Short-term mission trips have been scrutinized in recent years, receiving both constructive and critical feedback. I believe these mission trips still have their place, but we would do well to rethink our approach.
Ramon Lull has written a helpful article over at DesiringGod.org about changing our perspective on “short-term” missions. Essentially, he argues we should prepare for a long-term commitment even though we may only physically be present for a short time. From this angle, short-term trips still have a role in the grand scheme of missions, but as Lull suggests, more along the lines of encouragement and vocational training. Lull writes:
Missions is the process of reaching unreached peoples with the Gospel, which requires intense language-learning, cultural study, and relationship-building. Short-term missions, therefore, does not exist. All of our missions — however long we’re physically in the country — is long-term missions. Church resources should be invested in short-term trips as a way of supporting missionaries, not as a separate missions strategy.
Check out the whole article here.