Last week, the Washington Post offered THIS interested article on the present state of Christian missions (yes, the Washington Post). In particle, the author highlights the growing popularity – and growing criticism – of short-term mission trips. I would love to hear your comments on the article, as I know that many of your have been on short-term mission trips.

– If you’ve been on a short-term mission, how has it influenced your life?

– How did your work effect the long-term ministry going on in that place?

– Are these trips more about “an experience” for the church members or a strategic help for the long-term ministry in that location?

– Are these trips a waste (mismanagement) of God-given resources, or a way of serving and glorifying God around the world?

Leave a comment; I’d love to hear what you think. And I’ll share my thoughts, too.

4 thoughts on “Serving as "Vacationaries"

  1. I am glad they did the article as short term missions has been abused in many ways. I still think they are valuable and have their place if they are mutually helpful. I think they have become so popular that they are planned because it is the thing to do rather than because it is the right thing to do. There are definitely times when it is better to send the money to build 15 houses than to send a team and build one house.

  2. I am glad they did the article as short term missions has been abused in many ways. I still think they are valuable and have their place if they are mutually helpful. I think they have become so popular that they are planned because it is the thing to do rather than because it is the right thing to do. There are definitely times when it is better to send the money to build 15 houses than to send a team and build one house.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Steve. I agree that in today’s church environment, the short term missions (STM) trip is often seen as an obligation rather than a genuine mission. I have seen the good and bad of STM trips.

    The Good:
    – Helping in a specific and relevant area of ministry
    – Providing “man-power”
    – The effect of the experience on those who have never worked with the desperately needy.
    – Many of our long-term missionaries began they journey into full-time ministry because of one of these STM trips.

    The Bad:
    -Financial stewardship (every situation is different, but this can be an issue)
    – Often STM teams demand full-time attention (baby-sitting) and entertainment
    – More generally, there can be an “all-about-me” attitude
    – It takes valuable time and resources to train and provide oversight to people who will be gone in a week
    – Great potential for cultural insensitivity or offense

    Overall, our team is committed to STM teams. God has used these teams to encourage the full-time staff, share the gospel, and advocate for the ministry around the world. Many of our full-time staff came onto the field after a STM experience. I think that Jesus’ great commission (Matt. 28) both justifies STM teams and demands that the church give more attention to the why and how of these trips (rather than taking them out of obligation). Thanks for your reflections.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Steve. I agree that in today’s church environment, the short term missions (STM) trip is often seen as an obligation rather than a genuine mission. I have seen the good and bad of STM trips. The Good:- Helping in a specific and relevant area of ministry- Providing “man-power”- The effect of the experience on those who have never worked with the desperately needy.- Many of our long-term missionaries began they journey into full-time ministry because of one of these STM trips. The Bad: -Financial stewardship (every situation is different, but this can be an issue)- Often STM teams demand full-time attention (baby-sitting) and entertainment- More generally, there can be an “all-about-me” attitude- It takes valuable time and resources to train and provide oversight to people who will be gone in a week- Great potential for cultural insensitivity or offense Overall, our team is committed to STM teams. God has used these teams to encourage the full-time staff, share the gospel, and advocate for the ministry around the world. Many of our full-time staff came onto the field after a STM experience. I think that Jesus’ great commission (Matt. 28) both justifies STM teams and demands that the church give more attention to the why and how of these trips (rather than taking them out of obligation). Thanks for your reflections.

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