Can Short-Term Ministry Have a Long-Term Impact? [September Prayer Focus]

short-term ministry
As we celebrate 50 years of short-term ministry at TEAM, please ask God to provide more short-term workers for a long-term impact.

Eight years ago, TEAM missionaries in Tokyo leased the site for what would become the SonRise Cafe. The vision was to create a missional coffee shop, where people could feel welcome — and get to hear the Gospel.

But the only structure that stood there was a concrete shell.

They needed pretty much everything, from floors and ceilings to kitchen cabinets. How would they get it all done? Their time was eaten up by other ministries. And then there was the matter of funds. It was impossible for them to accomplish on their own.

That’s when five men from the U.S. and Australia agreed to come for two weeks. They tirelessly volunteered their time and money to the project. And that laid foundations for a long-term ministry that is still running strong today.

SonRise Cafe has birthed a church, an orphanage ministry, a university outreach and a music ministry. Countless people have come to know Christ — all because of one small short-term team and their supporters.

This September, TEAM is celebrating 50 years of short-term missions trips just like this one. And we pray that God will let us send many more short-termers to the field. Will you pray with us for short-term ministries across the globe? Pray that their hard work will impact generations to come.

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1. Pray for good training for short-term missionaries.

No matter how short a missionary’s trip, cultural and ministry preparation is vital for a successful mission. Receiving good preparation for their time abroad helps short-term missionaries feel more relaxed and ready to focus on the tasks ahead.

Some missions agencies have pre-departure training programs. For example, TEAM’s short-term training covers issues like culture stress, relationship building, spiritual warfare, safety, security and many others. However, less formal trips may require missionaries to craft their own preparation plan.

Ask God to guide those who train short-term missionaries so they can give good instruction. Pray that missionaries without training will still find helpful resources. And pray that short-term workers’ hearts will be humble and ready to receive training.

2. Pray for supporters for short-term missionaries.

short-term ministry

Whether it’s leading VBS, roofing houses or teaching English, short-term trips are made possible through generous supporters like you!

Supporters equip short-termers to fulfill many needs a long-term missionary can’t meet alone.

Some short-termers create brochures or short films that long-term missionaries can use in fundraising.

Some short-termers host vacation Bible schools or other special events that ultimately assist the long-termers in evangelism and outreach.

Some short-termers teach a specialized subject or course to the locals for a season.

But without the financial and prayerful backing of supporters at home, short-term ministries would not be possible.

Pray that potential supporters will see the value of these short-term missionaries’ efforts. Pray also that short-termers will reach their ministry goals in the limited amount of time they have in the area.

3. Pray that communities will be touched by short-term missionaries.

When successful, short-term ministry has the potential to open doors to whole communities of people. One short-term worker who served in Mexico as an English teacher recently influenced an entire school.

“She was so good at what she did that she opened doors for us,” said Steve Dresselhaus, a long-term missionary with TEAM. “We are now good friends with the school, and we have a new short-termer … on the way down in September to work at the school.”

Pray for the people short-term missionaries minister to. Pray that they will see God’s love through short-term missionaries’ actions. And pray that they will embrace Him.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! Click here to get a print-out of this month’s Prayer Focus requests and praise reports.

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TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission

TEAM partners with the Global Church in sending disciples who make disciples and establish missional reproducing churches to the glory of God.


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  • Is there any opportunity to be part of this ministry as a short-term missionary for those who are residing in Japan?
    Where is the cafe currently?

    • Hello, thank you for interest in TEAM’s work! You can learn more about how to serve with TEAM at or you can contact a missions coach to talk about next steps at Hope this helps!

  • i want to be part of this organisation having been called into the ministry of an evangelist/missionary. i hope to be coached and given further enlightenment on missionary work and activities, May the lord strengthen the members of this organisation in Jesus name. Amen

    • Hello! Thank you for your interest in TEAM’s work. The best place to start would to download this e-book that will help determine if you’re ready for missions:

      While TEAM has hundreds of missions opportunities around the world (, you should know that TEAM does not have any current opportunities for those who are not a citizen of the United States or Canada, due to labor laws/government restrictions.

      On behalf of TEAM, we hope you are understanding of this policy and hope that you still pursue how the Lord wants to work through you in missions work. God bless!

  • I have such a strong desire to serve in African mission work, especially Nigeria. I am an artist (18 year Military, Combat Illustrator), now widowed, disabled, but fiercely independent. I feel I could make a difference & serve humanity & especially children. I am far from wealthy but have my US Social Security annuity. I would have a military pension too & a VA office is trying to help me in that respect. I would need only room/food & could pay. All too often the dreams of children are dashed by indifference, poverty, bigotry…I would & have surrendered my spirit to God and strive to serve mankind, as directed by Holy Spirit…”feed my sheep”, I obey…I was also a Psychological Warfare artist, working in & for Special Operations, Military Intel, Signal/crypto communications, my entire career (Airborne too) ; always adventuresome, I am not one to sit back in relative comfort waiting to die. Is there a place for an old special ops soldier on your team ?

    • Hello Martha! I’m so grateful to hear that God has placed a desire in your heart to serve Him through missions work! The best place to start would be to check out TEAM’s current open opportunities at You’ll be able to search for by country/region, type of ministry, etc.

      After that, I’d highly suggest contacting a missions coach at They are there to answer any questions you have about missions and help discern your calling and next steps.

      May God bless you as you seek guidance for your future ministry!

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