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Responding to critics of short-term missions

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We’re at the high point of the short-term missions summer season. Hundreds of thousands of young people have fanned out around the world to bring hope in the name of Jesus. But they are not without their critics.   The knock against them is not that they’re invalid, but that they’re often…
By Seth Barnes
Are short term missions effective?We’re at the high point of the short-term missions summer season. Hundreds of thousands of young people have fanned out around the world to bring hope in the name of Jesus. But they are not without their critics.
 
The knock against them is not that they’re invalid, but that they’re often done so poorly that they’re a distraction to missionaries and an inefficient use of the church’s resources.
 
A recent article that appeared on CBN was as damning a piece as I’ve seen come out in the Christian media. It states: “One argument in favor of short-term trips is they lead to career
choices in overseas evangelism. However, according to a study by the
American Society of Missiology, that connection is not so clear.
 
“The
study points out that while short-term missions have surged in the last
twenty years, the number of new missionaries has actually declined.”
 
The CBN article also makes the point that missions giving has been declining and that many missionaries have a more difficult time raising support as in the past.
 
Although the organization I run, Adventures In Missions, has sent out over 80,000 short-termers to the field, I am concerned that many churches do a poor job of planning and coordinating their trips.  I have long been a proponent of the 7 Standards of Excellence as a counter to such critiques.
 
If you’re involved in short-term missions, how do you respond to the critics?
 
To see my opinion on the matter, read the following article: The Case for Short Term Missions.

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