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Short-term missions…

…is the Crack-Cocaine of this generation of Christians.

(posted around my seminary currently)

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • tony sheng October 19, 2006, 9:45 am

    classic.
    you wild seminary kids!

  • ebrian October 19, 2006, 10:49 am

    What does that mean?

  • Lon October 19, 2006, 2:22 pm

    Crack-cocaine – in the sense of what people like getting high on?

    maybe just like making controversial statements are the crack-cocaine of this generation of seminary kids.

  • zach October 19, 2006, 7:53 pm

    Ah yes black maw that is reinvention. So many things just don’t seem as simple as they used to. Kind of reminds me of the movies “Saved” where they talk about a rehab center for troubled youth, homosexuals etc. The quote goes “Mercy House doesn’t reallly exist for the people there, it exists for the ones sending them”. Seems similar to me.

  • Lon October 23, 2006, 11:43 am

    thanks for swinging by Zach. I’ve been meaning to watch “saved” for a while.

    I guess it makes you think if there’s really anything wrong with short-term missions, or things like the mercy-house, helping those both those who are being served and those who are serving…

  • Fiona October 23, 2006, 1:48 pm

    How short term do you mean? We did 21 months 10 years ago (were we setting a trend for the generation?!?). Taking a longer term view, there are still things we think about differently because of that stint abroad. I think there are better long term effects from short term missions than you’ll get from crack cocaine! Does it depend on the pre-trip training and debriefing a bit?

    Mind you, I found it a lot easier being a missionary abroad than speaking out for Jesus here.

  • parke October 23, 2006, 3:46 pm

    My impression is that these kinds of statements aren’t often backed up by enough facts to really prove the answer for those questions, Fiona. That said, they do provide a good opportunity for us to carefully evaluate our own plans.

    In my personal opinion, pastors and leaders should ask themselves a few key questions:
    – Is there a local body of believers?
    – How can we bring momentum to their efforts or continue the momentum they have already started?
    – What cultural practices are standard in this region? (ie there may be a good reason NOT to give money)
    – How can we make it clear to the recipients of our help that we support the local group?
    – What will happen when we leave?
    – What measurable goals will we give ourselves for our return? Or how will we channel the passion we return with?

    God can of course plaster over a multitude of errors, bring healing, help us communicate and is still at work when we leave. Still, I think the statement is birthed out of the sad truth that often we can accidentally do harm to the people we go to help if not careful. We need to make sure our laziness in planning isn’t the reason.

    In particular, I think your statements, Fiona, point to the importance of that last question. Some sense of guilt is natural when we come back to the US, but if we have practical steps (invite one person who doesn’t follow Christ over for dinner; work at local food bank) we can put that passion to much better use.

  • Lon October 23, 2006, 9:58 pm

    Hey Fiona, thanks for honestly sharing. I confess, i find it easier speaking of Jesus in ‘missionary-mode’ than every other day. It’s funky how there can be a bit of a dichotomy depending on location or task…

    Excellent thoughts Parke, speaking from a real missionary’s heart.

    I like how you mentioned God plastering over a multitude of errors. I think knowing this, can enable many of us in our communities to move forward and attempt to be missional anyways in the name of Jesus, even if we don’t have it all together.

  • Lon October 23, 2006, 10:09 pm

    BTW, it took me a while to respond to this one, because my seminary internet system was blocking out this post… i think because it had the word cocaine in it!! guess we’ve been having issues…

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