Do Short-term Missions Change Anyone?

Or do one week's good intentions fall flat without a concerted effort to follow through?

Yesterday Kurt Ver Beek and Robert Priest discussed whether it was good to spend more money on short-term missions than on long term missionaries. One justification was that participants in short-term missions gave more money and prayed more for missions after going on a missions trip. But research shows otherwise. Today they discuss other ways such trips fail to change participants or recipients and how to fix that.

Kurt Ver Beek, assistant professor of sociology and third-world development at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently published the a study which questioned whether short-term missionaries and those served by such missionaries experienced long-term life changes from such missions. We summarized that study and asked Ver Beek to discuss his work further with Robert Priest, associate professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. At the end of the discussion, Ver Beek and Priest will take readers' questions, which may be submitted via e-mail.

Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Questions

Dear Kurt,

As I've said, I like your research. But, like any research, it has limitations. House construction in response to hurricane damage represents only one sort of short-term missions (STM) activity. House construction teams may differ from English instruction teams in the nature of the relationships with locals which develop. Those who respond to an ongoing catastrophe (such as HIV in South Africa) might have different levels of sustained commitment than those responding to a temporary crisis (such as Hurricane Mitch). Not only are there different sorts of STM, there are different ways in which people are prepared and guided in carrying out STM ...

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Do Short-term Missions Change Anyone?
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