A series by Rachel Charles that address the short-term missions model employed by much of the American church

1. Keeping it Small

In my observations of the current model of American missions, I find a striking contrast to the model that Jesus laid out in the gospels.  Our methods look nothing like his.  And the more I observe modern missions in action, the more I see the wisdom to Jesus’ model. [Full article]

2. Taking Nothing

Most mission teams tend to reach out to poorer communities.  The needs of these people and places are often great.  Therefore, it seems natural, according to the American Christian worldview, to equate serving poorer people with sharing our resources since we are a wealthy nation.  But as I have been observing this model in action within the Navajo reservation and I am a part of a reservation churchI do see the ongoing negative effects of relying heavily on the materialistic side of current mission models. [Full article]

3. Knowing Who You Are Going To

If you are coming on a short- or even long-term mission trip across cultures and economic statuses, you must understand that most cultures and impoverished communities these days have been exposed to the gospel and missions, some of them overwhelmingly, and most people have a preconceived idea what you will be doing.  Understanding this then you will have to be prepared that your audience may not just open up to you with embracing arms.  They have seen mission teams come and go with regularity, and you may just be one in a great line up. [Full article]

4. Let Them Lead

Other cultures have store houses of worldviews and practices that lend to an even greater understanding of God’s rich character that he bestowed onto each people group as a reflection of himself. But when we don’t take a moment to try to learn what the other cultures have to offer and throw at them materials and models that make sense only to us, we do such a disservice to the many cultures that we go to for missions and to the name of the church itself as it spreads throughout the globe.  We aren’t giving communities and countries opportunities to make the church into sustainable ministries that they can operate without outside help. [Full article]

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