How to Get Long-Term Impact from Your Short-Term Trips

| December 9, 2014

The world has shrunk remarkably in the space of a few decades, creating new opportunities to engage with the body of Christ and see the work that God is doing through his people. The apostle Paul spent his life sailing around the Mediterranean world visiting churches, sometimes arriving shipwrecked or snake-bitten. Now we can hop on an Airbus and arrive halfway across the world 10 hours later, rarely experiencing anything worse than a bit of turbulence and jetlag. Early believers, or even the missionaries of 150 years ago, could never have dreamt of such an opportunity.

This is a gift. And what we do with it matters.

The rise of short-term missions (STMs) has left church leaders, missionaries, and organizations on both the sending and receiving side of the STM equation asking important questions about trips to low-income communities: how well are we stewarding the billions of dollars invested in STMs each year? What are the potential positive and negative effects of STMs? How can we shepherd participants in meaningful transformation and learning through these trips? How can we ensure our STMs are not harming the materially poor?

When we asked some of these questions in When Helping Hurts:

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