Since the beginnings of the short-term mission movement, ministry leaders have been meeting to share notes and think through issues and problems with a goal of doing what they do better. We all want those going out on mission trips to truly benefit spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually from their time overseas, and for those they serve and work with on the field to benefit in the same ways.
Over the years several networks have helped promote these purposes. The Fellowship of Short-Term Mission Leaders began in the early 1980’s; I attended their first conference in 1984. That group eventually gave birth to Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission.
For more than 30 years, the all-volunteer SOE leadership team brought lots of energy and passion, as perhaps only volunteers can. As the network matured, however, it reached a size that required more time and consistency that a group of leaders also busy with their own ministries could provide.
Last summer we announced a formal partnership between several ministries supporting the short-term missions movement, and now, as a member of the SOE Board for the last ten years, I’m happy to announce a recently completed merger between Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Missions and a larger, more developed entity, Delta Ministries, which carries a similar vision with complementary programs and staffing.
Last month the two ministries’ Boards of Directors met together to finish the formal part of the merger. The two days we spent together in Portland were very beneficial. I knew some of their Board members previously but appreciated the chance to share ideas and get a feel for each other’s work styles. I was so encouraged!
We who have carried the SOE banner for so long are delighted to see it given a more solid and broader platform. Together, we continue to push for excellence in short-term missions programs.