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Contents:


  1. A Guide to Short-Term Missions: A Comprehensive Manual for Planning an Effective Mission Trip
  2. Give Online
  3. From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens
  4. The Short Term Missions Handbook
  5. All You Ever Wanted on Short Term Missions - Missio Nexus

This reality hit me again in a book I was asked to endorse not long ago. It offered rich insight on how to effectively advocate for vulnerable children around the world. Significant attention was devoted to the hazards of short-term missions, emphasizing the many ways good intentions can go wrong.

Such visits can displace local workers and dispirit local initiative. They can cause visitors to over-estimate their own capabilities and local residents to under-estimate theirs. When the intended beneficiaries are vulnerable children, the dangers are especially keen — the forming and tearing of critical attachment bonds; the supplanting of primary caregivers; the continuation of unhealthy forms of care for children because they cater to Western visitors. And yet thoughtful visitors can also encourage local leaders and build up local communities for lasting good.

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A Guide to Short-Term Missions: A Comprehensive Manual for Planning an Effective Mission Trip

Send Me! You can order the full workbook, or work through significant issues in the online version. Each step has one or more articles or worksheets developed by a seasoned veteran. Having a small group walk through the workbook prior to a short-term trip will increase the likelihood of a successful venture. Finally, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada provides an eleven-page booklet pdf format with advice ranging from motivation to dealing with objections to instructions on setting a trip up. In response to these needs, and as reported in the September 30, issue of Christianity Today , recently a coalition of US-based organizations developed and posted a list of best practices for short-term missions.

They are not the only ones to have developed such a code, and we have links to parallel standards for three countries: the United Kingdom and the US.

Anyone planning on developing a short-term trip is strongly urged to take careful note of these statements. We encourage those agencies or churches which send out short-term teams on a regular basis to join the list of adopting organizations for your country and thereby strengthen accountability. Instructions to do this can be found on each of the Web sites. To be listed in this section of our MisLinks page, we looked for those sites whose lists were not confined to a single organization. For example, Finishers Short-Term Missions provides a list of dozens of specific short-term agencies.

Their focus is on more mature adults who may be considering missions as a later career choice. You can either search their database or scroll through their list. The fastest database is provided by Mission Network News.

Give Online

At the time of writing, sixteen organizations were listed as participating. There is potential for many more to join. When we clicked on the link to list all opportunities, listings were returned. At this time the lists and databases appear to be underdeveloped, given the fact that there are literally thousands of short-term opportunities and no database has more than a few hundred.

Our list is limited to those organizations that are not directly related to a particular denomination or mission agency.

Get ready for a successful short term mission trip where you make a lasting difference.

The first organization is Adventures In Missions , which offers trips around the world. We find the work sites and work up your accommodations and meals. The National Short-Term Mission Conference has met for fifteen years, and will hold its next meeting January of We are including several resources here. Simply use what is appropriate for your situation. It varies with each church and organization. Some prepare over an entire year, some over several meetings prior to departing. Do not meet at the airport and introduce yourselves! Intentional and well-planned preparation will assure that trip objectives are met, and are done so in a way that encourages everyone involved, without causing hurt and leaving damage behind.

From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens

Set and communicate a meeting schedule. Require participation in team meetings, and be clear about this from the initial recruitment of the team. Meetings typically include team building, spiritual preparation, cross cultural skill building, preparation for ministry lesson plans for teaching, etc gaining context for the place of service, cultural overviews, logistics, prayer, devotions, meals or serving together, and many others.

Find ways to engage team members by assigning different aspect of the team meetings to them. Books and curriculum for preparing short term teams are widely available. Review several before you purchase them, and modify them to meet your needs.

The Short Term Missions Handbook

Some leaders plan an extra day into the trip for in-country debrief and team sharing. Talk about concerns your team members have about re-entry. Plan a team meeting a few weeks after the trip. Give participants ideas of questions that they may want to think through, or even give to those around them to help them share. Ask participants to set up places to share like their Bible study group or their Sunday School class , write articles for the church website, magazines, and other communication, or give an overview of the trip at a Wednesday night gathering.

All You Ever Wanted on Short Term Missions - Missio Nexus

Ask them to report back to your congregation in a worship service or share with the children of your church in their classes, host a night of story sharing, and bring food from the country you visited. Take video during the trip and share it on your church website or blog, write posts to Facebook. Gather people to pray for the group you served. The point is, share the experience with the broader church family.

Focus on stories and experiences, not agendas and facts. Others say two weeks. Perhaps the healthiest answer does not prescribe a length, but encourages the quality with which the trip is carried out. If your goals, objectives and outcomes are clear, you and your host can usually figure out the appropriate length of a trip. Always include ample time for relationship building and debrief of your team. Put yourself in the role of your host…how long would you like a team to stay with you?

Remember, too, that the destination will in part dictate trip length. Getting to Mexico or Haiti from the US takes a lot less time and costs less!