The world is more accessible to us than ever before.
Huge numbers of Christians are travelling overseas on short-term mission (STM) trips, offering their
to share the gospel and improve the lives of
The potential for impact is huge
but the space between the good intentions of teams and volunteers, and the actual outcomes for local communities, is filled with complexity that we need God's wisdom to navigate.
the potential for unintended harm is real
If we don't consider these complexities there is a real risk that our good intention's won't translate into good outcomes. We could inadvertently
We may not even realise what harm's been done.
It's time to reframe the conversation
We need to bring the perspectives of local people into the mix in order to:
We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to bring forth the true gospel.
Introducing an ethical framework to Short-term missions.
The Bible has much to say about ethics, and much wisdom to be applied to ensuring short-term missions is ethical.
Whether you represent a
this website will help you consider how to approach STM and volunteering from an ethical perspective. It outlines:
Grace and Truth
A message to the reader
In Christ, and in the gospel, there is an integral connection between grace and truth.
When it comes to truth, there are two versions; God's and the worlds. God's truth is absolute. It is firm, constant and unshakeable. It is based on God's nature and always points to his righteousness and Justice. It sets the standards for all areas of our lives. Relative truth, which is the world's version of truth, tells us that truth is ours to determine. It is based on what we feel is right in a given situation or moment in time. Relative truth isn't fixed and it bends to endorse our human desires. It is a slippery slope that can lead to selfishness, deception, injustice and harm.
In Jesus we see God's absolute truth and standards embodied. However, the Bible tells us that along with truth Christ ushered in grace. This is an important coupling; as whilst truth sets the standards, grace makes a way for us in light of our humanity. Grace is the forgiveness that covers our short comings. It removes all condemnation so we can try again when we've fallen short or failed. Grace through Jesus is what ultimately makes a way for us to be saved.
The truth and grace nexus is as important to life as it is to salvation, but truth is not always easy to hear. Therefore, when truth must be spoken, it must be seasoned with grace. It must draw attention to the standards without wielding condemnation as a weapon. It must ultimately bring hope.
There are some tough truths to be spoken when it comes to short-term missions, and you'll find some of those in the pages of this website. It would be perhaps more palatable to apply 'relative truth' to short-term missions and endorse whatever makes us feel good. It would certainly be less confrontational, but we've witnessed the lost potential and seen the harm that's been caused. As a result, we've chosen absolute truth. It is our hope that it will be equally abounding in encouragement and hope.
We've designed this website to engage the Christian community in a conversation about good and right STM standards, without casting judgement for what's been and done. It's our attempt to create a platform where we can speak truth, encourage honest reflection and share lessons learnt. We ultimately want to foster good practice in short-term missions so the 'good news' can be heard loud and clear. It is not our intention to discourage participation in STM. Quite the opposite- it is our heart to equip and encourage all who engage to engage well.
We trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us all, as a Christian community, to discover the most God honouring and others serving expressions of STM.