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It's a relatively common sight at the airport: the conclusion of a short-term mission trip. A dozen suburban teenagers wearing matching yellow T-shirts talk about two weeks of manual labor at an orphanage and share iPhone photos of their trip ...

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Displaying 1–6 of 6 comments

Dave B.

February 16, 2013  12:51am

Excellent article. What is more than ridiculous is to think that almost everyday you have "Short term misson" trips going to places like Jamaica and Costa Rica - places where there are several churches in each square mile, whereas there are millions in Asia and other places who have NEVER, EVER heard the name of Jesus Christ! Indeed, many of these short term mission projects are nothing short of mere tourism experiences. As "missio dei" is what it is all about! So... churches, mission boards, parents, etc. should be prayerful and wise about where, what, when and how "short term missions" operate.

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Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  9:48pm

Laura, the churches I am acquainted with send short time missions people into situations where they pray for the sick (sometime desperately ill), such as Randy Clark's trips to Brazil or Bethel Church's trips to Mozambique. Young people are shocked to discover that God can work through them, heal the sick and bring people to salvation. The deaf are healed, crippled people walk and the blind are healed, people are delivered from demons and many are saved. This is the Deacon Philip's paradigm. He was nothing more than a waiter at a Jewish home for the elderly who was driven out of Jerusalem by the persecution. With no experience and no theological training he turned Samaria upside down. That kind of activity will revolutionize a young person's life.

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Laura Stammberger

February 07, 2013  9:29pm

I think that so many first time cross-cultural evangelists, especially students, are not yet fully equipped to be effective. Their first step is to go to the country with a servant's heart, learn from the church and missionaries already long established, and learn to appreciate the multi-faceted beauty the Lord has gifted that nation. Presenting the short-term missions trips as learning opportunities might make the goals of these trips more realistic and more satisfying to the participants.

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Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  7:20pm

I am not accusing Brian of that kind of I thinking, he is simply saying that is a growing movement within the evangelical church, which I think is deplorable. The mere fact that global Christianity is more of a reality should even provide impetus for evangelism, since a rudimentary base of understanding has been established. The fields are white unto harvest but instead of harvesting, we are doing good deeds and mistaking it as evangelism, as fulfilling the great commission.

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Jeff Haanen

February 07, 2013  6:35pm

Hi Rick, Thanks for your thoughtful engagement - evangelism should certainly be primary in mission. However, I believe Brian was trying to say that other people have redefined the narrative of short term missions from one of evangelism to more a pilgrimage. I'm not so sure he would say that's a good thing. That is simply what has developed as a justification for the trips, especially in a world where global Christianity is more of a reality than it was 50 years ago.

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Rick Dalbey

February 07, 2013  4:57pm

I remember Evangelism. I remember Missionaries. I remember preaching the Gospel. It is so like the devil to redefine all three activities. You don't have to stop evangelism, just redefine it. Encourage missionary activity, as long by it we mean those that seek to change social or material conditions. Teach that yesterday's missionaries represented cultural imperialism as many Emergent churches do. This statement is deplorable; "We've traditionally thought of missions as evangelism, but now we're thinking about missions more as serving, caring, and giving. We're going to do something. But what we find when we take these trips is that you actually receive more than you give; you will be changed more than you will change anyone else." It is narcissistic and an enemy of the great commission. Anyone can dig wells, only the church can serve living water.

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