Godspeed Missions with The Scripture Scout

Uncover What You Don't Know

About Mission Trip Spending

from A Short-Term Missionary's

Personal Proverbs


by Anne-Geri' Fann and Greg Taylor of

How to Get Ready for Short-Term Missions

· Fund-Raising,Career Missionary
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Uncover What You Don't Know

About Mission Trip Spending


"A fool and his money are soon parted; often with a going-away party.”

Guys, this is a tough one. I love short-term missions. Short-term missions forever changed my life, or I wouldn't be writing about them, right? My parents were long-stem missionaries in New Zealand for years (I was born then!). AND!! ... yes, there is an AND ... but hang on.

Let me get this out of the way immediately: there is NO substitute for the career missionary. Yeah, I'm sorry, not even you. *wink* I know you agree, or you wouldn't be doing short-term missions to support long-term work in the first place.

BUT! That statement I just made should not discourage you, nor should it invalidate your excitement. Yet the reality is that short-term missions, however helpful, do not balance an actual decline in long-term commitments.5 Many talented and God-serving people like yourself are being sent in teams to administer challenging endeavours. At the same time, many more individuals with long-term mission goals are unsupported. This troubling statistic raises the question of who these trips benefit. If we are honest with ourselves, we may realize that the answer is ... *sigh* ... us.

Several churches in the United States send thousands of people yearly to do short-term forays in places like Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, Honduras, Ghana, China, Haiti, and Kazakhstan while supporting no one full-time in those countries. It is interesting to see how many Christians donate to short-term teenagers instead of committing their resources to full-time missionaries. It is easy, a one-time gift, and it doesn't usually hurt anyone. But that is a big lie ... because it does hurt somebody.

As you may know from scooting around this blog, I have a long history of short- and long-term missions. Boy, do I know about fund-raising? And there is one thing I have learned that I would like to pass on to you. You could do something about it. I have been involved with missions for many years and have many supporters, family and friends through prayer or money. When my teams have had to raise funds for me on a short-term trip, there is always the nervousness that we might not make our goal. But we always do! These supporters are big givers with big hearts for teen missions.

But then there is my cousin, Ryan. He and his wife were full-time missionaries in Mexico City. They were good missionaries. They sent regular reports to their supporting churches, and most of those reports contained a list of relationships they were making, church groups that were meeting in their home, or people who had come to Christ. However, they had to return to the States three times in two years to raise money and still only sometimes reached their goal for daily necessities. And they only needed a little more monthly support than one and a half of my team members get for a week or two on a short mission voyage.

So if you are now or have ever been involved in short-term missions, remember the long-termers. When churches send teams out into a foreign country, they should also be sure to support any full-time missionaries who live and work there all year around. That way, everyone can be sure that the money donated is doing the most good for the most people.

So this week's proverb is, "A fool and his money are soon parted, often with a going-away party." The Gentle Translation is this: Avoid Accidentally Taking Away a Long-Termer's Life Support

The last time I led a mission trip, we raised, among 12 of us, over $20,000. Did you know that, depending on the country, it only takes about $15,000-$30,000 to support one missionary for an entire year? And we were only there for one week! I can't kid myself by thinking we did more suitable in a week than Molly, Kim, or Ryan did in a year. Our one week could have supported almost an entire year for some missionaries and, in some cases, even covered their salary!

When you return from your trip, you will understand the necessity of supporting full-time workers. Now. HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP: Remember them when you start making money, okay? If you are already making money ... remember them! Although $25 here and there throughout the year to support a short-termer is noteworthy, $25 a month makes a big dent in helping our guys who have made mission work their careers.

So no, our beloved long-termers aren't merely exhausted by various problematic attitudes. What may tire many of them is seeing good monetary support deflected by groups and sometimes even piece-meal humanitarian projects whose efforts have the long-lasting effect of two months. A bundle of the money goes into short-term groups, and some career missionaries could give practical advice on where to spend it! They also argue that short-term missions should not be discouraged. Still, it is imperative to seriously consider why we do them, encourage guidance, and then consider what we have to offer with the long-term effects in mind.

Oh yeah, it makes us feel good to see ourselves building structure and passing out food, clothes, or medicine in a slide show or a video. It changes our perspective to be with people who "don't have what we have" or live in what we consider a cosy home. In this generation, where it is easy to travel, it is easy to want to experience other cultures and hope to do some good along the way. Please remember short-term work has many serendipities, but any one of these should not be the only objective. Yet you already knew that ... right?

RIGHT? :-)

That's it, guys. I hope this blog post has been helpful, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can better support full-time missionaries in foreign places and ensure that the mission trip money will help those who need it. Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

If you found this blog helpful, please share it with others so that they can learn more about the importance of supporting long-term missionaries. You never know whose life might be changed by hearing about this fundamental issue. I appreciate your help in spreading the word! God bless.

Your support means a lot to me, and I'm sure it means a lot to the full-time missionaries doing excellent work daily. Thank you for helping to spread the word about this critical issue and blessing them in such a unique way. God bless!

Godspeed Missions

Support Raising Solutions is an amazing ministry that I highly recommend for their support raising training. www.supportraisingsolutions.org

This information and more about preparing for your short-term mission trip can be found here: Coote, Robert T. International Bulletin of Mission Research, Jan. 1995. (Footnotes continued from The Scripture Scout's Godspeed Missions blog series of a Short-Term Missionary's Personal Proverbs.)