There have been some fantastic articles @ Desiring God that I would strongly recommend anyone who is involved in missions read (summary is found here). I have developed some strong reservations about what commonly is called “short-term mission trips” and I was rather interested to find many of the same thoughts coming from others. I’ve often wondered if my opinions were based more on subjective experiences than conclusive facts. Perhaps I’m not as crazy as some people think! Well, at least in this area… The following articles have been written at Piper’s site…
- Rethinking Short-Term Missions
- The Effect of Short-Term Missions on Poverty
- We Need Them at Least as Much as They Need Us
- Teaching as a Short-Term Missions Strategy
- The Importance of Doing Missions as Servants
The point of the articles is to challenge our perceptions of what qualifies as a short-term mission trip and what does not. What is effective in the task of missions and what is not? How can local churches share in the work of missions without doing more damage than good? Many short-term mission trips are essentially vacations (e.g., see the picture!). Not all, but certainly more than should be!
If you have done short-term missions, have a heart for missions, are a missionary, or just consider yourself a concerned Christian, I’d encourage you to read each of these short essays. They’re really great discussion starters!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
we r taking our youth group to mexico in a month so this is perfect timing. we want to be a blessing and not a problem. thanx.
u have to read this one – Doing Short-Terms Missions without Doing Long-Term Harm (http://www.chalmers.org/mandate/april_2008/stm.php). reeeaaaalllllyyyy goood.
Great resources, Luke! I finally had a chance to read through each of the items, and have passed several items on. The church I attend is looking at expanding our community outreach programs and the questions the articles pose for STM programs seem to be excellent ones to ask even for local community activities!