288: Are Short-Term Missions a Waste?

 In Evangelism, Missions, Philosophy, Podcast

Each year North American evangelicals spend millions of dollars on short-term missions trips. A recent listener of the podcast asked whether or not this is appropriate? Would it be better for us to simply pool our monies and send it overseas?

In essence, short-term missions can be very effective, if done right. However, most short-term missions are done wrong. They often have the wrong goals and wrong peoples in mind. This makes much of the short-term missions activity feels very wasteful, inefficient, and even harmful. Short-term missions can be very helpful if we partner with local ministries and strategic come along side of them to help expand their pre-existing ministry and their gospel influence.

Kenny also uses this question as the opportunity to discuss his approach to global missions and challenges the audience to engage in global missions. Each Christian has a part to play in global missions. As pastor and author John Piper states, “There are only three kinds of Christians when it comes to world missions: zealous goers, zealous senders, and disobedient. May God deliver us from disobedience!”

However, just because we are all called doesn’t mean that every opportunity makes sense. In this episode, Kenny talks about some of the pitfalls of contemporary missions efforts, especially highlighting the fact that most missions activity and giving currently goes towards groups that have already been reached with the Gospel. Kenny demonstrates the distinction between the “unreached” groups and the “unsaved” peoples. This is distinction is valuable as we determine how to spend our money and resources.

Recommended Resources

When Helping Hurts (by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert)

Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry (by Cameron Cole & Jon Nielson)

Let the Nations Be Glad (by John Piper)

Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global (by Andy Johnson)