Last month I asked readers to select up to three phrases that best describes their opinion of short-term missions’ trips. Of the eight options given, four were positive opinions while four were negative opinions. Every respondent selected two of the positive opinions presented in the survey:
- Exposes Christians from the developed world to a “larger” reality
- Good for mobilizing Christians for prayer
However, none of the respondents indicated that short-term missions “Provide a real help to local ministries”. Furthermore, a quarter of the respondents indicated that short term teams are “a distraction to local ministries that are being served”.
Taken together, the readers’ opinion is that short term teams are primarily beneficial for mobilizing Christians for mission though it may come at the expense of the near term needs of the people being “served” on the missions’ trip. A recent article in the Gospel Coalition unpacks the phenomenon a little bit more: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-a-plane-ticket-makes-a-missionary.