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Should short-termers benefit from their mission experience?

Outtakes from yesterday’s interview Question: To the critics of short-term mission trips, what do you say to those who are concerned that these are mostly for the benefit of missionaries rather than the recipients of the ministry? Answer: I’d say they’re absolutely right and t…
By Seth Barnes

Outtakes from yesterday’s interview

Question: To the critics of short-term mission trips, what
do you say to those who are concerned that these are mostly for the benefit of
missionaries rather than the recipients of the ministry?

Answer: I’d say they’re absolutely right and that’s how
Jesus intended it to be when he sent people out to minister in his name.  In
Matthew 10 where he sent them out two by two, they had all kinds of
incredible experiences. And that’s the sort of impact we find can happen when
people go out with dependence on the Lord.

It’s part of his discipleship process. He sent out his
disciples and they learned far more by doing it themselves than by sitting back
in the pews and absorbing it. The reason that the world looks at Christians as
hypocrites is that we don’t implement what we’re learning. Is it a good
investment to go get training for three or four years in a seminary and never
implement that stuff? I’d rather invest that money in learning as you go. Not to disparage seminary education. As individuals going on short-term
mission trips, we need to recognize this is a part of our discipling experience
and hopefully we’ll be challenged to go further in our walk with the Lord when
we come home and be more responsive in our own community and be a better
disciple.

Question: What does every trip
have? What are some of the core elements?

Answer: We’re looking for whatever will optimize the
spiritual growth of the individuals that are going. We’ve found that what makes
the biggest difference is interacting with people relationally on the field.
And so we look for different kinds of ministries that enable us to do that. In
many of our venues, we’re able to get in conversation with those who are local.
And we do that through vacation Bible school, or in some overseas venues,
door-to-door visitation. In New
Orleans, it would be just in the process of rebuilding
a home. Often times we’ll do some sort of construction, but we’ll do that as a
means to an end in order to earn the right to talk with them…

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