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What does an excellent mission project look like?

Yesterday’s blog dealt with the faddishness that is undermining the credibility of many STMs. The point of the discussion is not, “stop doing them;” the point is, “they should be part of every discipler’s tool bag if you make sure to do them right.” So what criteria would you apply to try and …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Yesterday’s blog dealt with the faddishness that is undermining the credibility of many STMs. The point of the discussion is not, “stop doing them;” the point is, “they should be part of every discipler’s tool bag if you make sure to do them right.”

So what criteria would you apply to try and organize an excellent project? Here are eight that we at AIM use to ensure excellence in the projects we sponsor.

 

1. Partnership: Short-term missions usually should be based upon a partnership between host churches and sending churches. Church partnerships should be brokered by a third party and should usually last no longer than three years lest dependency set in. Sending church and host church teams must be educated concerning the dynamics of true partnership.

2. Safety: Appropriate safety precautions are taken. To the extent possible, known risks are disclosed to participants.

3. Screening: Short-term missionaries must be screened to match their mission.

4. Preparation: Sending church teams must undergo thorough and mission-appropriate preparation.

5. Setup must be thorough and expectations clarified.

6. Leadership: Sending church leadership must be trained and experienced.

7. Field follow up: Evangelism planning should incorporate a thorough follow-up plan which has been formulated in conjunction with host church partners. New disciples are integrated into the local church.

8. Sending church follow up: Sending church teams execute a plan for cementing life change.

Also, check out: “Are Short Term Missions Becoming Faddish?

Comments (2)

  • Beth Claassen Thrush

    I wanted to add a couple other points to the list. I´m not sure how to encapsulate it this in a bullet point, but the dynamic of “sending church”/”host church” needs to be broken down. The hosting churches need to also be sending, and the sending churches need to also be receiving. When we as North Americans assume that a calling to short term mission (or any kind of mission) is only something for us, we are involving ourselves in dangerous ethnocentrism.

    I am working with volunteers here in Nicaragua, and we have committed to giving equal opportunity in ministry and service to North Americans and Latin Americans (ie, if we received a North American group, they either partner with Nicaraguans to go to another location and/or help to sponsor a group of Nicaraguans serving somewhere else).

  • The more time I spend overseas, the more I see how the role of the expatriate missionary should be about equipping the locals to minister to their own country. We should disciple and set up local pastors and churches to go the places we cannot, to reach the people we dont have the ability to, and to provide whatever they need to minister effectively to one another. Often this may be a team that does exactly what AIM teams do, but our motive and intent is important in this so that we don’t go thinking that the minstry is about us or our team, it is first and foremost about the Kingdom and appropriately attributing all Praise to the Father, and after that, assisting however needed, the local believers to do the first objective.

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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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