To say that times have changed is an understatement especially when it pertains to the short-term missions phenomena. I am very excited about some of these changes, yet others leave me a bit conflicted, even wondering if the value of our “one-week trips to Timbuktu in order to paint a school” honestly matches the price tag involved. Don’t worry; I’m not writing to propose we totally scrap international short-term mission projects. I’m simply suggesting that if we’re going to do them, we need to do them well. In this article, I hope to clarify some practical ways that we can effectively and faithfully live out the missional calling that Christ has given us.
A Morphing Missions Model
Over the past twenty years, my husband and I have led more than twenty international mission projects, and we have noticed some gradual changes taking place. First of all, the opportunity to go has grown exponentially. As many as four million Americans take short-term missions trips out of the country annually, and short-term missions have outpaced long-term missions both in personnel and budget.