Prepare Your Spirit

Bible Studies

  • Letting Go - Luke 9:1-9: When Jesus called the 12 disciples to short-term ministry in Luke 9:1-9, he was careful to load them up with items of ultimate importance and relieved them of those things that would only weigh them down. As you read this passage, ask Jesus to give you what you need for the journey and to help you leave behind things that will only get in the way.
  • Transformation to Serve - Luke 9:10-17: God has been preparing you in various ways to serve in short-term missions. Luke 9:10-17 is an example of how God did this with the disciples for their own short-term mission. As you read this passage, think back upon the various ways Jesus may have been preparing you for what's ahead.
  • The Struggle of Association - Luke 9:18-27: There are so many moments when our association with Jesus is unpopular. In Luke 9:18-27, Jesus is trying to prepare his disciples for the life of unpopularity that awaits them. As you think about following Jesus on mission, consider the parts of your mission trip that are popular and the parts that are unpopular.
  • The Full Picture - Luke 9:28-45: In Luke 9: 28-45, we get a better understanding of who Jesus is, helping us carry out his missions even better. His authority to forgive sins and his unequaled power to give orders to powers of darkness dumbfounded his disciples. Ask the Father to give you a more complete understanding of Jesus the Messiah as you read the next passage in Luke.
  • Greatness of God - Luke 9:46-62: In Luke 9:46-62, the disciples were beginning to get famous, just by their association with Jesus. It's really too bad that God has such a radically different definition of greatness. Mother Teresa said, "Don't seek to do great things, seek to do small things with great love." Ask God to use this study to thrust one more spear in the heart of our desire for human-defined greatness. There is no other way we can follow him into the hard places.
  • Lambs Among Wolves - Luke 10:1-16: "I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves." Those are the words Jesus spoke to his disciples directly before their short-term mission in Luke 10:1-16. On your short-term trip, you may be sent as a lamb into wolf-infested places. Reflect on some of the fears you have as you follow your master out of the familiar and into the unknown.

Blogs and Websites

  • As You Approach A New Culture: Listening, learning, and asking questions will help you understand the people in a different culture so you can build authentic relationships with them. Find helpful questions to reflect on as you enter a new culture.
  • 11 Basic Cross-Cultural Skills You Need: Find tips and examples for engaging a new culture.
  • Go Together, Go Naked, Go Deeply, Go With Joy: When we read about Jesus sending the 72, we love the evangelistic fervor. We love the intentionality of being sent to every town and place. We love the inspirational call, the Go! Yet there is more here than just the activity of mission. There are important principles around how we do mission. Learn how to go as Jesus sends the 72.
  • Operation World: Operation World is widely regarded as the definitive volume of prayer information about the world. Find ways to pray for hundreds of different countries around the world. Search by country or region, or use the daily prayer calendar.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students: The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, or IFES, is an organization of Christian student movements in over 150 countries. InterVarsity is a part of the IFES, and your Global Program may partner with a local IFES movement. Find ways to pray and learn about the needs of different countries on the IFES website.
  • Gifts Latinos Bring to God's Mission: Latinos have an important place in God’s great plan of shalom! God wants—and even needs—to use you and your story in his global mission.


10 Books on Missions Everyone Should Read

Top picks from the Urbana blog.

  1. Pray for the World: Pray for the World is a shortened book format of Operation World's prayer resources.
  2. Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens: Going on a short-term missions trip can be a life- and faith-transforming experience. It can enrich the way you view the world. It will cause you to rely on God more fully. A short-term missions experience can also involve weeks of physical and spiritual distress. Tim Dearborn gives practical ways to prepare for a mission trip, including cross-cultural principles, spiritual warfare, and Bible studies.
  3. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence: Short-term mission trips are a great way to impact the kingdom. Yet they can lack effectiveness because of mistakes or naiveté on the part of participants. David Livermore calls us to serve with our eyes open to global and cultural realities so we can become more effective cross-cultural ministers.
  4. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself: Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. This book encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy. This book focuses on both North American and Majority World contexts. For a version specific to short-term missions, see Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions.


Brenda Salter-McNeil - Urbana 06 from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

God on a Mission from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

"Packing Light" - Urbana 03 from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

  1. Brenda Salter McNeil at Urbana 06: Using the text of Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel, Brenda Salter McNeil shows God’s desire for diversity in the human family, and how it challenges us to leave our “homogeneous comfort zones to be a part of a multicultural, multiethnic, multi-lingual, multinational family of God.”
  2. God on a Mission, Urbana '12: What is the mission of God and how can you be apart of it? 
  3. Packing Light: What do we need when we go on mission? This humorous skit from Urbana 03 shines light on our assumptions about our ability to prepare and consider every contingency, and how it can interrupt our capacity to meet God as we go.
  4. Taco Bell, Saving Souls and the Korean Jesus: Many of us go on mission with the idea that we will help God to transform and change others. But what if God’s work is primarily to transform and change us? In the context of a secular storytelling forum, Andy Kim shares his short-term mission experience and how God showed him how he was the true mission field.