Essay on The Impact of Short Term Mission on Local Churches and Mission Fields
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This paper is based on the doctoral thesis entitled, “Impact of Short term mission on Local churches and mission field. It investigates in detail short term missions through the three perspectives i.e. Missions in the Bible, the missions through the early years of Christianity as well as the current era missions (current era missions). It also examines the challenges from the mission field and the challenges from the local churches regarding the short-term mission. To further understand the impacts short term mission on both mission field and the local church, the study looked at the general composition of the mission field through the view of early Christian and modern era Christian’s perspective and reasons as to why missionaries venture in the mission fields and also the build more local churches. On the other hand, the study critically investigated the local church as the whole, the roles of the local churches in the short term mission, evangelism plan used by the local churches in the short term mission as well as the challenges mission participants’ faces during the involvement in the short-term mission.
While there are a lot of advantages which both the mission field and local churches gain from short term mission activities such as the expansion of the knowledge and understanding of the purpose, the ability of the church to bind people together, enhancement of partnership between the church and missionary, overcoming the fear. The study also observed that disadvantages such as over dependency, the high cost of the mission, cultural imperialism, destruction of social structures, destruction of the local industry from the host country were pointed out as the major impacts which the short-term mission have in the local church and mission field.
The study also noted a lot of effects on short-term mission originating from both the local church and the field mission. Some of the significant positive impacts pointed out by the study included the development of long-term missionary, re-encouragement of duty and affirmative commitment Christians have towards serving God. However, the study also found out that it is not only the positive contributions most mission field, and the local church provides to the short term mission, but equally, it created negativity too. For instance, the study pointed out issues such as the rise of religious tourism, wastage of resources as the most deeming results which arise from the local church and mission field participants.
Finally, the study concludes by examining the future of the short-term mission concerning the growing number of local churches as well as the expansion of mission field through reaching the unreached with the gospel. It took into consideration the future size of a short-term mission, the future objectives which short-term mission intend to achieve as well as the criticism which might arise from the short term mission.
For an extended period, many scholars and theologians have acknowledged as well as asserted their confidence concerning what role the short term missions play in every Christian life and their beliefs. Besides they further noted that short term mission provide one of the fertile ground upon which Christians can reflect various God’s experience in their day to day living such witnessing service, spirituality, poverty, suffering, justice, racism, community, globalization, vacation, sacrifice, inter-ethnic relation, and ethnocentrism. It is these reflections which lead to a substantial transformation amongst the Christians hence resulting in the development of missions across the globe.
In evaluating the short-term Christian missions and the impact it has on the local churches and mission field throughout the world, it is important to understand the historical roots of the missions which lead to the modern mission era which we live now. According to David Bosch in his famous book Transforming Mission, he pointed out that in the beginning there are different theories regarding the definition of mission. However, the common ground him and all other experts share concerning mission is that there is no objectively correct definition which theologians can use to claim that it is the ultimate definition of a mission.
Further, still in his work, Bosch went ahead and divided the Christian mission into six dominant paradigms with different distinctive characteristic within these missions as well as the notions which Christian had towards them. He further pointed out that during the early period of Christian mission, what most Christians had to tackle urgently were the ideas such as the question of faith and the purpose the mission entirely meant to their lives. Though most Christians had different views towards the mission, one typical stand all agreed on was that through understanding faith and church mission they were indeed both serving the same purpose of being faithful to God’s intended purpose of developing charitable missions.
As noted by others scholars and theologians, developing the foundation of the mission is one of the most dynamic and a much interactive process between a personal understanding of the scriptures and the personal views of individual on the missiological state of the universe. It is, therefore, true that these interactive process of missions is what set apart the short term mission movement as well as understanding the mission history which in turn helps in comprehending the entire concept of the mission at large.
1.2 Background and Purpose of the Study
In the recent past, a lot of research studies have been carried out to determine the impact of short-term missions. While proponents such as Pocock in the survey have agreed that indeed STM has had a tremendous impact especially in helping Christian become long-term missionaries (Pocock1987, 154). Besides, the short-term mission has been sighted as the focal point for the analysis of mission field and well as enhancement of the growth of local churches can be achieved. As Edmondson argue, it is the short-term mission which in fact help in developing the control as well as allowing the members an opportunity through which they can witness the diversity of what missionaries’ services entail (Edmondson, 2001).
As Stan Guthrie pointed out in his famous article published in Journal of Mission in the Third Millennium “Much as there is growth in the short term mission activities, the long-term mission contributions have indeed fallen.” He further noted that if the balance between the two fails, it is evident that the achievement of the mission, in general, will remain stagnant (Guthries, 2001).
All in all, whether positive or negative contributions, what most scholars agreed on is that taking up short, term mission has significant advantages. For example, short-term mission helps participants in not only to venture into the mission field and enhance the growth of more churches but instead, it does enable them to have spiritual touch with God. It also helps in identify with God as well as help in soul harvesting thus in respect with this perspective short term mission indeed pushes pastors to abandon their comfort zone and allow the God guidance to see His beautiful creation. Therefore this study will attempt to examine what those impacts and advantages short term missions are to make it a more significant contributor to the mission field and local church.
1.3 Statement of the problem
The main aim of this study is to analyze and examine the impact of short-term mission about its contribution in mission field and development local church
A lot of question has been asked in regards to the impact of short-term missions in achieving its core mandate of spreading the gospel in the mission field as well as developing more local churches. Some wonder whether STM will indeed offer a quick fix towards evangelism as well as solving the unfortunate people of the society by providing them the opportunity of being closer to God. Though long-term missions already in existence, the loophole are still evident in most areas, the level of gospel knowledge among the people is still minimal, and it is the hope of the people that short term missions can easily be a solution to this gap which has been in existence in regards to spreading the gospel.
This study, therefore, will analyze the contributions of short-term mission in mission fields as well as in developing and enhancing the growth of the new churches with the aim of further the spread of the gospel. It will further examine whether the mission has indeed impacted the people and if so what are the advantages and the criticism which arises from it.
1.4 Statement of Research Questions
How does short term mission contribute to the local churches and mission fields?
1.5 Other research questions
1. Do short term mission offers the hand on and direct channel through which participants can have a cross-cultural mission when they are in the missions’ field?
2. Is short term mission realistically achieving its global and objectives on churches and mission fields?
3. Is short term mission giving an opportunity for everyone who is involved in witnessing God’s work will culminate in mission?
4. Is short term mission creating significant intercession with relevant facts without relying on prayers as the tool to win more converts while in the mission field?
5. Does STM capable of converting people to become a long-term missionary?
Definition of Terms
Short term mission:
It refers the process through which Christians mobilized together for a missionary purpose. It can be for the period of one month to one year. It is sometimes referred to us mission trip
It refers to any place or a region where people live, but the gospel, as well as the biblical influence of the church, has not been witnessed or felt.
It refers to a religious community or an organization in a given region which is formally organized, governed by the law, has physical offices, serves by clergy and operates in countries where they are allowed to do so and above all always maintain the non-profit status.
Long term mission:
It refers to the missionary duties where the participants go to the mission field for more than one year. It gives an opportunity to the participants to live in much more diverse areas where the even get a chance to learn new languages as well as new cultures.
Refer to any Christian who focuses on becoming the true follower of Christ by learning to follow His way of life.
Refers to the group of individual from the same culture and speaks the same language
STM: Short Term Mission
LTM: Long Term Missions
USA: United States of America
US: United States
STEM: Short Term Evangelical Mission
YMI: Youth Mission International
SOAR: Sold Out and Radical
SDA: Seventh Day Adventist
YWAM: Youth with a Mission
1.6 Population and Sample
This study did not have any particular population and sample since it covers all the mission fields and existing church founded and developed by the short term mission’s participants
1.7Assumption of the Study
1. Short term mission activities have a positive impact on the growth and development of local churches.
2. Most of the short-term mission participants can eventually become the long-term missionary in the future.
3. Most of the extended mission’s activities have long-term effects on the host nation.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
1. The study will be limited to the impacts of the short term mission activities on mission field and the local churches
2. In the study, there is no time frame assigned to the results of short-term missions in regarding its influence to the local churches and mission’s field.
3. The study does not rely on any instruments to measure the changes which the mission field and local churches experience from the activities of the short-term mission participants.
1.9 Conclusion and summary
In this chapter, it has highlighted the brief background the study as well as focusing on the statement of research question plus others fives research question the study is seeking to answer. Though the study does not have any particular sample population, it holistically examined the impacts of short-term missions concerning their influences on both the mission field as well as the local church. Finally is also highlighted on some of the delimitations the study have faced in regards to analysis and interpretations of the data.
2.0 History of mission
2.1 Mission in the Bible
According to the Travelling team group, there is a great danger in living a life that is far much out of context. Were are not meant to float alone in life but to be guided by the word of God in every angle of our lives and that is why God does so through the passing of His word to humanity inform of a Bible (The Travelling team, n.d, 2015). Bible has themes which narrate and relate with all experiences in our life, and we can align ourselves with the context of Bible story especially if we properly understand the subject. When one talks about the word mission, a lot of biblical verse comes to one’s mind since the entire Bible speaks on one theme and that is- missions. For example, according to Matt. 28:18-20, it talks about the old faith Great Commission. For many years, one of the church cultures is to pass the message of enhancing mission as well as encouraging the congregation to join it.
Missions are what the Bible speaks about- mission is what the Bible is about, and if you look at the Bible in light of God’s heart from the entire universe, you will realize that from the book of Genesis up to Revelation it only speaks of one theme- Christian missions. God is calling the believers to join Him in bringing every person to His Throne it is this kind of the factors which have played a connecting role in encouraging all the Christian to engage in missionary work through the establishment of local churches and visiting mission field so as to reach more people with the word of God.
Throughout the Bible, it entirely speaks about mission work, the first Christian mission in the Bible was Fill the Earth. God begins in the book of Genesis by commanding the humanity to go and fill the earth. According to the book of Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…”
God created the human being in his image and therefore wanted them to fill the land with His image which He created them out and to make them bearers and worshippers. It has been God’s plan to ensure that humanity fills the world with a worshipping community. Though as we witness in the Genesis 3, sin crept in world and damage this image God gave humankind. Due to sin, the world was not looking good this was after the sin has replaced the whole image God gave humanity. It is this setup which entirely made God flood the earth and start again. However, through Noah who was still the only righteous man before Him, God authorize him to make an ark so that he could not be destroyed by the flood God was sending to the world to sweep all the sinners who had to turn their back away from Him. However, the mission of God to fill the world with worshipper remain the same; this can still be seen from the command He again gave Noah just after he steps out from the ark. In the book of Genesis 9:1, “then God blessed Noah and his son and said to them,” “Be blessed, multiply and fill the earth with your descendants.” From this statement, we can still say that God still maintains his first command and purpose He had for the humanity of multiplying and fulfill the land with the community of worshippers.
As human beings, we tend to forget so much fast anything good God has done in our life, all the marvelous deeds He grants to us fades away and does not last even for an extended period. We fail in life immediately we have been uplifted in everything we do. Further still in the book of Genesis 11 “Presently the entire world had one language and a common discourse. As men moved eastbound, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. At that point, they stated, ‘Come, let us manufacture ourselves a city, with a tower that compasses to the sky, so we may become well known and not be scattered over the substance of the entire earth.” Genesis 11:1-4.
From the above verse, we noticed that all human being had one language, and they were one people; it is from this that the concept nation was hatched to serve shared goal of multiply and increase in the numbers. Dividing people into nations was after people failed to fulfill the God command of fulfilling the earth God gave unto them which in real sense mounted to rebellion against God’s Command. Though He had initially swept the whole earth of any form of life existence, He saw that it was not right for Him to do the same thing He had already done, so through His mercy and creativity. God decided to confuse the languages and reactivated them in the diverse nations and then scattered all over the world. In Genesis 11:7-8, God states that “‘Come, let us go down and befuddle their language so that they won’t see each other.’ So the Lord scattered them from that point over all the earth, and they quit building the city.”
Therefore from the above verse, we can see the God’s concept of developing nation coming into life; people are spread all over the globe with multiple languages. This apparently leaves us with the question of how is He going to reach all of them, what will He do and who will He use to accomplish this. It is all the above questions which entirely explain why we need to identify mission fields as well as continued developing local churches so that we can establish the link through which the word of God can reach everyone. After God has separated people and created nations, He again came up with a plan upon which He regroups some and set aside one country which he will use as His missionary nation to the world.
In the book of Genesis 12:1-3 “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your dad’s family and go to the land I will demonstrate to you… I will favor you… and all people groups on earth will be honored through you.'”
From the above statement, the term “blessing” refers to the salvation God offers us through Abraham’s faith. Using Abraham’s faith, God plans a significant change to humanity; he blesses the family of Abraham with the goal that Abraham can be a gift to the whole people of the world. Interesting enough the command is not limited to Abraham alone but to goes out to everyone in Abraham’s family lineage. This show that the entire family of Abraham, as well as his families, are responsible for the missionary work. For example, God continued with His command through Abraham’s son Isaac to whom he repeated the same command as seen in the book of Genesis 26:4 “I will make your relatives as many as the stars in the sky and will give them every one of these grounds, and through your posterity, all countries on earth will be honored.”
The command continues still to Isaac’s son Jacob,
“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the West, the East, North and the South. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” Genesis 28:14.
The mission was for the entire Abraham’s family because as can be seen in the book of Genesis 12:3 God gave his promise that the whole universe will be blessed through them. This blessing of the nations can further be attributed to the objective of coming of Christ Jesus; he came to bless the entire nations. Jesus could not just come without a family line, and that is why we find him being born to the Family of Mary and Joseph who is still in the line of Abraham descendant. The main aim of this is to make the connection between humanity. In the New Testament, all human beings across the globe are referred to as the spiritual descendants of Abraham and his fellow member of his family (Gal 3:29, Eph 2:11-19, Rom 9:8). So by virtue that we are the spiritual family of Abraham were are part of the mission.
In another part of Old Testament, we see God’s design for the Israel to the light of the whole nations. Israel, a society can be viewed in a mission lens. For instance, the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses by God and to the people of Israel was mainly designed for the missional purpose. They are designed by God to be obeyed and observed by all worshipping community of the world. Deuteronomy 4:5-6 “Watch them precisely, for this will demonstrate your shrewdness and comprehension to the countries.”
In Joshua 2:9-10, the reputation of God spread to the other nations after Moses parted the Red Sea, other people heard about the mighty power of God and what He can do. For example, Rahab was astonished by this and even made her change and worshiped the God of Israel.
“I [Rahab] realize that the Lord has given this land to you and that an incredible dread of you had fallen on us…we have heard how the Lord went away the water of the Red Sea for your sake when you left Egypt…
In His reward to Solomon, God gave him wisdom for a larger purpose altogether
“So that “Men of all countries came to tune into Solomon’s intelligence, sent by every one of the lords of the world, who had known about his insight” 1 Kings 4:34. It is the Wisdom of Solomon which made him become one of the most famous Kings in Israel history and even made Israel become one of the strongest Kingdom a factor which not only made the conquer and rule many nations. Solomon’s influence also help in spreading of the God’s word to those countries hence fulfilling the God’s command of creating a worshipping community
Even in exile God’s mission too also manifested itself, for example in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego while facing the fiery furnace according to the book of Daniel 3:29, God’s mission to His people manifested through the King:
“In this manner, I [Nebuchadnezzar] declare that the general population of any country or dialect who say anything wrong about the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces… for no other God can save like this.”
In the above Bible verse, we can see that even the king became the messenger of God’s to his nations this was also equally evident with King Darius when he declared his stand to Daniel after the Lord delivered Daniel from the lion’s den.”I [Darius] issue an announcement that in all aspects of my kingdom individuals must dread and respect the God of Daniel… “Daniel 6:26.
Though most of the God’s missions were mainly in the books of the Old Testament, this does not mean that it stops there. Equally, there were missions in the New Testament. As we read the entire New Testament, God’s mission remains the same. By God taking into flesh through Christ, what we see in His life and ministry is not far from what we saw in the Abraham life? Whether we look at it from Christ meeting the Samaritan Woman(John 4:1-42) or Him healing the Gentile to teach his followers (Mark 5:1-20, 7:24-30). Christ in the New Testament entirely follow the same Christian missions pattern which we had already seen happening in the Old Testament.
The overall reason for God assembling worshippers from all the nation is to help us understand teaching and action of Jesus. For example, by clearing the temple upon arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus did not choose the temple to preach in but instead entered the temple which was design mainly for the Gentile to worship. When he discovered individuals purchasing and offering in the house of worship, he took a whip and drove all of them questioning them that is it not written ‘’My home will be known as a place of supplication for all countries’?” Mark 11:15-17. The above indicates that by the fact that people were trading in church, they denied the very Gentiles who were willing to worship an opportunity to do so. Besides according to His teaching about the sign people will witness when He returns in the book of Mathew 24:14.”What’s more, this good news of the kingdom will be lectured in the entire world as a declaration to all countries, and afterward, the end will come,” We can easily see the God’s promise to Abram of blessing the whole nation still hinges on this verse
In His ministry, we understand Jesus teachings governed by the principles of preparing the kingdom of God to be known to everyone including areas where it has not reached already. In the book of Luke 4:42-43, Jesus provide this as his reason for living the city where there were still more demand for his teaching“…they attempted to shield him from abandoning them, yet He stated, ‘I should lecture the uplifting news of the kingdom of God to alternate towns additionally because that is the reason I was sent.'”
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave mandate to His followers to go and preach the gospel to every corner of the nation “Go into all corners of the world and lecture the uplifting news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
It is this statement which led to Christian to take an opportunity to move across the world through various mission and a church establishment to fourths help in developing and increasing the number of worshippers across the globe
Besides, the book of Acts shows a clear testimony of the account on how the gospel spreads to the end of the universe. It begins which Jesus is emphasizing on what He had already taught his disciples for the past three years of his ministry. In Acts 1:8 Luke records that “In any case, you will get control when the Holy Spirit goes ahead of you, and you will be my observers in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the finishes of the earth.”
From the above recordings by St. Luke we can quickly point out that the work of the Jesus disciples was just to start the mission and ours is to fulfill command and help in spreading the good news to all the corners of the earth which are yet to be conquered by the word of God. As evident in the rest of the book Acts and Epistles, the biblical mission is portrayed by Paul and the rest of the missionaries while struggling to raise up churches all over the world. In his teaching, Paul carries the same principles that Jesus emphasized to be done so as to reach the unreached. According to the book of Romans 15:20, Paul give his desire for his ministry by saying, “I have made it my desire to lecture the gospel where Christ is not yet known with the goal that I wouldn’t expand on another man’s establishment.”
Therefore we can quickly conclude the bible mission by saying that God is a missionary God from Old Testament to New Testament God’s always showing us His mission. This mission in the context of Bible story show as the God requires from us as well as helping us know our purpose in life. So it is very right to say that God wants all humanity to be in his final chapter. God has one mission for all humankind to be one nation, one method as well as to ensure that all races become one believer.
2.2 Missions through the early years of Christianity
The mission through the early years of Christianity can be traced back as far as 70-135 CE, with the expansion of the post-apostolic Church and expansion of population, the Christian mission growth was far much rapid. Within the period of ten years after the death of Jesus Christ, there were already churches starting up in areas such as Alexandria and Antioch (Green, 1979, 13).Before the end of the second century, holy places were already very healthy and active almost throughout the Roman Empire, and their presence was felt as far as areas such as Mesopotamia. It is this rapid growth of early local churches within these regions which later motivate other Christian to start their evangelizing process leading to the increase of current mission.
In his article, the Part of the world in which the Apostle preached Christ, Eusebius pointed out the mission through early Christianity started when the holy apostle and the disciples of Jesus Christ dispersed throughout the world to spread the word of God. According to Eusebius areas such as Parthia traditionally were accorded to St Thomas as his mission field where he was to spread the gospel, Scythia was allocated to St. Andrew and Asia to St. John, however, St. John later died in Ephesus while on the mission to preached the Gospel there.
St. Peter on his part took his mission to Pontus, Bithynia, Galatia, Cappadocia as well as Asia Minor where other Jews community had settled. However, when St Peter came to Rome to spread the gospel, though he succeeded in converting people, he was later crucified head down due to his missionary teaching and conversion of non-believers upon his request that he might suffer the same fate Jesus suffered while spreading the gospel. Though most of the early work of missiological were only carried out by the original Disciples of Christ, people such as Paul who traditionally was not amongst the original twelve disciples of Jesus but welcome the concept of Christianity on his way to Damascus continue to spread the same gospel. He preached to areas such Jerusalem, Illyricum to Greece before finally suffering his martyrdom in Rome under the command of King Nero.
One of the fundamental principles which guided all these early missionaries in spreading the gospel to the rest of the world was the power which they were accorded to them by Christ on his last day before he ascended to heaven. Though mission through early Christianity came to close at around 90-95CE after the death of John, the Elder who some scholars have raised the concern into the actual identity. Even though his real identity is not known, however, what most theologian scholars agreed on is that the Elder and John the Apostle could be the same character with the different identity.
However, the death of the last apostle cannot be said to what constituted the brief pose of first mission by early Christian, but other factors such as the passing of both apostle Paul and Peter as well as the destruction of temple played a significant impact in the early mission. With the fall of Jerusalem, the first Christian missionaries were left with no central point of reference (Frend, 1984, 120). It was these factors which later led the change of power from Jerusalem to Antioch and Rome. Besides the growth of the missions through the early years of Christianity can also be attributed to some later New Testament writings such as First Clement, the Didache, and the book of Antioch, the Second Clement, the Shepherd of Hermes, and the Epistle of Barnabas. Some other few non-Christian source including Josephus, Pliny’s letter to Trajan and Tacitus also made the mission to move from one era to the next one. For example Ignatius description of the monarchical episcopate better help in reflecting the period after 135CE, in addition to the above, the Tertullian openness to the Montanism can also be pointed out to be one of the active contributors to the mission, especially in around 70-100CE era.
According to Frend, the early church mission can equality be attributed to the expansion of the church in the post-Nicene, though most scholars disagree with Frend on the basis that before the Nicene council, most participants were not allowed to engage in any missionary work (Frend, 1996, 46). However, Conzelmann agreed with Frend on the ground that since most participants within Nicene council were omitted from participating on church duties. But to those that were allowed to involved in such as record keeping, can be pointed out are the way through which they could pass information regarding the church hence leading to the growth of new evangelism and growth of field mission in other areas (Conzelmann, 1973, 23).
The turning point of mission within the early Christianity was in 135 CE; it was this period which marked the end of a sixty-year shift from the traditional method of using synagogue as the base of Christianity. The church moved away from considering Jerusalem as its base and instead started moving away slowly from Judaism and start engaging other Greek philosophers rather than Jews this make the early mission to spread to other reason such as Greek during the remainder of the second century (Conzelman, 1973, 162)
On his part, Harnack attributed the mission through the early Christianity to the ecstatic phenomena (Harnack, 1972, 254-255). On his part Green dislike this “ecstatic terminology,” he believed that old prophets were not fully exercising the preaching gift, he sighted that their words were not revelatory enough (Green, 1970, 200). However, Caird disagreed with Green and supported prophets preaching gift; he sighted that the ecstatic speech ability of prophets was the central element used to connect the people and gospel being taught (Caird 1955:61).
All in all about vision, ecstasy, healing of the sick, exorcism and other phenomena, Harnack explain these phenomena, he admitted that these events play a fundamental role in the mission and propaganda of the Christian religion (Harnack, 1972, 253).
Whereas factors such ecstatic and wondering prophets played a significant role in early Christianity mission and growth of churches, there is some pre-existent factor during this period which further the growth of mission. Though not critical factors, the role they played contributed a lot to the growth of the mission altogether. Factors such as existing of synagogue system, availability of Roman infrastructure, the Hellenized as well as the mystery religion plays equally important role in enabling the growth of mission and early church.
By the time of Christ, the only religion in the Greco-Roman world was Judaism (Frend 1984, 42). Some scholars estimated the number of Judaism followers during this time is to be close to twelve percent of the Roman population with close to over one million Jews residing in Egypt (Green 1970, 23). With close to 4-4.5 million of Jews spread across the Roman Empire(Harnack, 1972,10) Though not loved by other sub-tribes living in Roman Empire, the Jews society were far much influential(Green 1970,24). Using synagogue as their center piece outside Palestine (Bull, 1967, 21), these diaspora communities’ draws a lot of missionary believers out of Jerusalem (Frend, 1984:43).
Besides, Jews also prepare the Roman world for the proselytization though it had unpopularity in Rome, it drew a lot of renewed sense of mission (Harnack, 1972, 10). In almost every city there was a meeting place where converts could easily come together and share God’s message thus facilitating the growth of mission and need to further carry out evangelism to other areas where the Gospel had not reached (Caird, 1955:55).
In contrary to some theologian scholars, who saw the dislike toward the Jews by other communities as a hindrance factor to the growth of early mission, Jews merges to be active in the areas of outreach(Green, 1970,23). Judaism becomes a major rival for the Christian convert amongst the Gentile world (Frend 1984, 121). According to the New Testament, Jesus told the Pharisees “Misfortune to you, instructors of law and Pharisees, you frauds! You go over land and ocean to win a single change over, and when he wound up noticeably one, you make him twice as much as the child of hellfire as you are” (Mathew 23:2315).
During this time of Christ, churches were considered as a synagogue, and in many ways, they followed such practices with the different caste system. It is therefore clear that this kind of religious caste made more people who were either not Judaist or just Gentile to seek for a newer kind of faith which will de-emphasize the social status. Christians capitalized on this by concentrating their efforts to fully initiate even none circumcised population which were not allowed by Jews to worship in the synagogue to be included in their churches this made early Christian scored a great success in converting more people(Green, 1979,119).
As Bull explains, the prevalence of Jewish proselytization, as well as the existence of the synagogue, created a ready-made conduit for this message. He pointed out that “Every synagogue was a ready-made base for Christian preaching. From it came the nucleus of believers, Jews and mainly Gentile, who would form the local churches (Bull, 1967, 21).
As Kelly observes during the time of New Testament, Judaism was the principal religion which the Gospel of truth spread (Kelly, 1997, 72-73).Elements such as such as diversity in expression and beliefs were tolerated within its boundaries; it was bound more by practices rather than faith in the system (Caird1955, 23). Their methods were entirely surrounded on the aspect such as temple, social revolution and apocalyptic prophet (Frend 1984, 43).
From these traditional practices of Judaism, a new branch arouses called Christianity. At the beginning all Christianity was Jewish Christianity (Frend 1984, 123), this however made the Judaism’s symbols such as use of Synagogue and Jerusalem to bind and also to influence the Christianity until 135CE.
Missions through the early years of Christianity cannot be explained without the inclusion of the Hellenization factor. According to Hellenization, early Christians capitalized on the use and adoption of Greek culture which was widely spread throughout the Roman Empire especially to the East side to increase the missionary influences. Through Hellenization, it allows the use of common language and culture as well as the Greek language which was widely used within the Empire. Hellenization created an opportunity where the people could share their common worldview through lingua franca. Even though previous the Greek words were only used to convey the thoughts of great thinkers with Latin instead of the Greek, the Gospel was able to thrive since language use could easily be subtleties and could be expressed easily.
Hellenization was not the only catalyst for the development of the language utilized by the early Christian missionaries but instead also created a rigorous pattern through which men and women could easily communicate to their deities (Green 1970, 18). Much as these cultures arose before even coming of the Christianity, people show this new form of religion as a faith which could easily grow and eventually thrive. Hence it was evident that these ideas which were promoted by the Hellenization made people who were living within the kingdom to seek for new things which were beyond what was being availed to them. Roman Monarch was one of the most powerful Empire before the birth of Christ; the early Christian mission capitalized on the influence of Empire and the power it had over the people who were under its administration.
Under the authority of Roman Empire, the use of Diocese system which a common characteristic of its administration. The early Christian missionaries exploited this system of government and instead use them to demark the boundaries of churches and Bishop and the capital at Rome to be the Headquarter of the world church. Roman Empire influence the growth and spread of Christian missions and their activities; it made the evangelization and expansion to become possible by it proper road and tranquility. It was this uniquely designed infrastructure offered by the empire which allowed for the first time missionary to travel throughout the known and unknown world mission field.
The Roman Empire transportation system stretching from Atlantic to Arabia; to North England and the Nile (Bull, 1967, 2) together with free piracy interferences, this allows the unmolested travel throughout the empire hence making the mission of to be carried out with a lot of ease. It is the nature of good transportation network offered by Roman Empire which allowed people like Paul and Peter to travel with ease from the Kingdom of Jerusalem to Greek to Rome and other areas while spreading the gospel as well as converting people (Bull, 1967, 3)
In the second century, the growth was mainly relegated to the cities thus doing the missiological work to be easy. Though some scholars like Pliny disagree with this notion, by pointing out that “For the contagion of this superstition, it permeated not only to the cities but also to the village and country districts (Pliny, 1999). However, this notion of Pliny was disputed by Terry, to him, he argues that most likely the villages were not impacted altogether (Terry 1994).
Much as the Roman Empire played a far much important role in the growth of early Christian mission. Frend on the other side noted that this was much exaggerated since it was only until Irenaeus (ca. 180) that the ideas of the mission to the wild and barbarous were heard outside the city (Frend 1984, 132). It is these activities that create more sense to the early Christian missionary as well as paving the way to next unreached town or even the trip to the wilderness.
Furthermore, the mission through early Christian can also be attributed to the Pax Romana. Though there was some occasional war, the peace which prevails between the periods of 27BCE until 96CE cannot underestimate, the opportunity provided with this piece provided the perfect opportunity for the early churches (Davies, 1965, 34). This sentiment was shared by Green when he noted that had Jesus been born 50 years earlier, the spreading of gospel would have been much difficult (Green 1970, 13).
During the period of King Nero, Persecution of the Christian was only the tools used to intimidate the Christians. Between the 70 and 95CE, there was little mentioning of abuse apart from that of Peter. Even though Pliny observed that during the leadership of King Nero, Christianity was illegal, he failed to comprehend why that was so. The overall tone was to allow Christian to live alone unless they were forced to carry persecution (Frend 1984, 150). It is by large that Christians were not harassed during this period. And with unparalleled infrastructure provided by the Roman Empire, the earliest Christians utilized this together with the comprehensive peace accorded to them to reach a substantial number of major cities and center of commerce within the period of sixty years to spread the gospel.
As noted by Harnack the rise of early Christian’s missions can also be attributed to the increase of mystery religion, with the decline in the exact science these ideas provide an additional resource for the early church (Harnack, 1972, 23). People are blaming and discrediting the state religion, the mystery cult not only provides them with a promise of eternal life after death, happy union with their deities as well as freedom from guilt (Green, 1970, 20-21). It is all these promises from this new cult which not only lure the ordinary citizens, but even the Roman Emperors such as Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius join it which later pave an avenue through which missionary could easily convert others to join it (Kelly, 1997,85).
Mystery religion factor in paving the way for the early mission of Christians was embedded on the close similarity it had with the Christianity. With both practicing baptism, ritual meals, life after death and many others (Bull, 1967, 8) this encourages many other people who were either the non-believers or pagans to join it as converts. However, not all scholars’ support this, for instance, Green disagreed with this citing significant differences, he pointed out that whereas mystery religion promised, Christianity provides. He further noted that through this new religion; the unbelievers could not see the power in the healing and exorcism that the early church practiced (Green, 1979, 29)
In conclusion, therefore, the mission through the early Christian was an avenue through which Opportunity from spreading the gospel from one generation to another could be achieved. With the growth of Gifts from the Jews, Romans, Greek, as well as pagan, it allows the gospel to grow from the small sect in the Palestinian to become a state religion in 300years. It was the unique combination of the factors discussed above which made the entire Roman Empire ruling at the period to adopt it as the state religion. Even though the empire was overwhelmed with the different truth, the faith of the Christians rapidly gained the ground. Besides, the overall power of Holy Spirit can also be attributed to the delivery of these missions
2.3 Modern missions
The modern mission era can be understood firmly by evaluating the effects of Frontiers mission movement in its attempt to reach the unreached people. As pointed out by Johannes Verkuyl, during the new Christian mission, the entire plan was governed by missionary practice which included converting the non-believers, starting of more churches, developing of local church movements which support, propagate as well as govern themselves. Though current mission emphasis was to plant more churches in a reach of every people who sit squarely within its framework of Christian base, this structure equally shared with already established churches. Modern mission shared the same motivation, understanding, and goals other previous evangelical mission had to bind together both denominational and interdenominational ideas.
According to Ralph Winter, the current mission can be attributed to four men whose work falls within three eras in their bid to further the evangelism approach as well as to established churches where they didn’t come to exist before (Winter, 1997:18-23). Within, these three overlapping eras Winter pointed out the fresh mandate given to these four men to fulfill the Great Commission from their faith. After the demise of the last Apostle and the brief stop of missionary work due to lack of standard Christian practices, all the churches within Europe realized the need to spread the gospel to other parts of the world. The first commissioning of the current mission started from the 1700s till present. During this time, people are still tasked with the work of preaching the gospel as well as carrying out the task which remained undone.
Although dimension of work done during the current mission has changed, one thing which has remained the same is the recognition of the biblical data on various mission and the foundation of all previous mission.
Therefore to fully understand the concept of new mission, the fundamental analysis will be the focus within these three eras starting from 17000s when the ideas picked up the pace until today. Besides, the contributions of these three periods in developing the current mission will form the basis upon which we evaluate the impact of these mission to both the missionary as well as to the local church.
2.3.1 The first era
After the end of the post-apostolic age, new people took the initiative of spreading the gospel to another region where the gospel had not reached before. It is this action which made people like William Carey start the evangelism movement from the late 1700s to 1865. Although his ideas at first didn’t marshal enough attention from the people, the turning point in his activities came after he published his famous book, An Enquiry Into the Obligation of Christian to Use any Means for the Conversion of the Heathen. It is from this book that some of his friends from small mission agencies decided to join him in starting the missionary work. Much as Carey was not Protestant minister, the combination of his book and Evangelical Awakening fasten the vision of the people which in turn changed many lives in both sides of Atlantic (Winter, 1977:19). Within the span of few years, through his work and dedication, numerous missionary agencies came up to support the mission activities both in Europe and America. People started joining these organizations in their number sacrificing their lives with the aim of moving into the new land to go and spread the gospel. The initial missionaries who joined these agencies were tasked with the role of spreading the gospel to coastland of Africa and Asia, and by the end of 1865, majority of churches had already been established by these new missionaries in these regions (Winter, 1997)
2.3.2 The Second Era
Hudson Taylor started this era; his mission covers the period from 1865 to present. During this time Taylor made a lot of controversies when he claims that people of far Asia such as China need to be reached with the gospel. People question his motive, why he was more interested in taking the gospel to such areas as well as coming up with more agency yet, in reality, the work which was started at the coastland region has not been completed. Secondly, they question why Taylor had to start more agencies, yet there are several organizations which are in existence (Winter, 1997, 21). Having realized that people were not interested into venturing the gospel to the interior China, he took to himself and formed the China Inland Mission. Coupled with his influence on over forty new agencies his idea bore fruit, and over the short period, there were close to forty new companies who were dedicated to spreading the gospel and additionally contacting new individuals with the word in the interior of Asia and Africa (Winter, 1997). As noted by Winter, the impact of Taylor work can still be felt up to this day and by 1967, close to 90% of all the missionaries originating from America rely on the churches which Taylor agencies established (Winter, 1997, 22)
2.3.3 The third era
While the first two modern missionary phases were mainly putting much of their emphasis on areas such reaching the coastland as well as the inland with gospel and conversion alone, this third mission moves away from the geographical aspect of their mission; it mainly concentrated in on issues such as the socio-cultural and ethno linguistic group. With the history of this mission dating back from 1930, under the stewardship of Cameron Townsend in the Central America and Donald McGavran in India. The two were part of Student Volunteer Movement. As compared to Carey and Taylor, these two men encounter different barriers during their mission which enable them to identify the new unreached region for the purpose.
Townsend while working amongst the indigenous Indian population, in Guatemala, he learned from his predecessors that for the mission to be much more successful, people ought to be reached with the gospel using their local language. It was his recognition of language barrier which made him start the first Bible translating organization aimed at translating the God’s word to virtually all the languages on earth a factor which led to the establishment of Wycliffe Bible Translator. McGavran on his part, while laboring to understand the diversity of the Indian social group, he noticed the ideas that analysis of the similar unit of people is what missionary need in their attempt to penetrate with the gospel.
It was these viewpoints developed by these two men which made Winter summarize his view that “Once such a group is infiltrated, diligently taking advantages of such missiological discoveries along line group line will act as the bridge of God to people. He further noted that without such kind of development breakthrough, the passing of truth through evangelism cannot be successful (Winter, 1997)”
It was this philosophical approach initiated by McGavran which made him be the father of the church growth movement as well as the leader of the Frontier movement. His devotion in expanding the already penetrated group and other devotee using his deliberates approach is what constitutes the present-day evangelism (Winter 1997). On their parts, Hesselgrave and Alan Tippett credited the work of McGavran and Ed Dayton arguing that through homogeneous unit principle, the missionary can easily understand the better way upon which they can evangelize without creating many divergent opinions. From the people, since they capitalize on the unit rather than just concentrating on nation, continent or even individual (Hesselgrave, 1988, 51)
2.4 Challenges facing Christian missions.
Most missions started with the distinctive aim of helping spread the gospel to the people who haven’t been reached with it or just to continue helping develop and support the converted groups. However, these missions just like any other programs have had some hindrance factors originate from either their encounters from the field mission or just from the problems posed to them by the already established local churches.
2.4.1 Challenges from mission fields
Most missionaries who operate from their host mission field having grown in their original country and also influence by the own culture from their childhood to their adulthood undergoes a lot of barriers while in the mission field. They often find themselves talking, thinking, hearing or even acting in accordance to their cultures which they were brought up.
When these missionaries arrive in the foreign countries, they are usually bombarded with different short of challenges, as newcomers in mission field they find themselves comparing their motherland culture, beliefs, and values with the host countries. This challenge often leaves them in a situation where they constantly judge, reject, criticized or even struggle to adapt to their new kind situation. However, this should not be taken negatively since they form their overall base of the adjustment process to the current environment.
One common ground which all theologians and other scholars agreed on is that everybody who serves the Lord on the mission field must at one point meet some difficulties, but one solution to this is that they should at least cope up with this new culture of the people even if they are far much different from theirs.
As David Harley emphasize receiving churches also suffer severely if the missionaries are underdeveloped and unprepared properly for cross-cultural ministry. He further notes that as one’s said by Africa church leader that “Missionaries do not understand Africa cultures, they are neither interested on what Africa thinks or what Africa do. Ministers want to do things the way they do them in their own countries. He went ahead further to point out that some African are almost giving up because of missionaries who either refused to understand them or listen to them altogether. The missionaries have got their ways and ideas of doing things, and we cannot change their minds. He continues to say that the many evangelistic strategies that are flooding Africa from the western countries are just evangelical toxic waste who does not bother understanding the Africa culture yet they come to trained African on how to evangelize to the African people (Harley, 1995, 9).
Understanding context has been the greatest challenge most mission field undergoes. The field is mission characterized by unique setting where the entire process depends on the history and culture of each area. Most missionaries have grown up in a monolingual culture; this means that they have to learn as much as he or she can about the context of the host country before setting up for the mission field up there. The preparation should not just stop once he/she has understood the host country, but he/she must continue to learn in the host context even when he/she is there. As pointed out by J.J. Kritzinger, missionaries should know the key variable in the host country. The degree of Christianization, the kaleidoscope of the churches, the social-economic factors, the level of urbanization as well as the socio-graphic status of population in the host country (Kritzinger, 1989, 50-64).
In addition to the context, mission field usually faces stiff challenges from the local churches which are already established there before. The independent churches are composed of the mixture of culture and beliefs; they follow the traditional rather than the word of God these usually pose a greater challenge to the missionaries. According to Kritzinger, the key priority in the mission should not only be evangelism or just socio-economic development, but also they should try to understand the poverty and unhealthy condition of the particular situation where they are planning to carry out their field mission (Kritzinger, 1989, 113). It is through understanding of the local context which can easily help them to gain the able leadership of indigenous Christian which in turn can quickly help them to carry out their work smoothly.
Language and culture acquisition is what drive mission to success. Language is the model upon which people use to communicate to one another. Besides, language learning and adoption is what enables one to understand the culture. Language excludes from a thorough understanding of local culture hence if the missionary does not adopt and learning the new language in areas where they are planning carry out the field mission chances are their mission activities cannot be satisfied. According to Dick Anderson, the International General Secretary of AIM, for anyone going for mission field the most important tool he/she should arm him/herself with is adequate preparation and ability to accept to adjust to the new culture (Anderson, 1994, 316). What one should know is that language the key symbol of identity for people and when one master it, it proves the sign of respect one has for a given society (Lloyd-Sidle and Lewis 2001, 42).
On his side, Gailyn Van Rheenen, he pointed out that for any success in the mission field, missionaries must learn the language and the culture of the people they are planning to serve. He further argues that any individual who grows up only knowing one culture and language are in nature monoculture. It is the limitation of the tongue knowledge which leaves most of them with limited experience about multicultural (Van Rheenen 1996, 97).
Besides, meeting the expectation of the local people and churches is another primary challenge mission field usually undergoes. Mission strategy should not be a one-way strategy; it should compose of the close interaction between the missionary and the local people. When a missionary first ventures into a place, she/he learns to have a positive attitude towards the people he is going to meet. The minister should determine what kind of expectation the local people and churches want from them. It has been observed time in time that failure by the missionary to meet the expectation of the local population usually leave them in an awkward situation where they cannot easily evangelize effectively of even win converts.
Apart from just meeting the expectation of the local people and churches, an equal challenge to missionaries going for mission field is how to meet the expectation of the sending churches. According to Patrick Johnston in his famous book, The Church is bigger than you think he emphasizes that the church was entirely planned by God from eternity to eternity, it must represent the actual image of God (Johnston, 1998). The mission is the core of gospel and the life of the church. Missions are not just the many tasks given to missionaries to go and do; it is the essence of the church itself.
Therefore to communicate the gospel in a much more meaning full way and to serve God’s in a capacity of a prophetic agent by converting and transforming people, societies, and culture. The church must know the social cultural and the entire historical context which the missionaries administer and live (Van Engen, 1996, 11). Mission should not merely dwell a lot on who is sent, but it should also take into consideration those who serve sender (Neal Pirolo, 1991, 14).
David Bosch on his part argues that the mission should be a permanent and intrinsic dimension in accordance to church life. The church itself is a missionary, and the God is missionary God, God’s people are missionary people. Therefore the church mission is not just a secondary purpose, but it exists to being sent and building itself for the mission (Bosch, 1995, 32).
Developing the right relationship between the local church and the organization is another significant challenge most mission fields faced. What form the most important role in any ministry is a close relationship between the local churches and organization which are already working to transform and converting people. The ability of mission field to succeed entirely lie with how the missionary collaborates, develop a close working relationship with the local churches, work in close cooperation with the local pastors, the sovereign people as well as with the fellow missionaries from other countries. A lot of studies have indicated that failure to develop a close relationship between all the parties in field mission usually affect the success rate of the missionary.
Overcoming and Understanding the mission participants themselves and their family is another key challenge which affects the mission on the field. Missionary is more of a calling than the career; it requires that the participants should first understand their inner spiritual life and understand that they are meant to serve God and the people. Understanding one’s the personal spiritual growth is what will determine his/her entire life and ministry activities as the whole. What missionaries ought to know is that mission field; it is struggling against many odd. Satan is no fool, and he keeps striking every time with the aim of cripple God’s people. Breathing the fresh air of God’s word and exercising the soul in prayer is the heart of missionary spiritual resource (Beals, 1998).
Regarding the physical health, mental health interlink with the well-being of the minister’s life. During mission field, missionaries faced with challenges such as unusual physical stress which in turn influence the emotional and spiritual forces. According to Jin-Kuk Ju, one of the salient problems in addition to the above which faces mission in the field is the lack of adequate training to the mission volunteers (Ju, 189). Besides, he pointed out that of the common problem which limits the missionary participants in understating about the culture validity is lack of proper training.
Further still aspect such as financial concern is an equally important factor which affects the mission field. Though when Jesus authorized his disciples to go and spread the gospel, he commanded them not to take any gold or silver along with them or bag for the journey, or extra tunic or sandal or staff for the upkeep(Mathew 10:9-10). However, one thing which Meiring emphasizes on is that even though Jesus instructed so, what we have to agree is that mission run on money (1994, 53) and lack of it hinders the operation of church mission. Cunningham echoed the above notion when he noted that money is one of the God’s most significant gift and mission need it (Cunningam 1998, 33). Missionaries need financial support which covers their salaries, health insurance, vehicle, their children education, social security as well as for the church building( Caldwell, 1994, 46). However, this has not been the expectation due to change in the economy which has, in turn, impact their operation smoothly.
In the aspect of converting and transforming people, most people see missionary as wealthy people, and if by any standard they fail to provide to the converts they are perceived as being mean and unwilling to help this negates their work hence impacting their influence negatively. As once noted by Zablon Nthamburi, he describes the following “the missionary according to the local standard is seen to be the wealthy person. Residents could not understand as to why even with so much wealth the ministers are not willing to share with those who are poverty stricken”. Zablon observation was equally supported by John Mbiti when he describes the Africa convert as just beggars of Christian spirituality, cash, and personal. He explains that African Christian still regard missions, or even their churches which operate overseas as omniscient in all the aspect patenting Christian faith money and wealth (Bonk. 1991, 14). It is these above beliefs which have made the field mission to be close to impossible since they find it hard trying to convince the converts without the issue of money arising up. People believe that since they are the representative of their church within their countries, it is equally true that should have enough cash to support them on top of the word they brought to them.
Family concern i.e. wife and children is also another challenge which has impacted negatively towards the activities of the missionary in the field. Creating a proper balance between family and ministry is not something most mission volunteers find comfortable. When they are in mission field are welcomed with difficulties such as languages, food, weather and social mechanism. On the other hand, their families also spend quite a good number of time trying to adjust to the host culture, language as well as proper understanding of their surroundings.
Finally, health problem has been pointed out as one of the challenges which face mission field. According to the World health Organization, health issue refers to physical, mental as well as social well-being however in line with Bible. Shalom, define health problem to include everything covering from welfare, health, and community as a whole (Moreau, Netland &Van Engen 200, 426). If a volunteer goes to the mission field when he/she is unhealthy enough, there is far more evidence that possibility of not completing their long-term ministry is very high tone.
Though most missionaries put a lot of their effort towards changing the lives of the people, as pointed out by Taylor, the feeling that STM creates a lot of ethnocentrism as culture myopia outweighs the good thing which comes along with it. Most missionaries tend to view the culture of the local as being alien as they compare them with their own culture, a factor which usually made local to see them as those who lack respect for them (Taylor, 1973, 63).
Most of the missions especially the STM usually have limited time to accomplish anything meaningful. This short period instead adds more pressure to them in meeting the cultural understanding of the local. It is this complexity which most scholar’s terms as edifice complex whereby building of structures and projects become the core priority to the missionaries as compare to their primary purpose of spreading the gospel to the people (Jeffrey, 2001:6). Slimbach also supported the overhead view; he pointed out that mission’s participants are more concerned with their projects rather than taking into consideration projects proposed by the locals, the locals have instead labeled them as staged tourist space (Slimbach, 2000:431). The disparities between the power and level of stereotyping between these two groups instead have increased a lot. It is, therefore, all these which has created a negative impact towards the missions achieving their core role and purpose why they agencies send their representative to the mission field.
In conclusion, therefore, to successfully concur the administers perfection, missionary during mission in the field should strive to overcome aspect such as language, cultural difficulties which will, in turn, help them developed proper relationship with others
2.4.2 Challenges from the local churches
In an attempt to fulfill the Great Commission Jesus left to His disciples, the missionaries took this initiative by forming various agencies with the aim of venturing into a mission field to reach the unreached with the gospel. Though a good course, the entire mission has undergone some challenges, some internally, however, the majority were from the already established churches in the areas the missionaries thought haven’t been reached. Ministers faced stiff competition from the original churches which had already incorporated local cultures alongside the original Christian cultures.
One of the areas where the local churches have proven to be a thorn in the operation of the missions is their views on maintaining the real identity of the locals. In a real sense when missionaries venture in the evangelism world, they brought with them Western type of clothing, this did not go down well with the locals, they view this as an attempt by the missionaries to portrayed how superiors their culture is. It is this loophole which local churches capitalized to prevent the influence/project brought along by the foreign minister to take place. The majority argues that one does not need to dress to impress when worshipping but want matters is the faith one has in God’s teaching. Buhlman sense toward God supported this view; he pointed out that knowing God is completely independent of mere clothes that cover us but instead our hearts that receive God (Buhlman, 177, 152)
Though most local churches embrace Christianity to the extent that they regard them as the new center of gravity, failure by the missionaries to recognize the local churches expression has proven to be futile to their operation. Instead, local churches are using this to label them as people who are just out to superimpose the Western culture and to re-colonized their free thinking by imposing their new beliefs and culture on them(Kthathide, 2003: 290). On his part, Tihagale argues that faith brought along by these missionaries area pure based on Western culture thus compromising the real intend message (City Press, 2000, 22).It is, therefore, this aspect of enculturation which local churches capitalized to win recognition among the local as compared to the missionaries.
Another challenges most mission faces is the failure by local churches to judge ministers on merit rather than their skin color. According to Mofokeng, since they struggled to get their independence, recognition, and unity because they were judged according to their skin color. It is far much unfair not to grant the mission that credit to the word they are spreading, but to challenge them to also face the same process all of them followed before they were allowed to operate (Mofokeng, 2001, 16).
The question of maintaining the local identity by the local churches is one of the key hindrances most missionaries faces from the local churches. They face tough tasks in trying to understand the actual status of what local Churches are and their mode of operation. (Maluleke, 2001). Though seen to an easy task, many theologians agree that constructing the definition of local church identity is far much complicated as once thought.
As explained by Eugen Scott, one of the biggest mistakes most missionaries make is their failure to address the policies which affect poor. Mission usually come and set up in urban centers and only endorsed policies that benefit business whereas neglecting the immediate issues which affect the people in the countryside (Scott, 2015). Take an example when someone is starving the best thing one ought to do is to offer him/her bread rather than talking to him/her about the bread of life. This argument was supported by Efrem Smith when he suggested that the core aim of starting churches is to serve the underserved. Therefore this view had been the heart center upon which the local churches exploit to win more converts. Local churches believe in brotherhood and helping of the immediate neighbor since they are bound together with the same problem-poverty
Besides as illustrated by Jennifer Tanner and David Mechanic, one fundament loophole which local churches exploit to against missionaries is the failure by missionaries themselves to incorporate the views of the local in their activities. Ministers see those who do not agree with them as either sinners or victims, yet they are the one preaching for unity and brotherliness. Failures by the mission agents to acknowledgment the differences in understanding of the gospel not only make them appear to segregate but also make local shy away from joining their churches (Mechanic& Tanner, 2007). As commanded by Jesus, making disciple and multiplying churches is the key unifying goal all missionaries should be working towards
Failure of the Christian missionaries in assuming that the local had already known the Christ also acted against them. For example in the Case of Cambodia Missionaries, they believed that Christ is now operating in Cambodia; God has for quite some time been attempting to set up His Church that as of now exists in there. Neighborhood followers have as of now been made, and the work of the kingdom is in progress. Because of that, Western ministers ought to know about the way that in spite of the fact that they might be outfitted with significant assets, they are not God’s better gift than Cambodian devotees. Yes, you can give care and learning that may not be accessible, but rather your remarkable benefit is that you get the chance to cooperate with what Christ has as of now begun in Cambodia.
Riches and assets are imperative to the headway of the kingdom, yet don’t enable those assets to give you a divine being intricate. Keep in mind that God picked the stupid things of the world to puzzle the insightful, the weak things to disgrace the relentless (1 Corinthians 1:27) and poor people to be rich in faith (James 2:5.). And the assortment of Christ is not comprised of independent elements with some superior to others. Or maybe, “there is one body and one Spirit . . . One Lord, one confidence, one sanctification; one God and Father of all, who is most important, furthermore, through all, and in all of you(Ephesians 4: 4-6).
In doing service within Cambodia, it is useful to know about a conceivable good-complex, and to consider and experience the expressions of Paul in his letter to the congregation in Philippi: “In lowliness of mind let each regard others superior to himself (Philippians 2:3).The Western Church mainly sees material things – whether riches or predominant assets – as an indication of accomplishment, and hence as the response to general issues. In any case, this mentality is particularly compelling when working with ruined people groups and can be an obstacle to the very groups you are attempting to help, and to your particular profound well-being. Truth be told, one of the more severe issues in numerous neediness mitigation endeavors is that their plan and usage worsens the destitution of being of the financially generous – their god-edifices – and the destitution of being of the monetarily poor – their sentiments of mediocrity and disgrace. The way that we demonstration toward the financially weak frequently conveys – but inadvertently – that we are prevalent and they are inferior (Steve & Brian Fikkert, 2012)
2.5 Mission field and local church
2.5.1 Mission field
If you ask any church goers what a mission field is majority tend to think that it is some place where people live in certain jungle or remote place in the Amazon jungle or remote Africa areas. However, according to the simple definition, mission field refer to any place or region where people live, but the gospel of proclamation as well as the biblical influence of the Church has not been felt. Mission field includes inner cities, suburb and rural communities which house people who are in need of gospel as well as healthy churches.
According to the statistical studies which were carried out in the USA in 2010, it indicated that the United States alone is a home close to 43 million foreign immigrants which account for 29% of the total world population and 30million more than the next largest immigrant’s host. Besides from the study above, it was noted that the 41% of the world immigrants live in the West. Of this 41 percent of global population is composed of one million international students and another one million consist of the refugees hence this makes the West be one of the largest mission fields. Moreover according to the Southern Baptist Convention which is a sister organization of International Mission Board close to 361 unreached group of people still live in America. It’s this vast majority of individuals which make the US the largest mission field in the world followed by India and China (Haanen, 2012).
As noted by the theologians, the world is on the move due to migration, wars, and some due to search of greener pasture thus creating lot of mission field hence this call for missionaries to intensify the conquest in reaching all these mission fields.
In Western countries urban, the mission line defining the different church and local mission is fragile. As Haanen observed, in areas like Toronto, for example, the difference between the Muslim and Christian is very thin that you cannot tell who is a Christian and who not (Haanen, 2012).
The missionary idea of visiting mission field was not an issue which just started the other day it started long before by the Jesus disciples. For example, during his ministry life in Athens, Paul declared to the resident of Athens that it is God who determines the exact time and location where people live so that they can seek God and also find their way towards Him (Acts 17: 27, ESV). Since God still intervene in moving people from one place to another, it is true that more mission fields are available for the missionaries to reach and preach the gospel.
2.5.2 Reasons for venturing into mission fields
To further understand the concept of the mission field, it is equally of great importance to investigate as to why people need to go to the mission field. As observed by the Travelling team organization one of the reasons why missionary should venture into the mission field is that it was said so by Jesus. In the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and lecture the Gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15). From these words Jesus made it clear what He wanted His disciples to do, he wanted them to go on a missionary trip and preached the gospel to all the areas which are untapped, and gospel hadn’t reached (Rom. 10:18). If you view yourself as a “devotee,” at that point you should consider yourself a “supporter” of Jesus – no less called and picked than the first 12 messengers. Mission field requires all of us to go out and spread the word without considering one as 1st Christian and 2nd Christian. The core aim of this is that all of us and the disciples of Jesus should venture our talents in gospel spreading to various untapped region
Another important aspect why we need to venture in mission is because the need for it is so high. In the book of Mathew, Jesus said, “The gathers is ample. However, the specialists are few. In this manner, implore the Lord of the collection to convey laborers into His reap.” (Matt. 9:37-38) Ever since Jesus spoke these words, the number of participants in the mission field has not changed yet, few people have invested their time and resource to fulfill this command from Jesus. However, all is not lost, with the path already in place, the need for venturing into the mission field will soon considerable improve since more volunteers will be willing to venture into missions fields. With close over 2.7 billion of people who haven’t heard the gospel and only 5000 to 7000 missionaries working worldwide to reach this group, this leaves us with 450 000 of unreached people to one missionary. Even though a lot has been done, still this figure leaves us with a challenge of continuing encouraging more volunteers to join the mission field to spread the gospel and to fulfill the commission.
Most people are not obeying the call thus making the need for exploiting these untapped areas of the gospel. To join a mission field is a must do the thing for every Christian. According to the book of Romans, the Bible shows us that “Confidence drops by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ… in what capacity might they hear without an evangelist?”(Rom. 10:17, 14). Currently, there are around 85 000 workers only working to maintain the spread of the gospel to the group who has already heard it before. Across the world, there only 9% of people speaking English, however, the number of English-speaking preachers stand at 94%. Christian’s finances supporting various activities across the globe stand at 96% of which only 4% is spent in missionary activities to try and reach 94% of the entire world population. The figures from the study above its only right to conclude that though there are still more people who haven’t heard about the gospel. What’s more, lots of exertion ought to be placed in position to help bring more people on board so as to fulfill God’s greatest commission
We are equally required to go to the mission field since God usually give a special anointing and grace to anyone who sacrifices his/her land, people, and culture to venture into the world of spreading the gospel. In the book of Genesis, we witness the God’s anointing and blessing to anyone who leaves his motherland to go out and spread the gospel.
Furthermore, the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forward from your nation and your relatives, and from your dad’s home… and I will favor you and make your name incredible. Thus you might likewise be a gift, and I will favor those that favor you, and for the person who curses you, I will revile them as well. Also, in you, all your era on the earth should be honored.’ (Genesis 12:1-3).
God always grant people who decide to take His word to foreign land abundant blessing. Take an example like Joseph and Daniel the two are the only individuals who raised up successful though they were secular officials in a foreign land with a different culture to serve God. The same can be said of Apostle Paul, much as he had the burden for his people and the country of Israel but the love he had for venturing into the mission field to spread the gospel of the Lord made him leave motherland and go to the foreign land. Go! For I will take you far away to the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:21).
Hence from the above scenarios, from Noah to Abraham, from Moses to Jonah as well as Daniel to Paul, it is true that God always gives the blessing to those who accept to leave their nation and wander into the mission field. Always remember was Jesus said “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown,” (Matt. 13:57)
Another primary reason as to why one should also venture into the mission field is because the most Western nation is drenched with Gospel whereas other countries and culture of the world still lag behind and if the balance is noted struck, the entire Great Commission will go to waste.
Still in the book of Roman,” Also, in this manner I tried to lecture the Gospel, not where Christ was at that point named, that I won’t expand upon another man’s establishment. As it is composed, ‘They that had no news of Him should see, and they who have not heard might get it.” (Rom. 15:20-21).
Much as it is true that most western nations are bombarded with Christian and ministry with every corner of the cities and town, there is at least an evident of untapped areas where the Gospel have not reached. It is not enough to leave it at that point, Jesus Himself had to travel oversea to preach the Gospel. So it is equally true that missionaries should not just concentrate in the motherland since it already flooded with gospel but should venture outside to reach the unreached group.
As once said by Oswald J. Smith, “No one should hear the Gospel twice while there is someone somewhere which has not heard about it. So it is upon individual and missionary to join the mission field so as to enable other people to receive the word. In the book of Corinthians, Paul said, “Yet, if our Gospel is shrouded, it is covered up to them that are lost. In whom the spiritual force of this world has blinded the psyches of them which accept not, that they won’t see the light of the Gospel of the magnificence of Christ, who is the picture of God.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
Since Jesus wanted everyone who has ears to hear the gospel, it is upon individuals not only to keep on repeating the same gospel but to also take it to other people so that they can benefit from the same. Since most believers are deaf, Jesus commands us to take the gospel to other people rather than just sit with it once we have received it.
Though mission field is opened for each country, not all will allow the spread of the gospel. It is therefore imperative to join others missionaries in spreading the gospel before the countries closed their borders for the Gospel. As John puts it, “We must work the works of Him who sent me, as long as it is the day; night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4). As The Travelling team organization.org puts it, there are a lot of countries which use to welcome missionaries to preach the gospel in their territories. However, a lot had changed, and they no longer welcome Christian missionaries in their countries. It is these scenarios which call upon us to ensure that we concentrate and maximized our potentials in these areas before they close their borders for the gospel.
Although there is still vast mission field in places such as Pacific particularly in South Korea, Singapore and Japan what is required is to put the sense of urgency in conquering all these regions by reaching out as many people who are still lost in the darkness as possible.
Venturing into mission field is not human being command bound ideas, it is an idea guided by the Holy Spirit. Most Christian leadership do agree that it is the God’s desire through Holy Spirit to spread the gospel, God wants all people of the world to receive his word and that why He wants all of us to stand up and ensure that gospel is published in every Nation and every language. We see God’s command to carry out this in the books of Acts, Mathew, and Peter. “… And you should be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest piece of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). “Also, this good news of the Kingdom might be lectured in the entire world for an observer to every one of the countries, and after that, the end should come.”(Matt. 24:14), “The Lord is…patient toward you and not wishing for you to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9).
In conclusion, therefore, the fulfillment of Jesus Great Commission cannot be received with one deciding to the venture into these areas with the apparent aim of reaching those who have not receive the gospel and heard the word. Jesus doesn’t want us to be timid, lazy and disobedient about fulfilling His commission.
2.5.3 Local church
Theologians defines a local church as a religious community or organization in particular region formally organized and governed by the constitution, has physical offices, served by clergy and operated in nations where they are permissible and above all often maintain the non-profit corporate status. Though they operate independently, on the other hand, they consider themselves as part of dominations called churches. Most missionaries connect with local churches which help in the ordaining and defrocking of the clergy, exercise the church discipline, the development activities such as the building of educational institution as well as missionary societies.
Local churches can sometimes be run and manage using Congregationalist policy where they decide to associate with other denominations which share the same values and principle they share. The principle of unity with other churches can be done under one oversight of council of pastors for example in the case of Presbyterian churches; they are governed under one leadership of council of churches. All in all some local churches function as the lowest subdivision to a great universal hierarchy of one leader, for instance, Pope of the Catholic Church. It is this kind of association or unity which the local church which leads to the ecclesiastical polity amongst them.
Local churches can sometimes be referred to us mission since they are a smaller part of the larger church which acts as their sponsors which an aim of spreading the gospel to people. Though most local churches exhibit some degree of independence in their operations, sometimes they partner with some parachurch organization with a principal aim of accomplishing the particular mission on behalf of the church. Local churches rely on aspects such as ministries, Bible studies and other partners from the parachurch which plays a pivotal role in the personal growth of the church and also to missiological duties of spreading the gospel of Christ.
2.5.4 Role of the Local Church in the Short-term Mission.
In the fulfillment of Great Commission, local church plays a critical role; it acts as the platform which missionaries exploit in the attempt to continue the spread of the gospel to the church. As Dr. Larry Reesor wrote in his article, “Mobilizing the Local Church for the New Millennium, he pointed out some concept which must be understood by the local church concerning the Body of Christ (Reesor, 2000).
He argues that, though we all agree with the fundamental role played by the local church towards the growth of mission. It is equally important to know that it is unwise for the local churches to launch into the mission by themselves without assistance and advice from the mission agencies who have had firsthand experience in dealing with complexities in the mission outreach.
It is true that each believer makes up the body of Christ and all are responsible for spreading the gospel of salvation and good news to the world. It is these universal responsibilities bestowed to us by Christ which make all of us be to call a World Christian. However, we should always remember that the development of local church is something which started as early as during the time of Jesus Christ. Out of all the 90% of the entire churches different writers quoted in the New Testament, as were local churches.
It is, therefore, true that God sanctions to the local churches were primarily to spread the gospel. Hence we can, therefore, argue that local churches add value to the short term mission because of the influence they have on the participants of the short term mission activities. Hence God’s work is accomplished through the relationship which exists between Him and the local church. In summary, it is true that God’s mandate to reach the world is only through the individual believers who together form the local church.
Local churches operation and direction are achieved through the able leadership of pastors or council of pastors. Pastors or committee of pastors is required to lead the change in every aspect of activities local church engages for it to maximize the effort and reach the whole world with the word of God. Leadership offered by the pastors’ acts as the principal avenue through local churches can serve the ministry and the entire Christian mission. They should either lead the key lay leaders of the church or just have the influence on the operation of the church activities.
The church leaders should aspire in providing clear vision and direction on how local churches should carry out their missionary work. Thus if the mission is to be equated to the personality within the church rather than just a program a church set out to achieve, then the leaders of the church are the one in the right path to lead and mobilize the church in making the Great Commission as the success.
One of the key roles of the church is to glorify God as well as to worship Him. Besides, the church is bestowed with the responsibility of evangelized to the world both locally and internationally. Hence, the local church should embrace and understand it pivotal role it plays in the God’s plan in spreading the gospel. Therefore if local churches full fill the above function, they are indeed fulfilling the Great Commission which Jesus commanded His disciples to carry on with when ascending to heaven. God wants the church to operate and look like it is supposed to be. It is this desire which creates the question as to what is it which is required from the church.
As we all know the church is a living organization which indeed operate under the anointment of the Holy Spirit with the intention of bringing people closer to God as well as to encourage them to continue serving God. It is this transformation of the church within itself into an image representing Lord Christ which eventually creates a community of worshipper of God.
Though this sometimes proves to be a challenge as Paul points out in the book of Philippians, “He calls upon every individual to emulate Christ and also follow His footsteps.” Peter supported the argument; he reminded us that our immediate duty of following the footsteps of Christ (1 Peter 2:21.).Therefore for any Christian mission to be a success, local church full implication must contain its ability to include even those people who are lost since the unsaved people are always in Jesus’ heart. St. Mathews seems to agree with this when he wrote, “For the Son of Man has come to save not only the believers but to the unbelievers too.” (Matthew 18:11).
It is this argument which made Mathews point that local church is called upon to teach the word just like the Christ used to do it, and if they don’t do it in that way, indeed they are not developing the Christian in accordance to what Jesus want from them.
God always wants the church to receive God’s power through the Holy Spirit and perform miracles through Him. It is the responsibility given to the local church to empower each Christian into becoming devoted followers of Christ, and this is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
During His ministry, Jesus said, “”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you, and therefore becoming my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Hence, in summary, we can conclude that just as commanded by Jesus, Holy Spirit play a fundamental role in helping the church not only helping the church to be a true representative of Him amongst the humanity but also assist them to perform miracles just as commanded by Jesus
Another vital role of the local church in regards to short term mission is to ensure that it carries out Gods ‘pattern in spreading the gospel. It was God’s desire to see the gospel moving from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and the rest of the world. Therefore developing a church to serve the God’s pattern of spreading the Gospel is an essential function. For people/the church to fulfill the assignment which Christ gave us, the church is required to work together in harmony. The idea starts with God transforming the church into championing the Kingdom so that at the end the church should at least function synergistically as well as to fulfill the spreading of the word to everyone across the globe.
In the early churches, worshiping God was the central role of the church. It was through worshipping which people joined the ministry to spread the word thus leading to the establishment of other local churches. Worshiping is a core function of the Christian ministry and the church, through it, people recognized and acknowledged the ultimate and the supreme worth of God hence making them to set their mind and attention to the love and affection of God.
All in all, though local churches and missionary function almost play the same purpose, the truth is ministry cannot play it role without having a base of operation. It is, therefore, this inability of the church ministry to work alone which create a space for the local church to help the missionaries in achieving some of its function like evangelism and teaching/training.
2.5.5 Evangelism in the local Church
Formation of the church is one vital part in spreading the gospel. However, this is not achieved without an effective evangelism which God’s require from us. Thus for any local church to successfully carry out its commissioning duties, it has to form some key components/strategies to help it reach the community.
2.5.5 (A) Planned Evangelism
One of the types of evangelism strategy used by the local church is designed evangelism. Here the local church mainly collect all the evidence in the scripture under one biblical principle and convey it to the congregations. The church uses a pre-planned strategy composed of a much simplified and detailed format which can be understood easily by the congregations
2.5.5(B) Friendship Evangelism.
One of the core key binding factors within the local churches is the relationship which exists between the associations making up the local church. Through friendship evangelism, the local church exploits the close relationship to spread the word quickly. Friendship evangelism usually proves to be more efficient as compared with when the local church decides to spread the word to the stranger. Since the amount of credibility between our friends and even family members are high, they are likely to take the gospel much faster thus the local churches exploit this to carry out the commissioning. Since the congregation can easily identify with their friend and, it is far much easier for them to envision them to become Christians.
2.5.5(C) Acquaintance Evangelism
Another type of strategy used by the local church to evangelize is through an acquaintance. Local church capitalized elements such as sports or civic groups to help bring people together thus creating a perfect opportunity to mingle with distant friends or neighbors which sometimes take the time to meet which in turn making the spread of word easier. In the Bible, God gives us the opportunity to share our faith with everyone we talked to in our lives. However, local church activities are not enough that why developing a way through which they can reach as many people who are not the church members as possible usually plays a vital role in increasing the spread of the gospel.
In commissioning duties, we should always remember that God does not reward those who have a passive attitude towards spreading His word to others. Even though most scholars have argued that we should not be worried about the evangelism itself since this is a naturally occurring event the truth is the failure to create an intention for the spread of the word automatically make the Great Commission a fail. However, the scripture has the different view about their argument about the mode to be used for the evangelism. It is the following view which the local church use to engage all the Nationals to win the lost people as well as continually uplift them with the word.
2.5.5(D) Cold Contact Evangelism
Last but not least, local churches exploit the cold contact evangelism to reach as many people as possible. Participants of the local churches who consistently share the word with the strangers usually developed the gift of evangelism.
Though most scholars do not agree with these ideas of contacting the stranger and engaging him/her with the word, what must be acknowledged is that some churches have perfected on this strategy and it is already helping a lot in winning the converts.
A strategy without proper execution usually renders most mission fruitless, though local churches have perfect traits. Besides, they often capitalized in the best ways possible to help make their strategies work perfectly. As Daniel Grimwade puts it, local churches are the agent for the mission. So it is for the church to fully under and focused on these orders to lay the path for missionary as well as to encourage people to participate in it (Griwade, 2009). God uses local church to reach Christians who have heard the gospel and believed in it, put their faith in Christ which they later go out to teach other people who have not heard the gospel. God has laid the significant responsibility of mission on the people especially the local church to continue the Great Commission.
According to the book of Mathew, Jesus granted his disciples the greater task of reaching all the corners of the earth. So one of the key challenges was how they were going to reach all these places. However, by now the question above has been thoroughly tackled efficient, and people are working towards common objectives of ensuring that the above strategies of commissioning work effectively. For example in the book of Acts, we are reminded of the work Jesus left to us before he ascended to heaven and what He wanted his disciple to do (Acts 1:1). Commissioning is divided into three according to Acts; the work which was carried out in Jerusalem, the work in Samaria and the last part is the work in Gentile. After his conversion, Paul decides to concentrate teaching of the gospel to Gentile as well as to Jews, and then report back to Jerusalem.
Most believers in Jerusalem by this time were scattered due to persecution which was taking place there, though a contrary idea, through the persecution most followers moved and settled in areas such as Antioch hence making the gospel to reach there. Since the Gentile has had had an opportunity to hear the word previously from the teaching they receive from another apostle before Paul, planting of the local church there became more ease, and it is this opportunity which Paul took to teach them further the word as well as convert those who were not Christians.
Now with everything in place, Paul’s teaching leads the foundation of the modern day missionary with one aim of taking the gospel to all corners of the world. From Jerusalem to Antioch, more churches emerged with each church bringing the gospel to territories which were unreached before. Together with Holy Spirit guidance, the local church in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas venture into the mission field (Acts, 13:1-3).
By the command of Holy Spirit, the local church in Antioch became the sending body through which missionaries activities started. As noted from Timothy’s writings, the first early Christian missionary was from the local church of Antioch rather than the traditional Jerusalem base. The hierarchy from Jerusalem downwards and the responsibility of the local church in Antioch does not only end with the sending of people to the mission field but also extend the role of caring towards those who were sent in the mission field(Tim.4:14.)
Currently from the pace which was set by the early local churches especially those in Antioch, many churches which are outside Jerusalem and Antioch are becoming more involved in the missionary activities. They support the missionary work through the prayers as well as financial assistance (Philippians 4:14-18; Colossians 4:3; 3 John 5-8; Romans 15:28-32).Even the troubled churches are gaining the courage to continue with the commissioning the word of God as they are encouraged in the book of John.
In reality, the above methods have helped the local church to send more members to the field to go and preach the gospel. In our parts as the congregations to these churches in only to try and support them with both materials resources and prayers so as to reach our brethren who have not receive the word.
The primary objectives of the local church which is to set up more churches just like Paul did in Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica is indeed on the course. Besides, missionaries are channeling their effort in teaching as well as by appointing new leaders for these local churches to care for the flock so as to further speed up the spread of the gospel.
In general, though mission’s goals and objectives are to spread the good news, what they should always remember is that mission are church base and churched focusses at the both ends. A church should be doing both sending of the missionaries to the mission’s field as well as the planting of new local churches to win more converts.
In discussing the local church, their implication should not be under looked since they certainly play the central role in bringing the gospel to the people. Local churches are called by God to be proactive and venturing into reaching the entire nation gospel as well as planting of more churches.
Local churches cannot operate without the support from the congregations; it is the role of church participants to enhance the activities of the local churches. It is this position therefore which begs the question of what role should each play in ensuring that there is continuous development of churches.
We should dependably be developing, empowering, supplicating and anticipating that God should rise up individuals from our middle to carry out his duties. We need teachers both like Paul (to plant places of worship) and like Timothy (to build up houses of worship).
We can help back those sent from different places of worship – as the Philippians provided for Paul. We ought to be putting a decent extent of our cash into the reason for making Christ known over the world, reliably supporting devoted laborers.
We can be included in preparing, empowering and instructing – offering situations to young fellows; supporting sound Bible schools; discharging Bible educators to help other people, and comparing with ministers and demonstrating an enthusiasm for their work.
We can supplicate – Paul was continually reassuring places of worship to petition God for gospel work. Our petition can change the world.
2.6 Challenges facing Local Church in the mission
The world is moving so fast; things are changing and so can be said about the church operation and its abilities to carry out missiological duties correctly. It is close to two thousand years since Jesus gave the commission to be fulfilled by the disciples and a lot has been achieved, more churches have developed as was commanded by Jesus to His disciples. However, this does not mean that the process of establishing churches has been smooth. As Lee Morgan points out, local churches are facing daunting tasks in both establishing themselves in mission field and sustaining their operation there as discussed below
One of the key challenges local churches faced today concerning their activity is the lack of cooperation amongst themselves. It is true that local Churches are answerable to one leadership; however, we should also note that dues to different compositions of the members making them up, it very hard for them to administer its duties effectively (McCracken, 2016). As Lee pointed out, poor collaboration has made churches to buckle down and limits spreading of the gospel to the unreached. Besides, it is not the external factors only which pose threats to local churches, but internally weak cooperation from the leadership create a lot of discontent among various local churches. The difference among the church leadership has, in fact, deter the ability of the local churches to expand their mission activities, leaders economic self-interest outweigh the church interest in the building of more churches.
Though according to St. Paul, the construction of churches complete lie with how well leadership of the church is, but on the other side church expansion rely on how much financial support the church gets from the administration.
Another key challenge affecting the local churches growth and development is the lack of integrity in the leadership of the church. Though it is a requirement that the church must try and keep ministers who are honest with their work and connection and should equal have a sense of duty regarding the spread and making of the gospel, that is not true with most leadership heading our local churches today(McCracken, 2016). The lack of integrity has indeed impacted the confidence not only in the church leadership but also the ability of the congregation to believe in the word.
We should not have twofold measures; lecturing and instructing individual realities as essential to us, however then supporting works and services which disregard or deny those facts in different spots. It is, therefore, these challenges arising from the integrity issues in the church that call upon the entire council of pastors to review their leadership mode so as to achieve the sole purpose of spreading the gospel. As noted in the book of Corinthians, Paul supports the above notion as he says, “We need an indistinguishable standpoint from Paul – settled, adaptable and centered (1 Corinthians 9:19-27). He was settled on absolute truth, resolved to win others and convey them into dutifulness to Christ’s law. He was adaptable on everything else and concentrated on the undertaking. That same scriptural honesty and adjust of standards ought to represent our preacher work and partnership joins.
Local churches are growing at a more robust rate. However the question most theologians are putting cross if that whether the growth of these churches goes hand in hand with the believer’s knowledge of the Bible as well as in understanding the word(McCracken, 2016). It is this question which made scholars arrive at the conclusion that one of the most important challenges the local churches must fight so as to operate fruitfully is Biblical Illiteracy. One problem currently facing the growth of our local churches today is biblical illiteracy, people in the churches are not paying much attention to the importance of the Bible or by large do not read it in totality.
In the study which was conducted amongst the Local churches in America, the result showed that close to 82 percent of the individuals in these churches think that “God helps those who help themselves,” is bible verse, 12 percent thinks that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Further, still, 50percent of the graduating high school students believe that biblical Sodom and Gomorrah were a husband and wife (McCracken, 2016). It is these huge discrepancies between the knowledge of the word and the people reading the word which has, in turn, created confusion among the believers of the churches around the globe
Equally worth noting as a challenge to the local church is the weak presence of the local church participants. The congregation of the local churches ought to be people of presence, they should not only be connected to God but also connected amongst themselves. However, this has not been so within our churches today; churches are distracted with daily busy lives of the congregations which in turn pushing away people from knowing the presence of the Lord (McCracken, 2016). Local churches should reprioritize its schedule as the representative of God’s appearances in the world and to do so; they must develop habit and liturgies which create space and contours so that presences can be felt and known by Christians of all walks.
The pioneer of early churches took their time and resource to carry out the missionary activity physically by reaching people from where they stay, local churches today is far enough different. The development of technology has indeed created space where the church no longer feels motivated to go out and spread the word physically. Local churches have in fact resorted to the use of technology such as ministry through screens, streaming, apps, and phones (McCracken, 2016). They have created a digital relationship, these tendencies of over-relying on technology rather creating physicality of the church among the believer and unbeliever.
Over-reliance on the technology has however created de-emphasis of the physicality of the church which has lead into a scenario where the body of the Christ is represented in the technical material rather than traditional way of theoretical sense. It is this gap which the church has created of late which most theologians argue that if not checked, there are chances that the future of the local churches is indeed in Limbo (McCracken, 2016).
However, as pointed out by some experts, the local church should start encouraging physical gathering, commemorating traditional practices such as encouraging of the Lord’s Supper i.e. mealing together in the neighborhood. Besides local churches should create bodily movement in areas of worship, helping shaking hands and hugging each other so as to re-sensitized people of the physical reality of the church and its role in the world.
Local churches also face compartmentalization. We live in an era where our lives are entirely through boxes and windows so do churches. Church communicate and post its activities and spreading the gospel mostly in the visual media to the community. All these make the entire life of churches to be informed of disconnected compartments a process which creates havoc in their attempt to enhance the spiritual formation of its believers. So the church should try as much as possible to seek to move from the idea of compartmentalization and work an extra hard in ensuring that the integrity of the church is brought back to its normalcy
The performance of local church is equally affected through boredom. Things are currently moving so fast that the congregation cannot easily remember what they learned from the church yesterday. The value of routine, tradition, and stability which usually defined the church have been rendered distasteful to the society (McCracken, 2016). It is this boredom culture amongst the church congregation which had made the church to resort to the use of gimmicks and trendiness solve the problem. However, this is ill advised since the church should instead try to lead people in praised and worship without making things to look like they are not real.
Even though local churches are allowed to operate freely, a lot of complexity still exist in their operation. The temptation reinvents the existence of the church has wholly affected the Christianity and the church life (McCracken, 2016). Currently, the congregation of local churches sees the definition of gospel differently according to how various religious scholars and theologian set them. It is these huge numbers of staffs, and the array of the final program which has, in fact, turned the churches into a bureaucratically and complex organizations.
The combination of complexity and tiresome usually impair the ability of the local churches to spread the gospel especially when the converts are increasingly removed from the mainstream culture. Therefore, as pointed of by some theologians, the church needs to acknowledge this and try as much as possible to start focusing on its core practices as well as the actual sacrament of the church so as to ensure that church does not sink in the cross-cultural sea.
Much as the church core objective and goal is to fulfill the Great Commission which Christ left for the believers to carry out, indeed elements such as consumers Christians had to larger extent impacted negatively in areas such as the growth and development. Aspect such as consumerism which was in capitalism has in fact infiltrated the church to the extent that believers have resorted to church shopping where what one gets from the sermons is entirely influence his/her entire perception of the gospel. (McCracken, 2016). People go for sermons on every Sundays at least to get something. Hence they choose which church best fit their demand.
Therefore churches should not be forced to change their teaching so as to attract the believers but instead focus on teaching what is right for the people. The church is where people come together with a purpose beyond themselves. What should be remembered is that church invites people to join Christ, and not church asking people to achieve their self-actualization.
The struggle for the balance in the current age is another challenge most local churches faced today. The World has become more polarized and less capable of nuance and complexity (McCracken, 2016).
It is through all these that local churches have been forced to struggle with oversimplifying or too curious in trying to resolve the tension and complex paradoxes of truth, sanctification, love, word, Soul, general and unique disclosure, avocation assembling and scattered mission. The struggle for balance has made local churches be torn into how best they can try and strike a healthy balance between them without creating an aspect of radicalism and extreme position.
Social media is here to stay with us; its contributions have been immense to our life some may be positive other may be negative. But the truth is, to the greater degree it has been a more harm to the local churches ability to achieve their objectives as compared to any positivity it brings to the church (McCracken, 2016). Social media create ideas such as posturing, an idea which creates dramatic obsession where the congregation of the church is fed with negative energy of pride and hypocrisy.
Social media has complicated the simple situation amongst these local churches, and instead of fixing the situation it has made it worst. Ideas of celebrity and platform all have originated from the social media. Through them, pastors currently are not concentering in ensuring the successful transformation of people but instead exploited them as an avenue where they can impress audience rather than tendering the flock of God hence making these local churches to backtrack from achieving the core mission which they were founded on to achieve.
Another hindrance to the local churches is the lack of religious freedom. As time goes by, the days for church and the ability to conduct the missionary duty of spreading the gospel are also limited. Laws are passed whereby the church is forced to incorporate some traditional beliefs which were initially not found in the church (McCracken, 2016). Most governments are forcing local churches to follow the law of the land rather than the guidance from Bible as the point of references. These legislatures are not only limiting the freedom of these churches but also hinders their smooth functionality.
Last but not least hyper-intellectualism is another key challenge which most of the local churches faced. Though theological training and rigorous rational sense for the church faith are essential, the way this practice portrays Christianity is entirely cerebral and missing something (McCracken, 2016). It is the ideas most of the pastors received from these training which does not represent the mystery and embodies element which Christianity contains; they fail to create the experience of God amongst the believers rather than just conception about Him. Hence this makes most of the converts to be more of emotional and unpredictable rather than being a rationalist and transformative.
Finally, the distrust of authority also poses a major challenge to the local churches. Most churches around the world are made up of youths; they are the ones who make the largest church population, however with the distrust of the authority in the play in most churches, they are shying away from participating in church activities such as joining the mission trip to spread the gospel (McCracken, 2016).
In conclusion therefore whereas mission field entirely covers all the areas where the gospel has not reached before, local church creates a platform on which the missionaries can use to exploit these missions field. Missionaries who are visiting these mission field rely on the presence of local churches to continue bringing more people on board so as to achieve the core objective of fulfilling Great Commission which Jesus Christ bestowed upon humanity.
2.7 Short term mission versus long-term mission
According to Macquarie’s dictionary, short term mission refers to the process in which Christian mobilized for a missionary duties for a period ranging from days to one year (Macquarie, (n.d), 2005). Most of these short terms mission usually is also referred to as mission trip. What most theologians agreed with concerning short-term mission is that, though compared with other types of mission, STM is more innovation in the global missionary map. On another side, long-term mission according to One challenge.org refers to the missionary duties which involve more to go to the mission field for more than one year (One Challenge,(n.d), 2017).
Long term mission usually allows most missionary to live in a more diverse geographical area where they get the opportunity of learning the new language, adopting new cultures of that country, as well as using their gift towards supporting the church to further the spread of the gospel. Most of the missionary involved in the long-term mission is extensively involved in research work, training of new church ministers, starting new churches, training of the converts in various areas of vocational and technological skills and creating and maintaining of discipleship.
According to the survey carried out by Robert Priest 2006, the result showed that short-term mission has been on a greater rise amongst Christion missionary. The data revealed that close to 2.1% of all church denomination member which account to 1.6 million people had had a short term mission in the past year (Robert, 2006). Out of the above figure, 3.6% of those who participate those short term mission were young people. It is this vast amount of individuals who are attracted to the short term mission which has made it not go without criticism from the expert. In their book When Helping Hurts, Brian Firket and Steve Corbett noted that as compared with the long-term type of mission, STM has led to more destruction than the right which it was intended. They pointed out that due to STM, a lot of unjust paternalism, increase the lack of knowledge of the local culture, wrong motivation amongst the team members, the decline in the local ministries and pastors as well as massive spending as the key challenges which come along with STM.
Although STM has more contrasted with a long-term mission, what most theologians and expert agreed upon is that this type of missionary is there to stay (Long, 1973, 17). Basing on the survey done by Chandler, from 1960, from the missionary which was interview back then, only two percent conspired the STM. However, these numbers are on the rise because by 1970 the number went up to 10% and the reverse was noted in the case of the long-term mission (Long, 1973). In areas of publicity, compared with long terms, in the period of 12 years (1964-1976), close to not less than twenty articles on various short term mission has been published. The number of the workforce in the short term mission increasing to 600%, from workforce of 20000 missionaries to 120000 missionaries (Maust, 1991). And by the mid-1980s’ close to half of the numbers of missionaries oversee were on a short term mission. Regarding the figures of the organization supporting STM, this has grown from the just dozen to 450 within a short period (Maust, 1991).
Though this has given STM a leverage as compared to LTM, some missions abroad have decided to stick with the latter, and they their board prefer not to appoint short term people. Besides, in areas such as North America, the STM is currently left for missionaries from Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brazil and South Africa amongst other countries (Long, 1973)
As examined by Dayton, the long-term mission is by far struggling to cope of with the rapid increase of STM in America. By 1973, Churches of Christ, for instance, pointed out 1632 number of active long-term missionaries, however, these figures have substantially declined and of recent only 1000 long term missionaries are in operation in USA (Dayton, 1973)
By contrast in areas of financial support, short term mission close to 6000or more donors is raising fund for both individuals and churches who are involved in the short term mission. It is this kind of support which has made STM grow close to six times as many as long-term mission
As compared to the long-term mission, STM individual elements have made it grow as compared to long term. Expert view these factors as the key reasons why donor and others agencies prefer supporting STM against LTM.
Whereas long-term mission entire focused on projects as the mission which requires a long time to fulfill, STM on the other side focuses entirely on short term nurture of work such as visiting teachers outside the country and training them. This kind of supplement teaching which short-term mission impact on the local workers is what encourages more missionaries to adopt the philosophy of STM. Besides short term work organized by specialist such as dentist, optometric, surgeon and primary health providers usually supplement to the local medical care hence giving the STM advantages as compared to LTM
Short term mission by nature offers perfect opportunities where missionary cannot easily access the host country. Take for example when a seasoned preacher travels to areas such as India, they can easily instruct any pastor who speaks English and effort which is far much cheaper compared to when Long-term missionaries would take to carry out the same services in India. Long-term missionaries will have to require a visa for work in India. This usually makes the STM as the only mode upon which the missionary can access such country with ease. Besides short term mission allow the ministers to develop a culture where they give teaching of the gospel to other hence not only helping them to spread the gospel along but instead develop them to have a mind geared towards venturing into the missionary work themselves.
STM is the pathway upon which long term can spread their roots. Short-term mission exposed the minister especially the youths to the missionary world which in turn prepares them for long-term missionary work in future. As noted by some missionaries’ expert, mission trips give a wonderful encouragement as well as providing growth to youths who at the long run contribute to their desire to venture into long-term missionaries.
Most people have the desire to venture in missionary find their dream unfulfilled due to challenges which come along with missionary activities. However, this notion and unfulfilled dream are slowly withering away thanks to the mission’s trip some are exposed to; short term mission gives people hope and option to concur their fear of long-term commitment to missionary work abroad. As noted by Robert Bella, due to increase STM, the missionary activity by North America society has drastically declined in areas of personal commitment and on the other side, improve their self-improvements in sectors such as beliefs and overcoming their fears (Bella, 1996). Missionary, just like any other human being follows and respects the human nature, they wish to marry, have family and live a peaceful life without any constant movement. Short term mission indeed come in handy and help out in solving this kind of challenges, with a short-term mission, one does not need to worry carrying the long term tag of missionary activities.
Though some expert see this as both good and evil, it is to some extent unfortunate because this notion will automatically create instability in the society. However, on the other hand, it is good since, through this setup, it prepares the short-termers with enough knowledge and experience to become long-term mission through regular training as well as spiritual growth.
Short term mission has received a lot of thump up as compared to the extended mission. However, this does not mean that it is fully perfect. Expert has raised some degree of criticism.
They are more concern with the increase in the number of people taking the opportunity of becoming short-term missionaries rather than engaging in long-term missionary work. As James Reapsome, the editor of the Evangelical Mission Quarter puts in in his famous work, The Peril of Drive –Thru Mission Work, the speed to carry out the work makes people rush into a host country within two or three weeks and back to their own country.
The question is what kind of impact these type of the short term trips makeovers such a short time. Agencies sending them should at least evaluate the result and implication which their work achieve within these brief period. However, he further pointed out that even amongst themselves, they should strive to examine what kind of impact their activities which have in developing their full aspiration in becoming long-term missionaries(Reapsome, 1993).
Some expert views the short-term missionaries as those who are out for vacation at the expense of the church. The benefit which they accrue within these short period is not commensurate enough to the local church goals achievement as compared with the effort the outsider puts in their duties.
Much is it is true that there is a place for both short-term mission and long term, some limitation arising from the short-term trips makes scholars agree that in reality, the long-term task is far much important. Long term mission trips leave long standing impact both to the missionaries as well as to the local church.
Most of the short-term mission activities are very had to evaluate as compared to the activities of the long-term mission. Short mission heavily relies on things like brochures which are distributed to the many people who attend the public meeting. According to the report on the survey which was carried out in Scotland, the study findings showed that it is far much hard for an individual’s contributions to be determined through Short term mission.
Challenges such as different languages, the culture which participant encounters through the short-term mission make it is tough for the missionary to penetrate the heart of the national or even produce the clear report as compared to their counterparts in the long-term mission. From experience, it was noted that missionaries indeed need a bit of a long time to catch up with what mission field require them to do. This can be close to three to four years before they are fully integrated into the host country. Thus given the evidence in the activities of the short term mission indeed in it is very hard for missionaries in the short term mission to achieve this.
In a time of enough preparation to deliver adequately in the field, the short term mission’s trips underperform a lot. Since the brief period mission is not something which is durable enough, even the donor find it hard to supervise adequately and debrief the short termer hence this not only make the donor to favor the long terms but also to fully and adequately finance their activities especially when they are in the field.
One of the primary purposes of establishing mission is to develop more churches. This is indeed not true especially when the missionaries are in the short term mission. As once quoted by Samuel Johnston, about what Sir Lord Chesterfield said in 1754, a woman preacher is more like a dog walking on his hind leg. Chesterfield continues to point out that it is not perfectly done as it ought to be concerning the speed at which the work of short-term missionaries fades away. Though many churches established by short-term missionaries can last up to 15 to 20 years, the most important thing to note is that that is not long enough for the actual purpose of the achieving the kingdom.
The general verdict in the most case is that the longevity of the church development in areas is as a result of people taking their time there and understanding the right culture and language of the natives (Latourette, 64-118; Slate and Granberg, 24-51).
Much as short-termers are armed with enough word from the Bible, contextualization, useful hymns as well as qualified leadership. All these activities are product of people who dedicated their time and passion to long term mission with the aim of penetrating host culture language as well as proper interaction at sufficient levels
Finally, though very robust and quick in spreading the gospel, short term mission does not have enough time to follow up their work and see whether they have impacted the people’s life positivity and for an extended period.
2.7 Advantages and disadvantages of missions.
As observed by Donald McGavran, the mission is an enterprise through which missionary use to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and furthermore to persuade men to become true Disciples of Christ. On his part, David Grant in his book In the Gap noted that mission is all about an international crossing of social barriers which am the aim of planting communities who are the responsible disciple of Jesus Christ amongst the groups who did not know Him before. Therefore to serve in any given mission not only help one to understand his fundamental purpose of serving God but instead help him/her to take responsibility of spreading Good News to the people and the world as a whole.
Taking up a mission work usually, come with several advantages to both missionary and the community as the whole. For example, mission helps one to know and to encounter the God’s, heart. God has the bigger heart and His care to both people and nations. He is a global God with an ultimate goal of getting together families from every tribe and people of the world (Rev. 5:9). According to Grandy, when one steps into the foreign country with the aim of spreading news, missions expose it to see how amazing the compassion of God is in other cultures (Grandy, 2014). Mission helps one to identify with God in helping to the country out the duties of soul harvesting.
It not only help one expand his knowledge and understating but besides, it helps one to develop his/her limited perspective. As we all know we are stuck is what is known as spiritual ruts. Even church ministers usually get bored preaching and spreading the gospel in the same locality. Thus mission pushes pastors to move away from comfort zones all allow God to stretch a bit and sees His beautiful creation. Mission helps one to have a closer feeling on how other Christian worship God with fervor, besides mission helps one to see how evangelism can contribute in developing churches and winning new converts who didn’t know about the word before. Through missions, we can easily learn from other people and how they administered (Grandy, 2014).
Mission helps one to become more grateful, through these trips, people can learn on how to adjust their attitude every time they visit a new country. It makes one fit his/her views towards other for example mission can enable one to change his belief and views when they are with the poorer, may be when eating Papayas and frijoles in Guatemala when sleeping in the uncomfortable bed in Uganda or even when riding in an all night long train in India. Through all these mission experience, it shapes one’s mind in appreciating the little life blessings
As Grandy noted when in a mission and you are ministering alongside other Christians in another country, mission gives us an opportunity to see how The How Spirit binds people together supernaturally (Grandy, 2014). It is this kind of bonding which Apostle Paul felt when he met people in regions such as Italy, Asia Minor, Greece and others during his missionary travel spreading the word.
In missions, we build a long lasting partnership. God gave us this power to spread the gospel such that we can quickly feel the bond He has within us. Mission give as perfect opportunity where we develop the strong relationship with the aim of working for a common purpose across the racial and cultural boundaries.
Missions help missionaries to overcome fear through swallowing pride and doing what flesh does not want us to do. Mission help one build spiritual confidence to stand before people and spread the word. According to Grandy’s testimony, he pointed out on the scenario where a woman who had never preached in the church got a confidence during their field mission when she saw people coming to church and instead of running like the way Jonah ran when God wanted him to take the word to Nineveh. She instead pours her life to people who came in the church (Grandy, 2014).
Apart from overcoming fears, mission help in expanding the Kingdom of Jesus. As we also know Great Commission was not a suggestion Jesus was giving to His disciples but it command which had intended purpose. According to Mathew 28:19, the Kingdom of Christ cannot be built without one being bold, radically obedience. When the Lord said Go, therefore, He is not just suggesting, but He instead is commanding that somebody must go. There is no shortcut around it, people who are a power to spread gospel must do so, they must be willing to pack up their bag and leave their home to spread the word. Thus this does not imply that everybody can just jump into a mission trip.
Some people are limited to issues such as health limitation as well as family pressure hence making them impractical to engage in a mission trip. Besides, obey the God’s command does not mean that one must be the practically God to the field but instead can use other mean to support the mission and make it a success in one way or another. Some people who cannot go to the mission can still help those who are already in the field in their prayers as well as financial support (Grandy, 2014).When David defeated the Amalekites, he not only rewarded the soldiers who fought in the field but also rewarded those who were left behind baggage(1 Sam. 30:20-22). This is equally the same with our duties as Christian, though all of us cannot go out to minister; still those who are behind can still support those who are in the field when God is rewarding people who supported His work, the reward He will give is equal.
Therefore the true can be said about the mission that it is not the tool for just spreading the gospel, but it can also work as an avenue where people give out the blessing to the people.
On his part, Pastor Haulers, he observed that the advantages of the mission are not limited to the individual who went into the field to preach, but instead it had more impact on people who are reaching the world (Haulser, 2016).
Mission create enthusiasm and readiness for the ministry of visiting team. Lord use missions to inspire those who may be interested in serving him. As Paul wrote, “Your zeal has stirred up most of them” (2 Cor. 9:2).Through mission, people tend to learn new ways of proclaiming the word in areas such as new hymns or Psalm
Most mission trips usually call upon many specialists such as doctors, nurses as well as pastors to avail themselves to serve humanity. While remaining a profession, they often offer an opportunity upon which people can heal the suffering society at the same time practicing their profession
Besides mission trips bypasses just paperwork we carry out each day. As Brinks noted mission usually give an individual and inspiration on what they do a factor which can help most of the ministers and missions participant to rejuvenate their enthusiasm for their careers, helps them in exercising what the program is all about as well as restructure their life in generals.
For young Christians who need to get the message out of God to people in another culture, area, and religion, joining a mission trip is an awesome open door opportunity. It is a decent time for them to find an endowment of administration to God and get a chance to taste what life resembles outside their usual range of familiarity (Palermo, 2016).
Ophthalmologists wind up at the highest point of the natural way of life of therapeutic claims to fame as far as reward versus time spent in the field. We give the absolute best attitude in any field of global human services: the capacity to totally and for all time re-establish locate with a little and safe surgery. The immediate and unmistakable proof in brilliantly grinning patients at one-day postpone is unrivaled (Brinks, 2012).
Of the various advantages that are recorded, the most significant part of missions is that it plants seeds for future full-time evangelists. The greater benefits the participants on foreign mission fields during the mission trips is the ability and experience the gain which in turn equip them for the future long-term mission. The few weeks or months of full-time service can regularly be what the Lord uses to clarify his call to them for full-time benefits in future. Thus we are right to say that mission trip helps in planting the long-term seeds of one becoming a full-time missionary in future.
As a matter of importance, missions trips keep the congregation associated with ministers of the church and the minister associating with the group. Even though representatives sent to the mission field tend to feel far away from those who sent them, on the other hand, mission help to bridge the bond since the congregation will have an opportunity to see those who wrote the word of God. It’s. Therefore, this linkage which mission create between the missionary and the recipients plays a vital role in their future growth.
By including STMs with their work, our evangelists create contacts with the local as well as informing the locals about how their culture back home is like compared to theirs. Besides, the mission also helps the recipient to learn new ways and areas where they can easily visit with a purpose of serving the Lord. Alternately, the mission also equips the participants with a reestablished comprehension, concern, and love for the work as well as further desire to teach the gospel. Besides Christian mission offer clear opportunities on which the missionaries can fully and satisfy able answer, the agency on the accomplishment their churches have done so far abroad. It is through this that the sponsors of these mission trip can improve their financial support toward the great work their mission are doing overseas
2.8 Disadvantages of missions
A lot of problems do arise from mission trips especially when the missionaries do not have proper heart attitudes. Whereas church mission is all about connecting with people, serving them and also drawing more closers to Christ but if ministers do not carry such perspective the entire mission trip can easily becoming more meaningless. Though as highlighted above, certain cons have been seen to arise from the church mission. For instance, as observed by Witmer, the mission sometimes led to spread of communicating diseases. Missionaries usually bring along diseases such as smallpox, measles, even in some cases common cold (Witmer, 1885). This notion was also supported by David Igler who teaches at The University of California, according to him, he blames cases such as the rise in gems spread due to missionary activity
Mission usually create the high rate of dependence on the local people, as noted by Robert Reese, dependency arises from mission activities especially when local unhealthily rely on the foreign resources which are brought along by the missionary (Reese, 2007).Kritzinger on his part support this norm of mission dependence in his research where he reveals that dependency of the church or even an individual arise when people (Locals) starts suffering from the psychological poverty. Instead of giving the desire and self-confidence, instead, it lowers the dignity and ability to work is eroded through these mission activities (Kritzinger, 1996, p. 14).Hence though a right course, to some extent, it leads the society rot.
The opportunity cost of going for a mission to a great extent is far much undeniable. When one goes on a mission, they are precluded from carrying out some function such as further studies or peace core. After mission, it usually proves to be challenging joining studies
Just like in the rule of economics, when a commodity is oversupplied in the market, the prices tend to fall. The same notion applies to Christian missions with a lot of missionaries are mushroom and joining the already established, there is this tendency where people tend to lose interest hence making the whole process of losing its primary meaning(Carlson, 2012).Besides mission relief which is usually provided towards development makes host country poorer and poorer. Take for instance of the case of Haiti, the mission aids which they provided to a tune of $8.3 billion in 2010 has not changed the economic position of the country. Haiti still stands at 25% poorer than before the time when the disaster occurs, so it is clear that even though of a noble aim, mission still creates adverse impact to countries
Cultural imperialism and rhetoric have been observed to be on the rise due to mission activities. As Carlson pointed out little knowledge acquired from mission trips can prove to be very dangerous (Carlson, 2012). Take an example when a Chinese missionary visited America and decided to make three short excursions in Lincoln, San Francisco, California, Nebraska, and Detroit, Michigan. When they go back to their country and tell their culture all the culture of USA how they worship as well as how Christian is living back there, this will enable their countrymen to developed clear picture of America and how their people live factor which can shape the Chinese attitude and behavior towards America.
Besides, the mission has been blamed for the destruction of social structures of the converts. For instance, amongst the Akha people of South East Asia, people believe than the conversion of the non-believers is mainly to gain more personal gain. The most mission activities effort is channeled through areas Akha people consider to be unnecessary. Instead of building the clinics, missionaries are more concern with building churches a factor which proves to be unhealthier among the locals (The Black Hand, (n.d), 2015). It is through this kind of mission’s activities which have to make Akha people lose many of their traditional value. This same experience has also been witnessed by the people of Ecuador who equally blame the work of the mission to be behind the erosion of their culture as well as their traditional practices.
Though some missionaries might accomplish their intended duties back in the mission field, some evangelists accompanied by their haughty thoughts that they can operates without assistance from the local usually resort to undermining the locals residents. Without respect to the long term ministers, local church pioneers, or even the Lord, they often lose track of the core goals which took them to the field. Coupled with their lack of respect for the local culture this not only makes the host feel re-colonized but instead make them to shy away from associating with any missionary activities or projects.
Some missionaries who go on mission trip don’t comprehend the fundamental purpose of missions. They see the need of learning the new languages as a waste of time plus they take a lot of time trying to settle their families in the host country this often make mission especially the short term mission as just another alternative way to disarrange the long term mission activities.
Another disadvantage associated with the mission is that they were paying little or no attention particular rule, especially while in the mission field which in turn affect their operation. Most mission usually causes more harm than good stated, since the most majority of the missionaries in the field mainly concentrate on serving the interest of their masters. It is their intention of serving their master which makes them not pay any attention to the problem of the locals. Thus this idea which makes local to oppose their existence as well as the projects. Though it might look to be a bit little of a concern, most experts point out this a disadvantage missions bring along to their host country.
Also of the similar interest which mission trips are that with so much cash and benefits given to them, they still want to dominate everything and even how the local churches and agencies operate. Most mission still wants to dictate what and which type of the community of the project should have. They feel that since they are in control of the finances and benefit from their countries, the missionaries are the one to determine the project which they feel best for the society even if the project itself does not serve any meaningful purpose for the community.
Experts usually sees this domineering character of the mission which does influence the entire believes and norm of the society.
Christian mission trips lead to the destruction of local industries to the host country. As Jennifer Millers observe, by missionaries handing out free clothes or even sell off free cheap clothing bundles cut off from the American donation in the form of a good will to the community this only destroy the local industry of that society. Miller points out that such free offering or rather cheap clothes do leave the local tailors out of work and so can be said to the cobblers (Miller, 2015). Through mission activities, skills and economic opportunity in host community usually diminished
In areas of education, equally, can be said that mission has performed negatively towards its growth in the host countries. As Miller further observed, it’s nice to impress, especially when going to the mission trips. However, most missions have a tendency of bringing along with them the suitcase full of stationaries, though this seems to be a good idea, what many wonders are why is it hard for the missionaries to come and buy all those stationeries within the host countries (Miller, 2015). Since apart from them costing half the price, the money spending within the community will on the other end help elevate poverty amongst the community in the host country.
3.1 Research methods
The purpose of this survey is to examine in details the contribution of short-term mission activities on the mission field and local churches. To correctly understand the purpose of the study, the impacts of the short-term mission were critically examined by looking at what missions are; challenges facing the Christian missions, advantages, and disadvantages which Christian missions create to the mission field and local churches. There are several studies which have already been done about the impact of the short-term mission activities, so the study entirely compared both the secondary data from different studies in a bid to reach a conclusion on the subject of the matter.
3.2 Research Design
Though the initial aim was to apply both quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques, this study utilized the later since most data relating to the study had already been the factor out hence the study only focused on comparing other studies which had already been done previously.
The qualitative data collection used in compile this research were from the past written reports and essays by other researchers
3.3 Data Collection and Procedures
The research design mainly relied on using qualitative methods in comparing the research studies done by other researchers regarding the purpose of the study. Though the data collection was first a bit challenging since different research had divergent views and stand regarding the impact short term has in local churches and mission field. The study majorly concentrated on analyzing the positive contributions mostly as compared with the negative implications of the short-term mission.
3.4 Data Analysis Methods
The study entirely used secondary data rather than primary data in discussing the subject matter. It is this nature of the data which made this research to adopt a qualitative data analysis technique. As recommended both by Weiss (1995) and Riesman (1993), the analysis of this secondary data included: sorting, integration of data to relate with the subject, identifying the recurrent data and finally integrating all the themes to reflect what is being discussed.
This chapter examines the research approach taken to collect, analyze the qualitative data found from the secondary source. The techniques enable the analysis to compare the views of other writers in regards to the subject matter the study was examining
4.0 Impact of short-term mission to the mission field
Ever since the first mission was carried out by Edith Brown when she sent a team of missionaries with the aim of satisfying the need of Indians both in areas such medical and nursing in 1895(Millham, 1988, p. 18), a lot of growth has been seen in the short term mission. In the USA alone, close to one and a half people travel around the world on a short term mission trips and with an unknown number doing so within the US (Priest, Dischinger, Rasmussen, & Brown, 2006, p. 431). It is from these statistics which prove how important these short term mission trips are in an attempt to fulfill the purpose which was commanded by Jesus to his disciples.
Nowadays most mission agency does not prefer offering financial support to the faceless mission which they haven’t seen it impact, but instead they usually want to have the personal touch on the mission they initiate hence this has made the short mission to become a significant phenomenon(Corwin, 2000, p. 422). Hence it is true that these tremendous growths of STM have made it earn new names in the missionary world (Anthony, 1994, p. 3). For instance, according to Anthony, he termed this growth as the boom (Anthony, 1994, p. 3). On his part, Priest term this as a movement (Priest, 2006, p. 431) whereas Edmondson has labeled it as a fad (Edmondson, 2001, p. 30).
The exact definition of STM varies from scholars to scholars depending on the view of those involved in carrying out those mission. According to Rogers, he termed STM as just a short-term service missionaries offer to the society (Rogers, 1986, p. 49). On the other hand, Jeffery referred to the short-term mission as just a short term work usually is carried out by the missionaries (Jeffrey, 2001, p. 5). Millham (1992) characterizes a fleeting teacher as “a submitted Christian individuals of all ages who are typically not making a vacation choice, yet venturing out of a holiday way to serve God’s worldwide cause” (pp. 17-18). As per his comprehension about here and now teachers, despite the fact that they don’t help individuals in the mission field amid their lifetime, the heading and substance of their life ought to be loaded with preacher soul.
In addition to Mumper, categorically refers STM as a short-term volunteer on which person decides to visit a host nation with the aim of offering them a free service which they direly need for them to maintain and live a healthy life (Mumper, 1985, p. 41). Though in his view, Crawford argues that short-term mission is a fly-in missionary who volunteer to give a helping hand to the locals. Finally, Corwin on his part defines short term mission as a pasteurization of mission which is driven by the desire of missionaries to visit another country with the aim of spreading the gospel and providing technical supports in areas such as medical support, training, etc. (Corwin, 2000, p. 422). He suggested that STM might include administrations identified with particular abilities, for example, dentistry, restorative work, bookkeeping, instructing English, and other expert duties, and besides an announcement of God’s message in the mission field
4.1 Impact of STM on the mission field
In the course of recent decades, many studies have been done on the impact of short-term missions. Pocock (1987, p. 154) says that short-term missions fulfill more than substantially furnishing missions with long term specialists. Without a doubt, there is genuinely broad assertation that STM has many focal points. These advantages incorporate uncovering “individuals to the necessities of the world” (Livingstone, 1992, p. 13), growing the members’ perspective (Borthwick, 1994, p. 41). Besides short term mission helps in creating profound controls, instructing members to ask, presenting members to culturally diverse service (Edmondson, 2001), battling a materialistic standpoint, and ingraining a feeling of servanthood in the members’ lives (J. M. Stiles and L. Stiles, 2000, p. 22).
An examination was accounted for in 1991 by Short-Term Evangelical Missions (STEM) Ministries concerning changes in the observations and conduct of short-term mission members and their impact on those attending mission. As indicated by their investigation (R. P. Peterson and T. Peterson, 1991), they demonstrate “in full detail how much short-term mission encounters reinforce and affirm short term evangelists’ sense of duty regarding world mission” (p. 14). As per the report, which depended on phone interviews directed by The Barna Group with participants of 1,005 adults chosen from over the mainland United States, D. Kinnaman (2008, para. 3)
A lot of research finding was noticed numerous things. However, the depiction fits most short-term missions benefit trips. Just one-quarter of the individuals who have partaken on such an outing said it was only an affair, while a greater part said it changed their life somehow. The most famous regions for individual development that people review—even years after the fact — incorporate winding up plainly more mindful of other peoples’ battles (25%). In areas of adapting more about destitution, equity, or the world (16%), expanding sympathy (11%), extending or improving their confidence (9%), widening their otherworldly understanding (9%), also, boosting their money related liberality (5%). Others agreed that the experience helped them feel more fulfilled, end up being more grateful, develop new allies, and supplicate more.
The examination group found that individuals who did local mission benefit announced a similar level of extraordinary encounters as did that short-term mission abroad because short-term mission itself helps members. Tuttle observed that there is a great deal to the estimation of short-term missions than simply the profound development of deputies. To utilize his words, “The best esteem would be that the individuals who are tended to would come to know Christ in a person and close way. Nothing could be more important” (Tuttle, 2000; 138). K. Johnson exhibits a few essential explanations on the impact of short-term mission.
Short-term mission encounters offer a compelling approach to instruct and educate church individuals. Second, they convey the Pioneer’s confidence in his or, on the other hand, her gatherings. Third, they share members on service and God (Johnson, 2003, pp. 13-14). In his article, R. Friesen presents a couple of the intriguing investigation which pointed out the positive effect of the short-term mission (Friesen, 2005). Friesen observed the following: Diverse short-term mission assignments have a critical enduring and positive impact on members’ valuation of the worldwide church when contrasted and the effect of household duties.
Short-term mission members who serve on task as groups (as opposed to as people) encounter necessarily more prominent development in their estimation of Christian people group. (Friesen, 2005pp. 450-454)
Short-term mission, as J. M. Stiles and L. Stiles put it, can be an adventure from the head into the heart of God. Honestly, cross-cultural encounter develops a man’s closeness to God (Stiles and Stiles 2000, p. 21). In this viewpoint, the short-termers are the essential recipients by and large (Barnes, 1992, p. 381), since they may end up being more required in the congregational life and development encounter through their short-term mission cooperation. It is agreed that “the potential forever change a consequence of support in here and now missions as a particular in addition to” (Blezien, 2004, p. 14). Youths commit their lives to God because of their encounters in the mission field. Clergymen are considered, evangelists are illustrated, and therapeutic administrations pros are stirred.
In their book, Baby Boomers and the Future of World Missions, J. Engle, and J. Jones say that “short-term mission benefit fabricates vision; furthermore, STM helps in proceeding with intrigue more than anything else. This system lies at the heart of persuading future missions benefit and money related support” (Engle and Jones 1998 p. 4). Hence, they recommend that nearby houses of worship used by the short term mission for preparing people in the congregation. Thus, they infer that “a fleeting purpose is an absolute necessity” (Engle and Jones p. 28).
Indeed, STEM (Engle and Jones1991, p. 29) recommends that a congregation ought to give an opportunity notwithstanding for less dynamic church individuals. A nearby report regarding this matter was done at Calvin Theological College which uncovered that fleeting effort builds the member’s petition for missions, money related giving toward missions, mission-related training/exercises, and the probability of returning for all the more short-term mission encounters (McDonough and Peterson, 1999). In the examination, they additionally found that “such a very evaluated impact of the transient experience is a reliable sign that short-term mission do assume an imperative part in rousing the individuals who take an interest and do wind up serving long haul” (McDonough and Peterson p. 20).
Short-term mission encounters allow members to test their culturally diverse capacities. Some propose that transient Christian missions are a successful approach to enrolling long term preachers (Whitner, 2003, 56; Harris, 2002, 43; Bush, 2000, 18; Massaro 2000, 874; Tuttle, 2000, 133-134; Barnes, 1992, 376). Jesus expected the short-term mission to be an essential connection to long haul minister association—regardless of whether as a profession evangelist or as a bolster individual back home. Jesus needed His devotees to serve Him to (or “to intend to”) completing the work of the gospel the length of their life endured through these brief mission encounters (John 4:34).
Along these lines, a few mission offices utilize short-term missions as an enlisting instrument for their long-term programs (Whitner, 2003, p. 56; Tuttle, 2000, pp. 133-134). McQuilkin gauges that “maybe upwards of 90 percent of profession preachers from North America today have had a short term trips (McQuilkin 1994: 260). As indicated by the report of J. Kwon (personal correspondence, October 26, 2008), who is in control of The Pioneer Mission Movement (PMM), a Global Mission Project of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD). With the end goal of new church planting in its domains, a significant portion of the fifty-seven PMM evangelists today have had short-term mission encounters, and twenty-three of them had filled in as a missionary abroad for more than one year before they connected for the PMM.
However, short-term missions have additionally earned much feedback (Zehner, 2006, p. 510). Faultfinders take note of that time and again short term mission constitute religious tourism (Lo, 2000, p. 437; Slimbach, 2000, p. 433; and Adeney, 2003, p. 86) and can overburden nearby ministers, associations, and church specialists. Numerous members need dialect attitudes and the social and clerical preparing required for cross-cultural work (K. Johnson, 2003, p. 83; Slimbach, 2000, p. 432).
They can energize financial and ecclesiastical reliance (Slimbach, 2000, p. 431). The propensity that short-termers are excessively goal focused is additionally a feedback of short-term missions (K. Johnson, 2003, p. 18; Livermore, 2004, pp. 458-466). Also, many concerns noted as to short-term mission identify with cost adequacy, restricted outcomes, and limit of the minister (Massaro, 2000, p. 874; Spicklemier, 1984, p. 172; Whitner, 2003, p. 56; and Forward, 1998, pp. 44-45). Utilizing (1993) contends that “the outings are too short to have an effect.
Furthermore, that they remove evangelists from their customary routine and interfere with their work” (p. 33). Rickett (2008) additionally accept a firm disposition about the motivation behind why some short term missions are not compelling because “they are short” (p. 44). Beyond any doubt the brief mission is short, and the more extended the mission encounter, “the more profound and all the more enduring its effect on members’ convictions, states of mind and practices” (Friesen, 2005, p. 450). In any case, bouncing to the conclusion that missions do not work due to their short term is not sensible. On the other hands, there is a constrained impact from short-term missions; it is our part to discover and think about more successful approaches to augment its quality.
In actuality, Friesen has precise information demonstrating those steady families, what’s more, holy places can make a huge, positive commitment, and that various short term missions encounters are moving members more profound into mission life. The proof appeared by Ver Beek, teacher of human science also, third-world advancement at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, shakes the essential supposition of the current positive hypothesis about here and now missions. The most sensible counterview on the impact of here and now missions is that there is no obvious contrast in the profound way of life of members prior and then afterward short term missions benefit (Ver Beek 2006 p. 480).
As indicated by Ver Beek, customary short term missions don’t do much by any means. In his review of 127 North American short-termers and 78 Hondurans for whom they assembled new homes after 1998s Hurricane Mitch, Ver Beek found that neither one of the groups had experienced noticeable life changes. In any case, the oversight that he makes is in imagining that the few negative outcomes overpower the various positive results of short-term missions. Inside the restricted furthest reaches of his considered results, it might be valid. In any case, two or three negative outcomes do not demonstrate that transient missions don’t work.
Also, Priest pointed out that whether short-term mission encounters abroad enhance inter-ethnic connections at home is vague (Priest, 2006, pp. 441-443). He even questions how much short-term mission’s faces abroad influence the mission exercises of the neighborhood church in the group. We have to make an exhaustive examination, break down the reason for these negative viewpoints, and compensate for the powerless focuses so that we can achieve more important outcomes. I should have more to say in regards to their decisions later on because the motivation behind this venture is to outline the best model for the short mission of the nearby church that limits its inadequacies and can be connected to group evangelism.
As pointed out by Van Engen, missions have also treated the recipients as just a less unfortunate object which required a rescue rather than considering them as equal and people who they can walk and even learn. This undermining aspect has however created an idea of benevolent colonialism or to the extreme point created a sense of malevolent generosity (Van Engen, 2000:22, Allen, 2001:44, Slimbach 200:431)
The increase in prayer amongst the local, as well as their commitment towards the missionary’s activities, is another significant impact which mission has contributed. According to the study published by STEM from the mailing sent to over 900 alumni of the organization about the views towards the impact mission creates (Peterson and Peterson, 1991:4). From the survey, it was pointed out that most of the participants from the study argue that through the mission. Their attitude and feeling had changed drastically as compared to before they had contact with the mission, it is this kind of improved prayers which indeed has made people feel more close to God which has, in turn, made them experience real change in life
In areas of changing people’s view towards taking part fully in the mission, a lot has been achieved through the impact this mission creates especially in changing the way people see the entire call. For example in the follow-up study carried out by STEM alumni in 1996 which included 432 respondents, the survey reveals that through the teaching and conversion by people in this mission, majority of individuals showed the likelihood that they are willing to take part in the missionary services(McDonough and Peterson, 1995:5)
Spiritual growth is another important impact mission has managed to impact on the locals. In his research, Tommy Purvis wanted to approve the relationship between the increase of spiritual and the mission’s activities. His research involves a group of 79 participants from the age group of 15 to 80years drawn from around the world. Though the research was at first geared toward the impact to the future financial support to the growth of future missions, Tommy refuses to ask the question directly but instead concentrated in asking the question on how the mission has created spiritual growth. The result, however, made him observe how it is not only the financial support which mission give to the local but instead they also grow spiritually to the mission activities (Purvis 1993). From the research, he noted that 91.7% feel that mission’s activities do make them grow spiritually. And to further ascertain the truth behind this, he decided to carry out a follow-up test by directly asking the question on spiritual growth concerning mission activities; the result almost remains the same with close to 62.6% of the participant agreeing that indeed the mission helps them to grow spiritually.
Another outstanding impact of the mission to the people is that it has assisted in mobilizing and disciplining of generation for the end time harvest as well as the building of the Kingdom of God (Burkerholder, 2002). Mission through the organization such as Youth Mission International (YMI) has been credited to be the key mobilizer of people to serve God and build His church as was commanded by Jesus in the Great Commission. YMI strategy has managed to include more youths from different age groups to join the mission and serve God. In it SOAR programs, YMI has open up a route to which teens and young people can adhere to the mission and experience the cross-cultural and discipline ship training during the mission.
Besides, the mission has also enabled the youths in the host nation to realize their talents through offering them training in vocational areas. For example through TREK a program under YMI, the mission has managed to further grant vocational ministry where opportunities are given to youths to exploit their talent fully in various areas (Burkholder, 2002:16).
Relieving the suffering of humanity has been equally attributed to the work of different mission around the world. For instance mission organization like the Berkshire Mission group has been credited as to be behind activities such as medical support etc. (Young 2006). Organized by Bob Young who was a member of Berkshire Hill SDA, the group has managed to travel in the various region including six times between the Central and South America. During these mission trips, they have managed to construct medical, dental, optometry, evangelism industry as well as community services where they can support the community in various areas with the aim of elevating them from many suffering they are facing. It is no wonder different people in areas where the missionary has managed to visit has had a positive attitude towards the mission activities.
Besides mission has been pointed out at the core limiting factors towards the multicultural team growth. In the research carried out by Gary Friesen, he noted that through missions people tend to have a improve attitude towards other cultures, respect to their value and reconciliation between the Western culture and the local culture (Friesen, 2004). This cross-cultural integration not only develops the church but also give opportunities from both sides to growth their views toward attitudes towards one another.
As stated in the Bible, Jesus commanded His disciples to go out and spread the gospel hence this give the birth of the first mission among the humanity. Therefore we expect that the core of the Christian mission is to do what Jesus initially commanded His disciple to do. Now the question one should ask him/herself is whether this mission which was carried out after the demise of the last Jesus apostle by missionaries has impacted the lives of those who have had a contact with the minister. As Kendal Conner points out, indeed missions have full filled to a greater extent the Great Commission which Jesus left to His disciples.
Missions have indeed helped a lot in casting the vision of the Global Church (Conner, 2014). As we all know, the body of Christ is a global fellowship. It is made up of various languages, tribes, and different cultures. Even though one might claim that when he/she visits the church, they have an opportunity to see the beautiful picture of the body of Christ, what should be noted is that this is not enough at any cost. We still need someone to add more knowledge on what we already know, and that is the role which mission is already helping in achieving. Mission has provided the unparalleled opportunity for both the missionaries and the host; it has provided a clear witness of love and fellowship of believers in a more cross-cultural context. Through mission, we have been granted as a chance to see the power of God and how the gospel is indeed the power through which God wants us to see the salvation and to believe in him.
In mission group activities we have been accorded an opportunity to expand the God’s mission to the local churches. Jesus commands His disciples on a resounding mission for all the believers to prove the God’s saving grace. It was a call to share the Gospel Truth everywhere be it overseas and cross the street. Conner points out that by mission agencies are sending people to the mission field, they are in fact fulfilling the Great Commission (Conner, 2014). It is through this mission where close to over half of the world population has managed to receive the gospel.
Most mission activities have entirely been seen create the positive impact; we cannot neglect the negative consequences which mission has set up to various countries. Through mission, people have indeed embarked on an attitude of “Missionary can be fixed it.” The majority of the host nation no longer put effort even in things which they can quickly to fix by themselves. This has led to cultural weakness amongst the locals a factor which gave the missionary over confident to the extent that they cannot evaluate the cultural background before applying the solutions to the problem they host nation faces (Reese). Take for example in New Orleans alone, when the hurricane strike, the local were too much confidence with the missionaries activities. However, this gave the missionaries so much confidence to the extent that they fail to take keen account of the local situation thus left thousand and thousand to the hurricane victim to lack means through which they could exit the town.
Equally, can be said that mission usually tends to create that nation that locals ingenuity to fix their problems. Missionaries hurriedly fix problems in few day they visit the host community, and then they return home feeling satisfied that the job they have done is perfectly fine. However what most of them don’t realize is the long term result of the quick fix solution. As noted by Jo Ann Van Engen, mission group usually want to solve the problem quickly; they make third world Christian feel incapable of doing their things. Instead of them working closely with the local, overshadow the local which in turn make them develop the missionary do it attitude hence leading the locals not only frustrated but unappreciated. Besides, since the group only staying in the host nation within a short period, this makes the local to pick up from where mission team left but without the sense of continuity as well as competence (Van, Engen, 2000:22).
One of the areas which also been pointed to be as result of the mission is a dependency. Mission not only support the host but instead create a tendency where the host depends on the foreign resources, personal and even ideas from the Christian groups. Entirely in the mission history, dependency by the local has been from the way the missionaries import their foreign ideas in areas such as worship, church organization and management, their institution and theological ideas. Since the local could not manage such kind of system, they usually rely on the foreign to help them manage all of them correctly (Reese, 2005:151). It is through this kind of dependence which makes local to detach themselves from missions activities since they feel that all these are no longer theirs and in turn, they have been rendered powerless through these intentions/actions of the strangers.
Mission has been at the forefront in encouraging globalization amongst the people. They declare that the world is flat. As noted by Thomas Friedman, through mission activities, the world had managed to embraces technological invention where both nations can easily operate anywhere as well as do multinational workforces (Friedman, 2005:5). Since these missions are global and the impact of globalization binds them, in fact even their operation has been affected a lot negatively. Through globalization, the evangelist has capitalized in this globalization as a way through which they can influence the progress not only in the home countries but to the rest of the world (Terry, 2004:174). As Terry, further points out, globalization shapes the mission movement technically, financially as well as informationally (Terry, 2004:174).
Though most Christian missions agree with like of Sachs and the rock star Bono that Christian mission groups can use their concert to eradicate things like disease and poverty by ensuring that the finances they get are channeled to the organization such as aid agencies, churches, and government. Some mission group’s workers instead get motivated by the sense of adventure where they see global poverty an avenue through which they can use to tour around the globe. On his part though, Van Engen, criticized all these, he argues that these missions are the partial responses to the rise and growth in global poverty. He further pointed out that money in most mission is spent in trying to learn about the poverty in the less develop nation can be used instead to address the core cause of poverty in these countries equally (Van, Engen, 2000:23)
4.2 Impact of short-term missions to the local churches
Thus, short-term missions have dependably been a piece of God’s arrangement. Well, known short-term missions teachers incorporate Jonah, Peter, and Paul. Their names help us to remember their missions to particular spots to do individual assignments for short time frames. This reality alone appears to crush any philosophical contention against short-term missions.
There is a concurrence on the point that the connection of short mission and the congregation is excellent and profound. Short-term missions advantage most church individuals, and all people who partake in the mission group.
Greene additionally clarifies the impact of short-term mission’s encounters on the congregation: Short-term mission’s specialists are changed because of their encounters, and that change can endure forever. They take a gander at the world in an unexpected way. They start to comprehend the Great Commission. It ends up plainly applicable in their nearby group of “Jerusalem” and Judea, Samaria, and the furthest parts of the earth. (Greene 2003 p. 19)
He calls attention to that short mission encounters help temples satisfy Jesus’ precept through evangelism and mission and eventually it prompts the recovery of the congregation. Light body states the accompanying: The nearby church is the key organization to empower and commission short term ministers and to have them report back. That cycle fortifies individuals, not directly to go, be that as it may, to give and ask. Short term mission teachers need to know they are their congregation’s ministers. The congregation will get back a great deal more than it gives. (Light 1996 p. 26).
There is a proposal here, on the off chance that translates it accurately, that the advantages of a congregation taking an interest in the missions endeavor are extremely impressive. A very much outlined culturally diverse experience can permit returning evangelists to see needs that have dependable existed in their home groups. White says, in this sense, when nearby holy places get included in sharing the gospel in far off nations, all exercises, incorporating evangelistic work in the home group, prosper (White 2002, p. 27). Consequently, a congregation must end up plainly culturally diverse in its “standpoint” (Beal, 1992, p. 38). Taylor (1996, 1) likewise concurs that short-term missions have contributed firmly to God’s Great Kingdom Enterprise. He appears unique advantages of short trips. I cite two of them beneath: They can make the individuals who go a longing to serve more fundamentally in their home houses of worship—maybe utilizing recently procured abilities, and by and large with a more conventional point of view. Short-termers can witness the effect they can make their case, evangelism, discipleship, or the utilization or, on the other hand, exchange of their particular abilities. Through their administration, they reinforce the on location, long term service.
A noteworthy reason for short-term missions is to enable senders to see and take an interest in the work in the mission field. Whenever this happens, the short-termers come back with a restored thankfulness for the teacher and a more prominent enthusiasm for the reason for Christ all around. One may state, as Forwarding question it, in reality, does, that mission groups empower and reinforce the congregation (Forwarding, 1998; 38). Neighborhood sending temples can advantage tremendously from their individuals who get the open the door to tell about their experience as a transient teacher. They impart in the gathering a solid feeling of pride in their congregation. As a result, the group will send and bolster all the more short term ministers since Chapel individuals have been enlivened, tested, improved, what’s more, inspired by the people who take an interest in here and now missions.
As Anderson and Saucy put it, “On the off chance that we would help individuals develop profoundly, we should enable them to wind up plainly as dynamic members and not unimportant onlookers or essentially Bible understudies” (Anderson and Saucy 1997p. 8). If individuals’ convictions are changed as they follow up on them, at that point, the congregation must discover approaches to enable all adherents to experience their confidence in down to earth life.
There are a couple of things more intense in the profound life than the sense that God is utilizing one for His Kingdom (Tuttle, 1998, p. 56). The bleeding edge involvement of a transient mission experience may help to extend a person’s comprehension of their helpfulness when in accommodation to God. Consequently, all temples that fantasy of the recovery of their king ought to give different otherworldly encounters, for example, short-term missions. In other words, short-term mission meetings advance church recovery. Likewise, short-term missions have assumed a part in preparing church pioneers, including youthful experts. Like this, this is a great technique for developing pioneers of a nearby church. Kim on his part contended that transient missions are an absolute necessity for the major individuals from a nearby church because of their discipleship preparing character (Kim 2001, p. 22)
5.0 Future of short-term missions.
The growing phenomenon which accords the believers an opportunity experience life and ministry in foreign culture and language over the short period is not something which can be predicted to end anytime soon. With the pattern being on the ascent it is evident that the future of STM is far from declining. For example from the beginning of the modern mission era in 60’s and 70’s STM through its program in areas such youth ministries such as YWAM (Youth with a Mission) growth potential has accelerated each year rapidly with it declining not appearing in sight anytime soon. Hence it is, therefore, true that STM still has a long way to go and even to achieve greater opportunities through its operation.
As pointed out by Margaret Lyman on her Fuller Theological Seminary report, the STM rate of growth lies between 250000 to one million per year as from 1992(Lyman, 1992), though some expert estimate that the number is much high. This is indeed putting the growth trend of STM to be far much beyond the reach. Therefore to discuss the future of the short-term mission, the research aspect such as how big, the STM is, its grass root organization as well as how decentralized the movement is has been the core of the discussion.
5.1 The size of STM
According to the data derived from the random survey by Christian Smith, he noted that 29% of all the 13-17 years old participant has indeed volunteer into the STM. Besides 10% has been in the STM at least three or even more times this translate to 2 million participants in the age group 13 to 17 goes for STM annually (Priest, 2005). With such massive number of the youth member joining STM, it is, therefore, true that it is just the beginning for short term mission growth. On their part in supporting the massive growth of STM, researchers Robert Priest, C.M. Brown, Steve Rasmussen and Terry Dischingers estimate that the annual STMers is well over million a year. Their data was derived from the national survey taken which shows that 2.1% at least has gone for STM trip during the past year (2005) amongst which 3.6% went to these trips when they are teenagers. In summary, according to their research close to 1.5 million Christian annually apply to the STM trips (Priest, 2006: 432).
With the movement in STM not planned, usually STMer just start as an isolated case, but with time people take these short term mission trip as just a norm which in turn attract more people to it leading to the growth of STM. It is this kind of trend and growth which has made theologian Dr. Sherwood Lingefelter who is the dean of the Fuller Theological Seminary School of the World mission to term these massive changes of STM as the biggest missionary change in the global arena of the Christian missionary. He further pointed out that whereas we have a declining career recruit, the STM participant is not far from declining it is indeed these increasing participants in the Short-term mission trips which indeed put STM to be the safest route to growth (Allen, 2002).
As Stan Guthrie points out the future of the STM in on the right path not only to grow now but also to expand in future. With factors such as the baby boomer and Buster’s has played a lot towards supporting mission’s representative rather than faceless mission, STM is indeed in the best way to expand and continue to grow. In addition to the above, by putting up new schools or just using media to show the ministry life of Jesus Christ. These ideas will not only help the missionaries in improving their missionary activities but also assist them to avoid the painstaking of learning new cultures, languages, and religion of the people(Guthrie, 2001:86)
Equally of an outstanding value towards the growth of STM, the number of youths currently taking part in STM has not only give the future of short-term mission the green light but instead open up more avenue through which mission can venture in and continue with the Great Commission. Youths are known to be very dynamic and robust in carrying out their duties, and equally, can be said in their roles in supporting the STM in achieving their objective. As observed by Barn, STM has become the more competitive program as compared to others programs. This robust growth of STM attributed to its youth base composition and that number of financial support they receive from agencies which support the missionary activities across the globe (Barn, 2000).
In his view, Linhart believes that with many youth ministry leaders who engage themselves in the short term mission trips, the experience they gain from all these activities will influence their views towards other cultures but also help shape their attitudes towards taking up the long-term mission careers (Linhart, 2006:453). Holzman in his part argues that with clear testimonies how the STM has indeed impacted the converts life it is necessary right that more people are bound to support and also take part in short term mission trips in the future to help in supporting the Great Commission. For example, case in point is of Warren Day, the director of personnel at AIM International puts it in his testimonies, he said that together with his wife during his three short-term mission trips changed his views towards mission a factor which has made them consider taking missionary services as the long-term career. Though they wanted to only understand about the ministry the experience they had during these short mission trip in areas such as cross-cultural setting indeed has made them reconsider their stand towards the missions (Holzmann, 1988).
With more theologians setting up the new program in a way to make STM transition to LTM, it is true that it is only a matter of time before others join his course of transitioning the views of people towards making mission achieve their objectives. For example, Monroe Brewers developed a ten points program on changing the views participants of STM with the aim of ensuring that they do not just stop the missionary activities at the end of their STM visit but instead ensure that they continue with it too long term missionary(Brewers, 2000).
With grassroots movement with the STM, the future of short-term mission is defined, take for instance where youth pastor take mission activities as part of their job and decide to take the entire youth group to areas such as Mexico, West Virginia, Haiti or even Guatemala for a mission trip. This kind of devotion by the youngsters will not only influence other youths from other countries to organize the same but also will shape their opinion towards taking the mission trip as part and parcel of their life (priest, 2006). To further support the opinion on the future growth of short-term mission, James Engel on his view in his famous book “Baby Boomer and the Future of World Mission argue that short-term mission is equally critical in any Christian society and it is a must. Besides, he observed that any organization which does not support or even provide an option on which to encouraged the short term mission is indeed will face a workforce crisis within it (Guthriel, 2001:88)
Though many factors are pointed out at the key indicators towards shaping the future trend and growth of short-term mission trips, the real objectives of this STM are what observed as the subsequent determination of its existence.
5.2 Future objectives of STM
Many theologian scholars have been in different opinion upon what purpose or goals of this STM are; some wonder whether STM will give a quick fix towards the world of evangelism. Other argue whether it will help in solving the problem of the poor and underprivileged people of the society or just will it contribute to improving the entire world. As Kathy Clark points out in her report, with close to 99% of the people within LTM organization has experienced some elements of cross-cultural experience, it is true that STM is the only avenue upon which long-term missionaries and developed and shape altogether (Loobi, 2000).
A lot of question lingering on people mind on who is responsible for evangelizing to the world as well as to accomplished the God’s task of spreading the gospel. In his own opinion, John Holzmann wrote that before STM people were expected to join the life commitment in serving God without anyone encouraging them to do so but that has not yielded the results as was expected. However, he instead points out that this can be changed through short-term mission since short term mission has got the first-hand evaluation to the opportunity the missions entirely offers to the missionaries.
But the majority of people within the mission industry argues that STM not only provide the missionary candidate a clear opportunity to discover what they expect and a lot to join the agency whom they work with but also to learn the type of people who are joining to work for them(Holzmann, 1998).
As one of the primary objectives of STM is providing the much-needed service to those, who are poor. Most proponents argue that with the kind of support STM is offering to the needy on top of spreading the gospel, the majority around the world sees it as the only way out from their suffering hence making more participant engage in it thus leading to long term support. It is through above objective that STM has indeed strengthened the member’s faith base as well as acting as the stepping stone to which young people use to consider long-term mission careers (Ver Beek, 2006:478).
STM provides a way through which ethical hope of participant is to raise. Indeed it has proved as the clear avenue through which awareness, deeper faith, improving Godly characters as well as fostering the more profound compassion towards another can be achieved. However, one of the worries which have been pointed out towards hindering the growth of STM is future is when its role of awareness fails to make any tangible action. This will block the people feeling of connection with the mission or even affect the performance of their duties for services and mission (Linhart, 2006:454).
As Paul Borthwick, a professor at the Gordon College puts his views on STM, “God uses the Short-term mission and the cross-cultural experience to transform the people theologically vies towards the world. He points out that through commitment and expertise of individuals through the short term mission, people have had the broad view of God since they have now had an experience of them working in multiple cultures. It is this kind of experience which has made most Theologian argue that STM has indeed made the Scripture to come alive. Short term mission has help people to take necessary measure in declaring God’s glory to the nation (Psalms 96:3) (Borthwick, 2001).
According to Bill Taylor in his report published in the journal of Mission Today, he noted that the for STM to achieve its goal in the future and continue dominating each and everyone’s life, it should strictly follow the following specific objectives;
• The STM should provide hand on and direct contact with other cross-cultural mission.
• It should develop a realistic visual design for the global objectives
• The mission itself should give an opportunity for everyone who involves in it to see God’s work during the mission.
• STM should be capable of driving significant intercession through facts without relying on the prayers as the essential tool.
• STM should be capable of offering reality therapy for the people who are in the mission
• STM should be capable of converting person for a lifelong intercessor.
It is these above objectives which Taylor argues that if put in place the future of short-term mission is indeed here to stay for a very long time.
Though most experts believe short term mission objective is the only catalyst which is propelling the growth of STM, Guthrie on his part argues that apart from the objective, the surge into short-term mission could attribute to how people define missionary. According to the Ralph Winter of the US Center for World Mission, Minister Definition has stretched to what another expert currently call the democratization of mission. This view was shared by Seth Barnes, an executive director of the short-term mission agency adventures in the mission, to him he observed that this current changes which what in fact are turning the people concept towards what missionary entails. Through these changes in the idea of understanding the purpose of STM, people no longer view mission as just for the elite few. But even the ordinary are now feeling empowered to at least contribute to the mission activities through offering their time and talent to make short term mission success (Guthrie, 2001:87)
As noted with proper training in prefield, real insight into cultural understanding, most people find themselves more attracted to join the mission since the worry of making mistakes or just being bombarded with the new culture is no longer a concern to any participant who is attracted to joining the mission. It is this redefining of STM which make more people take part in it. For instance, in America, people no longer see missionary service as laborious and challenging commitment to engage. Instead, they see mission especially the short term mission as an adventurous, glamorous, exotic, the see it at something to be consumed when one is free and had nothing committing to put most of his/her time. Others just see short term mission as perfect opportunity to portray their self-desire in helping others or just to educate and sensitized people about poverty and lostness (Lyman, 2004: 19-20). It is, therefore, this constant motivation which makes most short termers put more effort to STM hence making it succeed.
Though the short-term mission is rapidly growing with over millions of youth joining this movement every year, it cannot underestimate that it has gone on smoothly without criticism. Though some have been dealt with or even ignored altogether, there are some other criticisms which expert argue that should be examined and solve together for the short term mission to keep up with this growth trend altogether.
One of the primary objectives of the short-term mission is to ensure that it increases the number of missionaries joining it as well as to increase the number of new churches and to help them grow to maturity. However, this call for criteria upon which they impact is measured with an attempt to ensure that they do achieve the laid down objective. As Stan Guthrie wrote in his famous journal, Mission in The Third Millennium “Whereas the entire number of the short termer has expanded a lot, the number of long-term career worker has declined, and even the financial support towards this mission is falling. He further states that if nothing is done in counterbalancing the two, it is evident that the ministry project will just remain static (Guthrie, 2001:88),
However, on his part, Bill states that what matters for the continuous expansion trend in short-term mission is how well they address the following issue well;
1. Overstated importance of short term mission
2. Ignored national ministries which fall under short-term mission
3. The problem of trips being too short and too expensive
4. Exhausted full-timers
6. False impression created by short-term mission (Taylor 1996)
On his part, Glen Schwartz observed that the to address the criticism which arises from the short term mission, the first question experts should trying to ask them self is why at the first place there is negative experience within short term mission. Further observed that and meaning intends of the short-term mission should not only be carried out to show that the recipient cannot manage the same idea without the help of the missionaries (Schwartz, 1986).
Though it is true that the preachers should help where necessary, however, while doing so the minister should find common ground where they can still do so without making the recipients feel that they are weak, helpless and cannot even help themselves alone. Time and again short term mission has been blamed to be creating all these since their duties are not long-lived and only come within a short period and they go back. This has indeed created the negative views from people since they believe that these missions only come to show them how helplessness they are. This notion if not address well will not only hamper the future operation of short term mission to the receipt but will also make most people to shy away from joining the mission.
In his article The Gravest Danger: The Re-Amateurization of Mission, Ralph Winter argue that though mission interest is at the lowest point and expert should put more effort towards addressing the entire interest as well as carry out full scrutiny. He argues that through short-term mission, the whole process has become any Christian Volunteering to be sent to anywhere to anything without evaluating the entire process impact and contribution (Winter, 1996: 6)
As critics put it short term missionaries, in reality, lack the required training skills in respect to locals. They don’t use the local languages are in some circumstances are very inappropriate and insensitive to the local cultures, they mainly gear the effort to short term fixes instead of venturing into meaningful long-term experiences hence this make their impact to be less durable in the real sense(Ver Beek, 2006:478).
Ajith Fernando who runs the Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka observed that short-term mission still have a long way to penetrate the local there. He argues that the notion where short-term missionaries have especially to the neighborhood where they fail to identify with people not only will work against them but instead make the local to shy away from involving themselves on the duties carried out by the missionaries (Guthrie, 2001:88-89)
Another critic who has been labeled against the operation of a short-term mission is the constant claim which most leaders of STM frequently repeats is that the STM only and to his team of individual people who are mainly willing to serve their career missionaries. They also pointed that STM increases the financial giving support they give to people during the career mission is untrue and unrealistic (Priest, 2006:435). The notion supported by other studies which also proves that in reality STM just increases the avenue to serving the entire career mission, the truth is to demonstrate that incensement is far much difficult quantitatively. With the majority of the participant in the short term mission is mainly youths who have just completed their studies in colleges. It, therefore, means that their level of income is also minimal hence any claim that the participant in this mission can increase the financial support to the operation of the task is highly misguided and untrue (Priest, 2006:435-36). It is, therefore, this challenge which in reality begs the question in different minds of people involve in STM on how this openness will make short-term mission shortly.
Also, short term mission faces the question into how cheap and affordable they are. The critics based their arguments that though as it has been labeled, in reality, short term mission is, in fact, costly and the majority of people who engage in them are only out there to quencher their curiosity rather than to do any long lasting things. For example, as they point out, it takes a short termer close to $30000 traveling cost to go and build a church which worth $2000. It this kind of unbalanced spending that create a less spiritual benefit since this could easily be done by local Christian there and the only thing they could venture is only to follow up. Further, still, the critics argue that indeed short-term missions is a deterrent to the long-term missionaries which instead of leaving the local to remain dependent and confuse the impact the mission in general.
Ver Beek on his part argue that these million dollars these short-timers are spending on this short-term mission could easily be invested in long-term efforts such as building permanent schools, hospital or vocational training institution where people can be trained in becoming more beneficial to the society as a whole(Ver Beek, 2006:478).
Other experts argue that short-term mission trend of putting more effort on self-focus, short term trips or even the multiple short trips, in reality, do not make participants understand the cross culture of people. On his part, Lingenfelter argues that short-term missionary does not undergo missiologist call. It, however, make most participants in short-term mission continue interpreting cross-cultural of others through their missionary cultural framework, this has made the short-termer to take a lot of time trying to identify with another framework(Allen, 2002).
STM aim of taking shortest time possible to venture into missionary activities has not gone without more critics; expert argues that most STMers are mainly constituting of religious tourism hence can be a burden to local missionaries, church workers, and other organization.
Most of the critics argue that many participants of short-term mission not only lack interested in learning local languages as well as the cultures of the host countries which is necessary for the missionary work. Short term missioners usually engage in some activities which displace local laborer and professional which in turn course the economic dependency.
Besides expert also has pointed out that though some projected initiated by short-term missionaries have the positive impact, on the other side they create cultural imperialism since they are geared towards achieving individual goals. Short termers usually are overconfident on the oversea applicability of ministry strategy which they use home though this often proves to be much more unrealistic on the effectiveness in their mission. Besides whereas the short-term mission is supposed to have transformative effects on those who are involved in them, as they may appear in the short run, the overall effect of a short-term mission is not much enduring (Zehner, 2006:510).To support the above observation of Zehner, Schwartz pointed out a case of an incident which happened in Guyana where the Guyanese national responded to the help which the STM construction team gave them. The report reads that a missionary agency took a team of young short termers to go and helps in putting up a church Guyana, after about three weeks of concentrated effort the youth managed to complete the church and handed them to the local. The missionary return to their countries feels that they have made a solid contribution, however, after two years, the missionary agencies received the letter from the Guyana reading that the roof top of the church they built in no longer intact but instead it is already leaking (Schwarts, 1986). Such kind of incidence not only make local lose faith in the projects given to them by missionaries but also make them view what the STMers gives them as substandard. Such occurrences automatically will influence the future impacts of STMers and their overall operation.
As we all know, where there are perceived benefits, it does not take long before the local community realize what the visitors want to see. This personal interest which most STMers portrays to the town not only work against the operation but also influence what the local will be interested to see. As observed by Miriam Adeney in her report which was published in the Journal of Missiology entitle “Loving your neighbors while using her.” She pointed out tourism is indeed destroying people cultural heritage. She calls upon those serve as the tourist should ask what part of their life they think they want to share with the locals, how many stories the participants would like to share with the local, how much should they be opened to the public views, how much the outside will be able to understand. All these if selectively skewed together can quickly help build the picture of the local culture and also give enough time to the local to believe in the missionaries have made (Adeney, 2006:466).
In summary, therefore, the future of short-term mission entirely lies of how well the missionary reorganizes them self in an attempt to accurately understand their point of weakness. But for the long-term missionaries, after the shorts term missionaries have departed the actual reality of life dawn on the local on the damage the short term missionaries have done while trying to help the local situation. Once this has been learned, dependency is created in the mind of the local which in turn lead to the death of self-initiative this will leave a far much more adverse effect which will, in turn, affect the entire operation of short-term mission in future.
The future of the short term mission cannot be talked of without looking at the funding issues which arise from the mission activities. Much as it does not take any miracles to know that a lot of money is spent or even made available for the world evangelism, what most expert still yet to agree to be that this amount pay is equivalent to the exact impact or benefit they receive from the activities of the short term mission. For instance, if the number of STM per is 1 million participant and the average cost of the trip is $1500 this means that close to $ 1500000000 is spent each year by the God’s people. One question which begs answer is that does return from these missions worth such and if so is this expenditure sustainable in the future and for how long.
The analysis above to some extent are underestimated since the actual scope of STM is much more complicated to determine, the number and the amount could be much higher. As socialist Christ Smith indicated in the national random survey report, with close to 29% of all 13-17 years old in America has at least attended for a short term religious mission. Out of this 10% have gone for such trip more than three times, this makes the total number of people who have gone to such trips annually to be 2 million per every year (Priest, 2005). Hence is based on the Smith data the above number multiplies itself to $3000000000
The financing issue of the short-term mission is looked from two facets, the first is the finance needed to help the National poor in creating what is termed as dependency and the second one is the investment required to complete the long-term projects.
STMers ideas of helping create the dependency to the local is a misguided effort. Short term missionaries failed to realize that this addiction cannot last long and they should gear most of their efforts in trying to encourage the local to engage in the self-sustaining mode of existence.
Without mutual partnership between the local and missionary, by understanding the kind of help they need can only lead into reinforcing dependence on the handout the minister give to them thereby weakening the operation of short-term mission activities rather than strengthening them(Lyman, 2004:18).
The above analysis, the amount which floats with the missionaries is far much more as compared to what they give to the church. The questions which remain to be answered is how long is this fund available, how productive are the financial assistance the short term mission receive are towards the missionary work. It is these two question which actually will determine the future existence and expansion of short-term mission. As Guthrie points out, most baby boomer and buster will be likely to support the short-term mission both financially, or even personally without the first knowledge of the project and their cost STM are currently carrying out. He points out that the more the real projects are, the better the financial support the short-term mission can comfortably receive.
Much as they STM might not be engaging in long-term projects like building the school. But to further their performance, if they decide to invest in areas such as showing the films about Jesus to refugee, chances are their financial support from the donor will continue hence their translate into long-term expansion in their activities(Guthrie, 2001:86).
Robert Priest, for instance, has raised the financial issues about the future existence of the short-term mission. In his report entitled, “Are Short term-Missions, Good Stewardships? He questions the rationale behind the hypothesis that if the financial backup increased, the number of individuals serving in this mission automatically increase. (Priest, 2006:435). However, this question still reminds answered since the truth is the depletion of fund available for the mission by STM can lead to the reduction of the support needed for people to continue involving themselves in the short term mission activities.
Metaphorically, Priest compares the financial assistance given to the local church by STM to prairies grassland where cattle graze freely but in a circumstance, they have been invaded by intruder like sheep, so this makes the animals to face a competitive disadvantage. With the increase in funding for the short-term mission, more people are attracted these usually live those who had already been in that field with the competitive disadvantage. Hence this could quickly impact the career of those who would be willing to join the mission to shy away and change which has got much negative ripple effect to the future expansion and growth of the entire mission. (Priest, 2006:439)
The short Impact mission has on people usually determined how long it will have to live with us. Ideally, missions are founded by fulfilling the Great Commission. So the question most expert ask themselves is that an enterprise large as STM should be in the position to create and maintain responsible leadership of churches across the globe. As noted by Nancy Bridgeman, the director of Student Mission Advance of Hamilton based in Ontario in Canada, STM mission usually attracts more people out of 100 people 2 or 3 usually undertake to go to the field. Out of this figure, 25 of 100 participants who go to mission fields often are involved in the short-term mission with the aim of becoming long-term missionaries (Holzmann, 1998). Therefore with this kind of attraction STM has expert believe that this attribute derived from the impact which the short-term mission have on both the STMers and the recipient which in turn translated to the future growth of the mission in altogether.
Most effect of Short-term mission can be seen to be through how effective it is developing the Christian Disciplines. With limited research as well as evaluation of most short-term missions, the question of how STM affects the growth and development of regulations is what most scholars are battling out. On his part, Randal G. Friesen investigated the influence short-term missions. In his study, he compared the two groups, those aspiring to be involved in the long-term mission and those who prefer the short term mission. His finding was quite unusual, while he noted that both groups had positive growth in developing future Christian Disciplines. The long termers indeed recorded a low score about the future evangelism as compared with their counterparts on the short term mission (Friesen, 2004: 229).
Therefore from his analysis, we can easily prove that though faced with many challenges. Still, the future of short-term mission is far much in place since people still see it as an avenue through which they can venture to help the fulfill the high commission.
Equally of importance is how the short-term mission impact on the construction of the team. As Kurt Alan Ver Beek, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Calvin College reports short mission joined the local ministry so that they could build Hondurans to build 100 homes. The result which was noticed between the relationship of the STM impact and the mission’s objectives prove that it is no difference between the two. Short term to some extent helps in building the firm bond between the local and the group agencies a factor which apparently creates room for the future expansion of the mission
Another important factor which enhances the future growth of the STM is the belief that it has towards building the mission. Many researchers have been in tassel with the issue whether STM can result into a far much generous regarding giving to the mission, the question that if actually, they do, is it true that the STM produced will continue to provide more sender as it claims. In a survey carried out by Robert Priest, the result was not correlative as such. He noted that though majority of participant who has been at one time in short term mission, the financial raise was not that active hence to some extent disagreeing with the claim that STM, in general, will lead into a greater financial giving (Priest 2005)
Finally, another equally significant impact which has been under investigation to ascertain its contribution towards the future growth of short-term missionaries the creation of career objective by the short term mission. A lot of different reports have emerged on the issues on how short-term mission has been capable of transforming the short terms into long-term missionaries. The belief that those who participate in the short mission develop the future interest in venturing in the missionaries activities. According to the research carried out by Friesen, it shows that 30.3% of all the participants in the short term mission usually have the interest in becoming full-time missionaries in future, whereas 30.2% indicates weaker interest in long-term missions. However, overall after one year, the result showed that close to 60.5% percent of participant reported the interest into the full-time mission (Friesen, 2004:225). It is, therefore, true that the contribution of the short-term is indeed significant in starting the future of the mission itself. The more exposed one get from the short term mission, the more interest thy develop in to fulfill the Great Commission (Friesen 2004:230)
In conclusion therefore, from the analysis of the impact of short term mission above, it is true there is a lot of positive contributions which both the mission field and church derives from the mission. Advantages such as creation of avenue through which more people can connect with God, development of future missionaries and ability to have close experience from diversity of culture in reality indeed making short term mission trip a must attend program by all Christians.
It is these positive contributions that people should be encourage and motivated to participate in the short term mission. Though from the research it is true that youths are taking the greatest percentages in venturing in the short term mission with an aim of reaching more mission fields and develop more churches, still there is a need of inclusivity where all ages should be represented. Since through inclusiveness the volunteers can opportunity to experience wider benefits as well as encouraging more people to join the long term participation in both financing and volunteering services
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