Follow-Up to Don Grigorenko’s Presentation: More on Short Term Mission

Don Grigorenko presented “Challenges and Movement in Missions Today.”  He gave us much to think about, and time constraints kept him from answering many of your questions.  He did not have time to share his perspective on positive short-term mission experiences after his raising questions about much that goes on in the larger short term  context.  I asked him if I could share his material on five characteristics to look for in considering involvement in a short term project.  Below are those characteristics, with some slight commentary on each.

  1.  Missiological Preparation.  Teams need to be prepared well for their visits.  In addition to any actual ministry activity being requested,  there are missiological issues to be discussed.  These would include cultural issues (religious, political, economic, social), understanding the history and context of the work to be visited, instruction in what role is to be played by the short-termer, and other issues necessary to understand what is going to be experienced.

2.  Partnership with local churches.  Be a part of their agenda. Function under their authority.

3.  Short-termers should see themselves trainees. They are not missionaries or even helpers yet.  Come as learners

4.  Connect with the local community. Get to know and possibly live with local church families.

5.  Simplicity in living.  Live as close to the culture being visited as is possible.

Based on Don’s notes,  presentation, and further conversation we had, I would add these to his list:

6. Longer rather than shorter.  Don’s notes that 72% of trips are less than 2 weeks, and very short trips do not allow for an accurate picture of a culture or what life within that culture is like. 

7. Debriefing afterwards.  There is a need to help short-termers be able to discuss what they have experienced, and to know how to interpret what happened.  This is best done by missionaries well familiar with the work.

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm  Comments (1)