Multiplication Center

Short-term Missions and Spiritual Formation

July 21, 2013

Most likely your church has sent one or more teams this summer on short-term mission trips. Mission trips serve as one of the rites of passage for Christians in North America. And what congregation does not want to see the pictures of smiling youth serving in a foreign land? For years our scorecard has been, “How many did we send?”

For many years now there have been a small minority of Christian leaders and researchers who have been challenging the benefits of short-term missions…not just on the receiving end but also for those who go. Alan VerBeek has written extensively on the very limited sustainable benefit for those who go on short-term mission trips.

In view of the 1.5 million North Americans who go on short-term mission trips every year, very little had been done around measurement. But some churches, like Crossroads Church of Cincinnati have been very careful about documenting the effects of cross-cultural discipleship on the people from Crossroads who “go.” Recently the Reachout Staff from Crossroads submitted an article as part of Leadership Network’s Field Study series on their findings. I found their research to be incredibly beneficial in selling the case for short-term missions as part of a holistic discipleship endeavor (their “Five Windows of Spiritual Growth”) for a believer. This article is available on Leadership Networks site HERE. Enjoy! Disfrute!

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