Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ouch!

This is a pretty searing indictment of short-term mission trips,Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short-Term Mission Trips , Here is the intro....
I have seen with my own eyes or know of houses in Latin America that have been painted 20 times by 20 different short-term teams; fake orphanages in Uganda erected to get Westerners to give money; internet centers in India whose primary purpose is to ask Westerners for money; children in African countries purposefully mutilated by their parents so they would solicit sympathy while they beg; a New England-style church built by a Western team in Cameroon that is never used except when the team comes to visit; and slums filled with big-screen TVs and cell phone towers.

I have seen or know of teams of grandmothers who go to African countries and hold baby orphans for a week every year but don't send a dime to help them otherwise; teams who build houses that never get used; teams that bring the best vacation Bible school material for evangelism when the national church can never bring people back to church unless they have the expensive Western material; teams that lead evangelistic crusades claiming commitments to Christ topping 5,000 every year in the same location with the same people attending.

Not sure what I think about this, there are some legitimate points but he is short on alternatives. Apparently there is another post with some ways to make these trips more effective. Curious to read that, I share some of the concerns he has but I also cannot discount the transformational impact of these sorts of trips.

Give it a read and let me know what you think. Have you been on a short-term mission trip and if so do you agree? 

2 comments:

Bethany in mid-MO said...

Do you read Christianity Today? The most recent issue had an article about the effectiveness of short-term trips. Then, the article was followed by people of varying opinions. I found there was a lot to consider from each perspective. And, I thought about you when I read the articles - because of your trip(s?) to Haiti.
One of the conclusions that I appreciated within those views was that - if the trip does not widen your interest in helping the area long term then it was a waste of time and money. But, if your interest and awareness of another culture was improved, and you want to help them (to help themselves) then GREAT!

I personally like the idea of using money to hire local laborers to dig a well, build a house, etc... But, I will not say that short-term trips are entirely useless! I think it depends on motive, leadership, and much more.

(This is written by someone who has been on many short-term trips... and someone who has unfortunately neglected missions in my own neighborhood.)

Bethany

Marshall said...

so much in the name of God has been accomplished without Him, and to the detriment of other peoples.
The 1st century church knew how best to respond to needs as they were led to do so by the Holy Spirit.