Different churches have established varying criteria for appropriate short-term missions team participants. For example, some churches insist that any short-termers be mature Christians who are equipped to share their faith. Other churches are willing to allow non-Christians as team members, viewing it as part of their pre-Christian discipleship. Churches should set clear criteria for appropriate qualifications for short-term participants.
Questions to consider: who is an appropriate short-termer?
- What is the purpose of the trip? Does the purpose require that one be a Christian or be able to share one’s faith?
- Will the team serve in a security-sensitive place that will require maturity and discretion?
Seeming minimal guidelines for any short-termer would include:
- As healthy a spiritual life as is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the trip.
- Demonstration of a willingness to serve however asked in one’s current context.
- No current angst or upheaval in one’s personal life. C.f., a teenager in current rebellion against her parents will likely rebel against trip leaders.
- Old enough to benefit rather than hinder the team’s daily life and ministry.
- The posture of a learner.
- The skills necessary to carry out the tasks of the team.
Additional guidelines might include:
- Demonstrated interest and participation in local cross-cultural ministry.
- Willingness and/or desire to serve long-term, should God lead.