Let Short-Term Work Yield Good Results
Edifying activities of short-term workers
- Observe and learn in order to serve more effectively at home or abroad.
- Meet urgent needs of any kind, those of missionaries and of nationals.
- If experienced in coaching, then coach others or hold workshops for national workers, to equip them to multiply churches. Lasting effectiveness usually requires repeated visits and building relationships over time.
- If you are unfamiliar with the culture, then avoid dealing with culturally related church activities, style of worship and methods of training. Much damage has been done by well-meaning visitors that assume their own church’s procedures will fit another field.
Unwise motives for short-terms
- A condescending assumption that you will be a blessing to the poor people, instead of going humbly and eager to learn, to receive a blessing from them.
- Giving young people something to do during vacation.
- Doing building projects or giving toward physical needs, creating dependency, making them beggars and blunting their stewardship, where national Christians should be meeting the needs on their own.
- Seeking opportunities to preach to a big crowd.
- Introducing inappropriate technology and methods that do not fit the economic and educational level of nationals.
- Introducing into local worship Western entertainment that is foreign to the culture.
- Introducing Western, individualistic, private approaches to evangelism.
- Dealing with local economic issues without understanding the realities of local commerce, marketing, supply and capabilities, especially where people are suffering deep poverty.
Preparation for short-terms workers
- Ask workers on the field how you can serve and be served, then respect their advice.
- Find what local church leaders want (besides cash) and prepare to help them.
- Arrange for useful events that nationals cannot deal with, because of feuds or politics.
- Make sure your aims contribute to the larger purpose and long term goals of field workers.