Short-term mission. Though less than 60 years old, it’s become incredibly popular… and notoriously controversial. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on these trips each year, but is that justified? Do they produce any fruit? Do they cause more problems than they solve? Are they actually just a Christianised form of ‘voluntourism,’ a way to have a feel-good experience (often at someone else’s expense)?
In this issue of Intermission we’ll look at some of the inherent problems with the way short-term trips are often done. We’ll then offer some ideas about how you can avoid the pitfalls, creating short-term experiences that have lasting value and which are mutually beneficial for those going and those receiving. It’s essentially a reflective commentary on two biblical themes – our call to go (e.g. Matthew 28:19) and our call to embody the ‘for-others attitude’ of Jesus (e.g. Philippians 2:1-11).
We’ve framed this edition to not only be useful for general discussion groups, but also as a resource for NZCMS ‘Encounter Teams.’ Even so, the principles also apply for mission in our own backyards. So, regardless of whether you’re ‘going’ or ‘staying,’ we hope this will spark good conversation and inspire you to action.
Issue 28 of Intermission looks at the ‘Paradox of Short-Term Missions.’ Occasionally we’ll highlight an article by including it in our weekly Interchange newsletter.
Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of the Intermission magazine will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. To signup to receive the Intermission in the post, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Intermission articles can also be found online at nzcms.org.nz/intermission.