the time frame, each of these opportunities is part of outward proof of an inner commitment to follow the Lord’s calling to share the Gospel with all nations. Your lifelong commitment to Christ is made visible throughout your different terms of missions service.