Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Trends in Short-Term Missions

by David Armstrong

“I’m calling from Mexico City and am wondering about what is happening with short-term missions in Mexico, especially with medical and religious trips.” Tim, a reporter with the McClatchy Newspaper Group living in Mexico City, was trying to understand some of the trends in mission trips and had been referred to M-DAT by a medical NGO. Yes, mission trips to Mexico are changing big time! The drug problems and violence along the borders have had a significant negative impact on mission trips.

Each spring we track, analyze and report to the mission community the patterns we see in the 80,000+ searches performed on ShortTermMissions.com. From 2000 through 2009 Mexico was always the most searched for country after the United States. But in 2010, Mexico dropped to tenth place and last spring it dropped to fourteenth place. Prompted by Tim’s call, I pulled up the traffic for this past fall and discovered that Mexico has dropped to number 24 in search popularity. That is a very large and very fast shift in interest. It is the magnitude of shift we saw in 2010 when a catastrophic earthquake devastated Haiti. Haiti quickly moved to the top of the chart.

With access to search data which no one else has, M-DAT is uniquely positioned to spot trends and patterns in short-term missions. We gladly field questions and share what we see with mission organizations and the general public. It is one of the many ways we help the mission community as they serve the larger Body of Christ.

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