Short-term mission trips and experiences get a lot of bad rap these days, and perhaps rightfully so. Many of these short-term trips are done without proper training for the team and without preparation that will provide the best experience for all of the participants as well as for the hosts. Thus, the bad rap continues! However, there are steps that can be taken to make the experiences fully worthy of time, money, effort, and resources.
There is a common secular acronym used in regards to setting goals. This acronym is known as SMART. At least two different versions for the significance of each letter of the acronym can be found by a quick google search. Here is how these may be labeled:
Everyone can understand why goals must be set, why they must be SMART, and how this applies to all aspects of life. Why not set goals for mission trips too?! Give value to the experience!
The following resource has been designed to be used as a guide to set short-term mission trip or short-term mission experience goals, and it includes some questions to use in thinking about preparation and expectations. This resource would best accompany another training program, and it makes a good final culmination to a pre-trip or pre-experience preparation season. A debriefing worksheet is also included that would make a good follow up to the short-term experience.
Resources have been partially adapted from resources provided by Envision in Colorado Springs, CO and taken from here: https://envisioncanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Participant-Manual-2018.pdf as well as from conference seminar material provided by Ron Burdock of North Park Community Church Ontario, Canada.