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Pastoral 2017

Advice for Those on Short-Term Missions


Republishing “Things that Wreck Short-Term Missions”
(Bible Witness, Volume 6, Issue 1)

Our self-conceited attitude, unreasonable expectations and hypocrisy can disrupt or even ruin the short-term missions organised by our churches or fellowship groups. To maximise your contribution to the missionary, mission church and the mission team, avoid doing the things mentioned below:

  1. Negligence of personal daily devotion.
    Some have neglected their time of prayer and meditation of God’s Word because they have to pursue a busy schedule. It is totally inadequate just to rely on group devotions and the preaching of the Word during the mission activities...
  2. Unwillingness to do any menial work.
    To make a mission trip successful, everyone in the team has to be always ready to take up any task or challenge. It is totally absurd to refuse to do any menial work, saying that during the missionary trip your only duty is to win souls. It is totally false to think that doing menial works like dataentry, loading trucks, cooking, etc. will distract you from your primary task of winning souls. Not everyone is called to be preachers. For example, younger Christians in the team, who are not equipped to preach and teach, can contribute by helping in the physical aspects of the ministries.
  3. Picking on the missionaries and their mistakes.
    Do not jump to conclusions quickly when you notice something that appears to be wrong. Be patient and careful not to make unjust and erroneous judgment.
  4. Disagreeing, criticising or murmuring against your team leaders.
    Normally, leaders of mission trips are Christians who are experienced and matured men. They make decisions based on their best knowledge and judgment. It will be far better to prayerfully cooperate with the leaders in whatever way you can than being a dissident in the mission team. If you complain and murmur, it will affect the unity and effectiveness of the team.
  5. Dealing harshly with team members who make a mistake.
    Unkind remarks and discourteous behaviour can lead to much grief and problems during mission trips. Be gracious and affectionate one to another.
  6. Being too suspicious or being too trusting of everyone you meet during the trip.
    It is wrong to think that everyone in poor countries is out to get something from you. Also, it is dangerous to think that everyone who appears to be friendly is safe to trust. The best is to follow the instructions given by the team leaders and local leaders.
  7. Refusing the local food, which might not have been cooked well to your taste!Be kind and generous towards one another.
  8. Keeping your distance from team members who could not raise their full support.
  9. Getting involved romantically with someone, or getting into a quarrel with your friend.
    Though there is nothing wrong in getting to know someone closer, you must not lose the focus of the nature and purpose of the mission trip. Also, avoid getting into petty quarrels with your friend.
  10. Scolding your home church upon your return from the mission field for their lack of commitment, for their weak prayers, or for their inadequate giving to missions.
    One or two mission trips do not prove that you have become the perfect Christian. Instead, encourage the home church by your example in supporting the missions, since you have witnessed the needs and struggles of missions.




Pastoral Exhortation