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Few Americans have gone on short-term missions

The following is an excerpt from a recent study done by the Barna Group, about why, despite their impact, only a minority of church-goers go on them: A century ago, missionaries had to commit to years of service. With the comparative ease and affordability of travel, church and non-profi…
By Seth Barnes
The following is an excerpt from a recent study done by the Barna Group, about why, despite their impact, only a minority of church-goers go on them:

A century ago, missionaries had to commit to
years of service. With the comparative ease and affordability of
travel, church and non-profit leaders now encourage a different form of
congregational engagement: short-term mission trips. These journeys,
typically lasting from a few days to several weeks, allow people to put
their religious beliefs in action by taking people to other countries
or areas of great need to serve the poor or disadvantaged.

A new study from The Barna Group shows that most of the people
who embark on service adventures describe the trips as life-changing.
 
In fact, three-quarters of trip-goers report that the experience
changed their life in some way. Yet the research also shows that few
adults – including a small percentage of Christians – have ever gone on
a short-term service trip…despite the accessibility and personal benefits, most
Americans have never experienced such a short-term service project.
Just 9% of Americans have ever been on one of these brief service
trips, including only 11% of churchgoers.
 

 

I thought that it was fascinating that despite the overwhelming research that missions is a great tool for discipleship, few Americans venture out of their comfort zones. Moreover, young people are showing a greater desire to go on mission and service projects than older generations.
 
What’s up with that? Does any explanation suffice, other than the fact that the longer we stay in one place, the more comfortable we get? I’m challenged to periodically disrupt my comfort (like with this recent trip to SE Asia where I heard awful stories about the sex trafficking industry), so that I don’t grow complacent.
 
Can you relate? How has a mission trip or service project been life-changing for you? What are you doing to stay radical in a comfort-obsessed culture?

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