Scope of Short Term Missions Forum

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  • #1534


    We’ll post information, principles, resources, data, critique (and some defense), of STM here.  Hopefully, we’ll have more light than heat!


  • #1549

    “Some missionaries are also concerned about the amount of resources used by STM that would otherwise go to longer-term church planting or development efforts. Short-term trips, lasting two weeks or less, drew about 1.6 million Americans to foreign mission fields last year, according to a survey by Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist at Princeton University (MacDonald 2006). The median cost of a participant’s STM trip abroad is somewhere between $1000 and $1500 (Priest and Priest 2008). This would mean that a whopping $1.6-2.4 billion are spent on STM trips from the United States yearly. Ver Beek’s (2006) study found that the average cost of a home built by STM teams was $30,000, while a home of the same quality built by local Christian Honduran organizations cost only $2000. Such figures give us pause and require us to consider the stewardship of such endeavors. … Another concern is the amateurism of volunteers on STM teams. The criticism is warranted to the degree that it is provoked by the immaturity of participants or their lack of preparation for the task. … These diverse perspectives, taken together, encourage us to channel this lay-volunteer movement toward greater long-term effectiveness. More is not necessarily better. STM ministries should be seen as supplemental rather than a substitute for traditional church-planting missions. The consensus seems to be that partnerships using STM teams are beneficial if they contribute to long-term goals already in place. … Better selection, orientation, and training are all needed. Costs need to be carefully examined and managed.”

    Ott / Wilson, Global Church Planting, 2011, p. 384-5.

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