Several years ago Pastor Dan Ackerman made a statement that really struck me. He said that today short term missions is what Catechism instruction was: our basic method of discipleship. Short term mission trips went from being an oddity, to an add-on, to something integral to the process of raising our young people as Christians. My own church has the pattern of doing a week long mission trip with the high school group every other year. Many others make it an annual event. There is certainly great potential in such trips for discipleship. How do we make the most of them? How do we avoid common mistakes, which can reinforce a paternalistic and ethno-centric view of mission instead of revising it?
There are a lot of resources available now. Of course, the time to make use of them remains in short supply. However, if we are going to invest thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in these events, it makes great sense to invest some time in learning how to do them with greater effectiveness.
There are a number of great books on the topic. One of them is Serving with Eyes Wide Open by Dr. David Livermore. David was a practioner of short term missions long before he became a speaker and writer on the topic. He is passionate about both the possibilities and the pitfalls. Click here to see a review of his book and ordering instructions.
For those living near Grand Rapids, Michigan, you have a special opportunity to hear and interact with David at the conference NEXT! Global Outreach for a New Generation, which is taking place on Saturday, October 30. You can sign up for this at www.crwm.org/next. The discounted rate of $30 lasts until this Friday. It then goes up to $35.