10 Reasons Every Church Should Send Their Pastor on a Mission Trip

By Chuck Lawless 

Let me get to the bottom line: I believe every church ought to send their pastor on at least one international mission trip, including paying his way (and his spouse’s way). Here’s why: 

  1. The Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) is for all churches, and pastors most influence the direction of the church. I have never found a strong Great Commission, missions-minded church without a pastor who sets that agenda. Send your pastor overseas on a short-term trip, and your church will likely turn its heart toward the world.
  2. The church is responsible for calling out and sending out missionaries. Churches who take this responsibility seriously are led by pastors who take it seriously. They’re willing to send their church’s best to the nations. 
  3. Many pastors will struggle to go unless the church helps cover the costs. Sure, they can raise funds on their own, but the wise congregation will be willing to make this investment in their pastor. The dollars spent will be few compared to the benefits gained.
  4. Pastors will experience the heart of God on the mission field. That’s not to say they can’t do that in North America, of course. Something often happens, though, when pastors see nations and people groups with the eyes of God. Seldom do pastors return the same.
  5. The nations need the training that pastors offer. All around the world are believers and church leaders who are longing for biblical and practical training. Your pastor can help provide that training.
  6. Pastors model faith and courage by taking a trip. We will not win the world to Jesus with only pastors doing the work; we must have laypersons ready and willing to go both short-term and long-term. Pastors set the example for their congregation when they go. 
  7. They will have a greater global perspective. The world is much, much bigger than North America – and leaders who exposit, illustrate, and apply God’s Word every Sunday need a global vision. 
  8. They will likely be more cross-culturally evangelistic when they return. The nations of the world now live among us. Send your pastor on an international trip, and he will be more aware of internationals living in your community.
  9. The church will pray more for missionaries. That’s what happens when church leaders spend time with Christian workers on the front lines.
  10. The Lord calls pastors to become full-time missionaries. I don’t know many congregations who hope their pastor is called to missions, but the strongest Great Commission churches are open to this possibility. Often, the pastor’s calling begins with a short-term trip – and the church later rejoices at God’s calling.   

Pastors, what else would you add? 

Posted on January 29, 2020

Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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  • Doing missions around the world expanded my limited scope of the body of Christ theologically. It brought down barriers once back home in my own context with fellow brothers and sisters of a different bent. God is bigger than our nearsightedness. Dr. José Fernández jr.

  • Rev. Dr. Allen Cherry says on

    I has been on Mission trips to Zambia Africa and Peru and the Spirit of God was very much enjoyed there.

  • Robert Wright says on

    All of God’s children have been called and gifted. Called in the sense that God has a purpose for them in His Kingdom, Gifted in the sense that God has given the necessary gift or gifts in order to do the assigned task or tasks.

    Thus it is important that clergy and laity be sent on local, national, and global mission trips
    The local Body of Christ will uphold them in their thoughts and prayers.

  • The Cincinnati Area Baptist Association took up an offering last Fall from the churches and part of that is to provide up to a $500 grant for pastors going on a mission trip. Associations can assist their pastors address lostness anywhere God leads in the world and typically they’ll bring back that zeal to mobilize those who will address their own community.

  • Billy Dowdy-pastor Magnolia BC Laurel, MS says on

    I was afraid to go on my first mission trip overseas…and not for the reasons you might expect. I was afraid that the mission trip costs would cut into our mission giving and our regular church budget giving. boy was I wrong! When we became personally involved with me as the pastor and other church members participating and experiencing first hand the mission trip experience, our mission giving and mission offering giving and our church budget giving went up instead of down. I have lost tract of how many times God has sent me overseas and across the USA. Some I have funded and some the churches have funded, but of course God was behind them all.

  • This is similar to many of the reasons, but the church global has so much to teach those of us who live in North America. A pastor that goes abroad to learn, is a pastor that receives incredible worth out of his trip and is better postured to teach the nations as well.

  • Wesley Holland says on

    Most importantly, it makes the pastor eager to send others. Also, it helps anyone to become a humble learner. When you’re on a mission field, you cease to be the expert. It will supply him with sermon illustrations for years to come, ahem. It helps the pastor become more comfortable sending money to missionaries and other similar endeavors instead of hoarding it for the home turf.

  • At 75 I take an international trip every year or every other year. Sometimes church members help with expenses, and there is an account that can help with finances should I come up short. I enlist a few members to go Central or South America with International Commission. I paid for most of my 2019 trip by selling some things.
    I also do a domestic mission trip each summer. we go to areas where there is a great need, often the church will have 15 or less attendees. We do a VBS and our men do a lot of repair work: roof, sheet rock, building steps, etc. We normally take from 35 to 60 people.

  • I totally agree that the church should send a pastor on a mission trip with all expenses paid by the church. However, I believe, too, that a pastor (and other staff) should go on at least one mission trip without everything being covered. I wonder if some pastors understand the sacrifice that members are making to go on an international mission trip (using vacation time, expenses, etc.).

    • speaking as a lay person, I agree all pastors should go on an out of the country mission trip. I also believe anyone wanting to be a voting member in a church should also go on a mission trip. Everyone needs to contribute financially to their mission trip, but hopefully a church can reserve money to help all committed attenders a chance to take such a trip.
      There was a push here to pay all the expenses for pastors, thank you John for reminding everyone that lay people also need help sometimes. Some may use vacation time, some need to go w/o any paid leave.

    • Chuck Lawless says on

      Fair point, Charles. Thanks.

  • Spot on! We are a new church plant (just over 1 year old) and did one international, and several “Jerusalem, Judea” trips in our first year. More are scheduled during this, our 2nd year.

    It has helped to establish the priorities of the church that we have planted and develop a heart for soul-winning among our members.

    We are talking about sending your pastor round-trip : )

  • Rev Margaret D London says on

    My dad was a pastor went on mission trip all the time and every time he returned everything inside and outside went to another level and so did the congregation go up a couple levels in God. I recommend it and members too.

  • Joe Pastor says on

    Amen to all of these thoughts! I’m 59 years old, a senior pastor, and I’m about to go on my 49th mission trip–a majority of which have been international mission trips. In every cases, the churches I have served have been excited for me to go, to take a team from our church, and they have always paid my expenses. Not only will a pastor’s life and heart be changed in the process, but if a team from your church goes, their hearts will also be changed! Disciple-making is an emphasis for me, and one of the greatest disciple-making experiences is the learning laboratory of a mission trip–especially if we’re talking about a mission trip with an emphasis on personal evangelism. So yes! Send your pastor on mission trips–and go with him! For the Kingdom and for your own spiritual growth–go!

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