The wise local church has clearly considered short-term missions’ potential benefits and shortcomings. If it sends short-termers, it does so likely for the following reasons:
- Short-term missions is part of a larger process of discipling its people as “world Christians.”
- Short-term missions is a strategy for raising up long-term missionaries, and others who will mobilize and send them well.
- Short–term missions directly serves the church’s long-term missions strategy, and its long-term workers’ field strategies.
- Short-term missions allows people who will not serve long-term, to bless the nations with their skills and gifts.
Poor reasons for a local church to engage in short-term missions include the following:
- Exclusively accomplishing its missions ministry through short-term missions.
- Reactively channeling money to short-termer workers who request it.
- Seeking to engage in trendy ministry.
- Accomplishing humanitarian work with little or no proclamation of the Gospel.
We would strongly encourage the purpose and design of a Short Term Missions trip to create a win-win-win situation: win – the participants are well trained and discipled; win – the hosts on the field are blessed and encouraged, not simply used and exhausted; win – the recipients of the STM ministry gain some value-added ministry result that probably would not have occurred without the STM ministry.
See agreed-upon criteria for excellent short-term trips at http://www.soe.org/.
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