Short Term Mission Trips

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by USN2Pulpit, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    A quick question for discussion: given our mandate to "make disciples," how effective are short-term mission trips?

    In my opinion, they can be very effective, but it would be important to work with someone who either lives in the location or is willing to stay so that not only people come to the Lord, but they would be taught about the faith.

    I have been on both types - where it was purely an evangelistic effort (good intentions) but no provision had been made for the future with the people that responded to the gospel message. I often wonder what happened to those people.

    In other cases, we worked closely with a local fellowship, and I have been able to keep up with the growth of some of the new converts, even though I'm a considerable distance away.
     
  2. annsni

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    We absolutely go and work with local ministries and support them to do the work of the ministry in that location. We will equip them, support them financially and with materials that they might need (from power tools to books to teaching supplies to medical supplies). We do not go into a place on our own and try to reach the locals because there is no long term "making disciples" in that.
     
  3. Crabtownboy

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    I do not know how effective they are. I do know that sometimes they cause the local church and leaders problems. When I was working in Moscow, Russia in 2007 a Russian Baptist minister said that his church had just about recovered from the problems a group had caused in his church. He said they insisted on solving problems that they, the Russian church, did not have and this caused problems. I have not been particularly impressed by the groups I saw come through Prague the last 8 years. The most effective ones were those who worked on construction projects and in painting buildings.

    I liked Ann's last comment on not trying to "reach locals as there are no long term "making disciples" in that". This is wise.
     
    #3 Crabtownboy, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2013
  4. annsni

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    This is the exact issue that we have seen and our missions pastor has been clear to go in and not bring an agenda but to ask the church "What can we help you with?"

    Our missions pastor now is actually running a new mission organization and here's what he had written on his experiences:

    http://tinyurl.com/lwak4vq
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Sorry but don't get that whole statement...locals where? Please advise
     
  6. annsni

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    The locals in the place that a mission team is traveling to. So for instance, a team decides they are going to the Congo to put on a VBS - but children would not be able to attend a VBS because they cannot get there without shoes. But the team still comes to try to put on the VBS - instead of asking what the need is and finding out shoes is the need. But had they asked what a need was and then brought over 200 pairs of shoes, they would have a better ability to minister to those in the country they are going to - and then they can do a smaller program when the kids get the shoes - based on shoes. :)
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

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    Yes, this is the thing to do...if prior communication is very difficult, the mission team must be flexible and help in the way that the local body is able to sustain after they leave.

    Last time I went to El Salvador, I placed myself wholly at the disposal of the local baptist church we were partnering with. It was a great experience.
     
  8. Tom Bryant

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    I think you have to look at short term missions as both a ministry among church members and to the missionaries already there.

    It's not a mission strategy for reaching the world. That requires boots on the ground missionaries who serve in the locale full time over the long haul.
     
  9. USN2Pulpit

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    Agreed. However, does Paul's short time in Athens qualify as a "short-term mission?"

    :laugh:
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    or thessalonica? :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. Crabtownboy

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    Paul was not very successful in Athens ... in other places, yes, but not in Athens.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    I guess it would depend on how you define success. For the people that heard about Jesus and responded, it was very successful.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Some wise comments so far. Kudos to those who have posted so far.

    I think short term mission trips can be very effective or very disruptive. I would ask the following questions before okaying a short term trip to my field:

    1. What is your purpose in visiting the mission field? (Vacation, tourism any other non-service answers are unacceptable.)
    2. Are you willing to follow the missionaries' leadership?
    3. Are you willing to submit to the missionaries' judgment regarding culture, language, methodology and perceived needs?
    4. Are you willing to serve and not be served?
     
    #13 John of Japan, Jul 20, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2013
  14. Tom Bryant

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    Glad a missionary jumped in on this! Good stuff!
     
  15. SaggyWoman

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    Having been on a number myself, this is what I have come to grips with:

    1. For the person who goes on the trips, it can be life-changing.

    2. Depending on the task expected, it can be beneficial for the ministry receiving the attention.

    3. I had come to a realization that many times the impact I personally want to make requires more of an investment than a short term project makes. It may require a year or longer...or life time investment.

    4. Sometimes, the trips can cause more problems than the help they give. Sometimes not.
     
  16. Servent

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    I have been on many short term trips, Never plan, always expect change, When I go I go to work for the local church and try to do all I can to support them.
     
  17. Crabtownboy

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    Tom, I agree with your comment. I may be mistaken, but I do not believe that anyone responded to the message in Athens.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    "Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them" (Acts 17:34).
     
  19. webdog

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    To be honest, I think many if not most are nothing but glorified sight seeing vacations from my experience. Send a team of 10 people to assist an out of state vbs for a few hours, paint a couple of porches, and then check out the local scenery. I always wondered why a week wasn't chosen, a team assembled, funds in place, and then pray about where God would lead when the time came...or have a team that is able to leave on short notice when something happens.
     
  20. Tom Bryant

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    That may be able to happen with local or state wide trips. It also happens with Disaster Relief teams. But if a team of people are going outside of the USA, there is plenty of lead time that is necessary to purchase tickets and accomodations.

    I am not certain how you came up with "most" being glorified sight seeing, but the trips I have taken have not been that at all. Certainly there was a day given to see local attractions, but in my experience of taking 8-10 mission trips in the last 10 years has been that we hit the ground running. We flew into Zimbabwe expecting to have a day to get over the jet lag, but as soon as we arrived where we were staying after 20 hours of travel, we starting working in schools and then preaching at night in revivals.

    Admittedly I have only my experience, maybe yours has been different.
     

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