Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Short-Term Missions

What do you think of the classic "short-term missions trip"? You know the ones: get a team together and do a VBS for a week...or build a house...or do outreach concerts. It's generally 2-weeks of chaos, excitement, and morning devotions.

I heard it said once that a short term trip should focus on the encouragement of the long-term missionaries and church staff. It should be a way to build up the believers that will still be there after the team leaves. Short-term trips should leave the body of believers feeling encouraged and built-up, not run-down, exhausted, and left with loads of mess to clean up after they say goodbye to you.

I read this article and wanted to share it. As I don't want it to be a public tar-and-feathering of Short Term Missions (because that's not its intention), I thought I would post it here and see what you all thought?

Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short Term Mission Trips (this is just one article in a series you can find through clicking on the link)

Don't worry, the title is meant to have shock value. To give you my summary on the article: the author shares why our idea of short-term trip is doing more harm than good. There is a place for short-term missions in the church, but it might not be what we think it is. Helping better someones life, bring about long-term relief, and a higher standard of living takes a lot longer than two weeks, a bag of new clothes, and free child-care.

The quote that stood out to me was:
We want to get things done quickly. We prefer microwave ministry to the slow cooker. Ministry that can be done quickly is not messy and does not cost much.

I have seen short-term ministry done very well...and very poorly. And that's just in the book of Acts! (Compare the simplicity of Acts 11:19-26 to the vastly different Acts 14:8-18). I'd like to know your thoughts, too. Remember, this is a discussion, there are no wrong answers when said out of love. =)