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)  

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  1. I saw a few weeks ago in the online bulletin for Grace that Dr. Grigorenko was going to speak on “Challenges and Movement in Missions Today.” I certainly would have liked to have heard his presentation. Thank you for posting a summary of his remarks. Perhaps he will be able to speak again at Grace and give his perspective of positive short-term mission experiences or have a time for questions and answers.

    Obviously, Debbie and I are just getting started here in Peru having completed our formal language studies fairly recently. We don’t know if the Lord will allow us to host short-term teams here, but if so, we certainly want the experiences to be as positive and God-honoring as possible. I would like to hear more of the presentation that Dr. Grigorenko shared, if possible. Since Debbie was going back to the United States, I put on her list of things to bring back to Peru a CD copy of that message. I look forward to hearing this presentation if she is able to get one.

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