We've all heard the bad news about short-term missions: often the returns do not seem to justify the investment.
But there is good news. There are many things that your church or ministry can do in designing, recruiting/screening, training, and funding its STM trips to increase the benefits and reduce the harm for everyone involved. In fact, a growing number of churches and ministries are pursuing these practices.
Designing the Field Experience
It is important to pay very close attention to the overall design of the trip itself. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure the host organization, i.e., the agency receiving the STM team, understands the nature of poverty and practices the basic principles of poverty alleviation.
- Make sure the host organization and community members have requested a team as part of their plan to improve their ministry and lives. They should have the real option of asking the sending church or organization to do something other than send an STM team. Make sure the host organization and community members are the lead decision makers concerning what the STM team will and will not do.