This really opened my eyes a lot more to the need to screen applicants more prayerfully and efficiantly. We are currently praying and pursuing taking some students from our youth group to Africa next summer so this came at perfect timing! Also, God willing, if I do wind up being out in full time missions someday, I want to remember to encourage the upcoming generations! Thanks Seth!
Missionaries forgetting where they came from
Over and over again I watch the very missionaries I’ve
mobilized through a short-term experience tell me, “It’s too much work. I don’t want to host any more teams.” Hosting a short-term-mission (STM) team
is a lot of work for missionaries.
It often requires that they interrupt their
regular ministry in order to act as servants.
And they often have to cater to Americans who are obnoxious and
self-centered and should have been screened out – people who have no business
on the mission field.
Yes, too many STMers are a nuisance, but missionaries who
only air their frustration about them without seeing their purpose are no less
short-sighted. It’s amazing how quickly
they forget where they came from. A STM
project is two parts recruitment tool and one part training program. Talk to almost any missionary on the field
and they’ll tell you that’s how they got their start in missions.
Missionaries who get frustrated with STM teams are like high
school teachers who get frustrated with the noise generated by a nearby
kindergarten. They’re like the senior
citizens lobbying for higher taxes on wage earners.
If we want to be at all strategic about missions, we have to
take seriously the job of raising up the next generation of missionaries. Yes we want to disciple locals to take over
the work we started. But what about the
next mission field; who will go there?
The world desperately needs more missionaries. So, what is our plan for 2015?
The smart farmer is always paying close attention to his
seed corn. The weather this year may not
be good and the harvest may be suffering.
But if he is to have any hope next year, he’ll carefully steward that
investment in the future.
It’s true that many of our short-termers don’t belong on the
field. Far too many churches don’t
adequately screen or prepare their teams.
And their presence on the mission field is a net negative. They spend $1000 a participant to do VBS and
a bit of construction with a bunch of spoiled Americans with attitudes.
The answer to that problem is better screening and
preparation, not a moratorium on STMs. I
want to ask all missionaries reading this, what are you doing to replace
yourself? How are you raising up future
that’s good insight dad, like it. love you.
I believe that those on short term trips ARE often the mission field. God is doing as much work in these ‘nuisances’ as he is through the long termer where they are. it is all a long strange trip, huh?
short term missions totally changed me, and I hope in my life they continue to change me…because there is a lot of work to do in me that wont get done in a pew or in sunday school or a cell group
Love it, Bro! We love the STM’s here in Swazi.. they keep us on our toes, stir stuff up we need to think about, bring innocence and faith that is lacking when your on the front-lines all the time… like the point you made; it’s like anything else – find the positive and turn it to make the Kingdom greater!!!