This book is by far the best and comprehensive book on the subject of short-term missions: how to train people for short-term missions, and how to conduct and serve through short-term missions effectively. We can be effective life-long missionaries without becoming long-term missionaries. This book really opened my eyes, and cleared my doubts about the goals, methods, and effectiveness of short-term missions. At least one copy of this book must be bought and read in detail by every church that is interested in missions. And how can a Church be a Church if there is no interest in missions?
This book written by Roger Peterson, Gordon Aeschliman and R. Wayne Sneed, masters of missions training, contains 12 chapters, dealing with all the aspects of short-term missions.
Consider the titles given to the chapters:
- God's Fools
- Defining 'Mission'
- Defining 'Short-Term Mission'
- Applying Our Definition
- The Process Trilogy (Pre-field, On-field, Post-field)
- The Participant Trilogy (Senders, Goer-Guests, Host Receivers)
- The Reciprocity of Give 'n Take
- Short-Term Mission vs. Cross-Cultural Trips
- The MISTM-Grid (Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission)
- A Biblical and theological Basis
- A Contemporary Historical Review
- A Post-Script Perspective
"Available data solidly confirm the number of short-termer goer-guests are rapidly increasing. Therefore, the church, parachurch, and its missiologists of all Christian persuasions must honestly assess, "Is this growth of God ... or is it of man?" those involved int he present-day mission enterprise need not fear such a question, for if the short-term mission 'undetrtaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, (it) will not be able to (be stopped. Those opposing the plan) mught even be found opposing God!'" (p. 197)
"If short-term mission and its phenomenal growth is of God, then God's Holy Word will clearly show repetitive use of short-term mission throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Biblicl use of short-term mission won't merely be an extrapolated footnote squeezed out from just a plac or two." (p. 197)
"If short-term mission does have a solid Biblical basis, then cognitive logic fabricated for or against the use of short-term mission is rendered mute. Instead, missiologists are now confronted with ane ven toughter job of re-thinking human resource deployment strategies for some of the lofty goals yet to be completed. The old paradigm that 'such things cannot be accomplished by (short-termers), cited by a career missionary working in Nigeria, may need to be reconsidered." (p. 198)
"The primary purpose for short-term mission must be 'Christian mission' as we have attempted to defin (it). ... The principal outcome of short-term mission should not be engineered primarily for the goer-guests, but always for the benefit of intended receptors." (p. 233)
"Short-term 'mission' (as opposed to cross-cultural 'trips') has a strong theological anchoring within the Scriptures. We've cited more than 30 'proof-texts' from the Old and New Testaments in this chapter. But foundational to those proof-texts isteh theological basis ... God prefers the 'average-person' strategfy, and God is the author and finisher of the 'priesthood of all believers.' finally, the Bible also demonstrates that God uses short-term mission for personal gift discovery, training, spiritual growth, ecclesiastical and worldview expansion, and to initiate ne enthusiasm MISSIO DEI." (P. 236)
The quotes cited above focus more on the theological underpinnings of short-term mission than on practical issues. The book abounds in such material. It is a great book, and, as I wrote above, every church must have a copy of this book.
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