A lot of Middle Class Churches like to send people on short term missions. While these often has the best of intentions, I am of the belief that the vast majority of these do far more harm than good. Harm? I hear you say

Yes .

Local Christians in the ‘mission country’
• We effectively say – ‘I have a much better knowledge of your culture/language and conditions and thought that by coming in for 2 weeks and often by spending just 1 day in one particular space I could further Kingdom Work’
• Those that we go to help often go out of their way to accommodate us, therefore putting themselves out and often leaving themselves in a worse financial position when we leave.

Local non Christians: Missioners have not enough time to bond or form lasting relationships often language and culture issues. The most unreached are often not talked to ‘as this would be too risky ‘ oxymoronic being the fact that this is who Jesus would I think go to first ……. *cough*

Those on the mission:
• My biggest gripe is the money. Individuals often spend (here in New Zealand and I assume for my US readers it is similar) $ 2000 – 4000 for a 2 week trip. While this is all well and good, most of those $$$$ are for the individuals costs (airfare , accommodation) and little gets to the actual MINISTRIES etc over there that they are going to support. What I am saying is after the mission group is gone is there another $2000 from each individual (and the church that is sending them) to help the ministries they have supported? Or is all that we bring home pretty photos and good memories?
• Second big gripe: Many many churches seem to push the idea that ‘mission’ is purely overseas – last time I checked Jesus started with those around him before he sent people out. If those who we send internationally do not have a grasp on this basic fact then I really doubt whether a ‘mission trip’ is ‘furthering the kingdom’ as it is claimed

Now in saying all of this there are some short term mission groups that I do make exceptions for i.e. where people are going to a place where they have been asked to go by a local community because a local community does not have those resources OR where the community has NO Christians.

I am a firm believer in native missionaries and the work of Gospel for Asia before you get all agro at me ( which I doubt very much , you lurkers you 😛 )