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Short-term missions done poorly

I’m headed home from Florida, will meet my board at the airport in Atlanta for our semi-annual meeting. It’s going to be a low-key, quick meeting. The AIM board is great – the members give selflessly of themselves to further our vision of discipleship through missions.In an earlier blog, I com…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I’m headed home from Florida, will meet my board at the airport in Atlanta for our semi-annual meeting. It’s going to be a low-key, quick meeting. The AIM board is great – the members give selflessly of themselves to further our vision of discipleship through missions.

In an
earlier blog
, I commented on the worst short-term mission trip idea I’d
heard of – a
missions cruise
.

But as you look at the world of
short-term missions, there are so many different teams and ministries to choose
from.

Last month, our team in Mississippi
ran into a mission team from Chicago.
They were a group of transvestites.
Here’s a picture of them to the right.

I haven’t
figured out who they were with or what they were doing, or even what to say
about such a group. Hey, at least
they’re not watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

An easier mission team to comment
on was a friend’s church group that does a mission trip in Nicaragua. They stay in a nice hotel in Managua, won’t
allow their people to touch orphans for fear of getting a disease, and hire
armed guards to go with them. I mean, this
in the safest country in Central America – why even bother going?!

Although there is an organization whose purpose is to
advance excellence in short-term missions (called SOE), I’d like to see it have
the teeth to help police the multitude of teams that are taking shortcuts in
the way they do mission projects.

Comments (3)

  • Wow… there certainly are all types (of everything) out there, aren’t there? Glad that SOE exists, and with time, I trust that they will have some authority. Just like in professional credentialing and licensing, it doesn’t take long for professionals and consumers alike to see the wisdom of such a regulating body. Certainly, AIM does its part by setting a solid standardand often that is the most important thing in this culture :-). Keep up the good work!
    -Diana

  • I’ve recently noticed that a lot of college ministries have also organized weekend trips to games or -short-term mission trips, but expect students to pay more than $150 to stay in a hotel, eat at a nice restaurant, and maybe do some actual kind of labor or outreach. Why can’t we be more conscious and reach out to brothers and sisters and stay in homes or church buildings to save money and encourage fellowship with family in all cities wherever we go? Why not pitch in to get sandwhiches and then choose to share 1/2 our meals with people on the streets, throw them a banquet to say, “We came all this way to see you and let you know that you are loved and visible to us.” I sure hope my generation would grow up and out of these short-term missions done poorly.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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