It’s time to bring up something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, something in which I’ve invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours. Something I just can’t seem to get away from, even as a full time missionary (whatever that means). Something I’ve criticized and praised.
Short term missions.
For the foreseeable future, Mondays on tattooedmissionary will be dedicated to short term missions. My experiences, your experiences, pros and cons, across the street and across the sea, what we’re doing well and what we could be doing better, helpful practical tips and resources, and maybe even a couple of guest posts if we’re lucky.
According to Wikipedia, short term missions is defined as “the mobilization of a Christian missionary for a short period of time ranging from days to a year.” We’re going to go with that definition. I am also going to add that if you are a Jesus follower, you are a missionary and as my missions professor always says, “You don’t have to cross salt water to do missions.” This means that you can do, and probably are doing, “missions” wherever you are right now. “Missions” being ushering in the Kingdom by seeing and meeting needs, loving and serving others, and pointing toward Jesus.
We will enter into this series with the assumption that when we participate in short term missions, “we don’t know what we’re doing.” The men and women who live every day in the cities, states, and countries where we serve for a week or two are the ones who know what they are doing. They understand the historical and cultural backgrounds of their homes and the people they serve and the best thing we can do is to listen and learn.
As we will discuss, the keys to successful short term missions are flexibility and teachability – to be willing to listen and to do what is needed, even when it’s not what you had in mind. Because really when we are passing through someone else’s hometown, ministry, church, or organization we really don’t know what we’re doing. We just have to show up ready to love, serve, and learn.
Here are some articles, blog posts, and books I have come across in the past year or so that speak on short term missions. Let’s start by listening.
What resources have you found helpful in your missions journeys?
Next week I’ll share my own experience with short term missions and hopefully introduce you to the women whose experiences and words of wisdom have already so informed this series.