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

Learning and Sharing in the Snow at Bear Trap Ranch

It was October of 1982. Despite the snow, a group of 70 short-term mission leaders had gathered at Bear Trap Ranch, nestled high in the Rockies above Colorado Springs. Just one phone line at the small lodge, and no cell phones in those days! (Remember?) As they walked between buildings, they kept their eyes open for black bears who liked to check out the dumpster.

They were there because they had started short-term mission organizations or led the short-term efforts for larger mission agencies. They were committed to doing a better job sending church and school teams overseas on mission trips. They shared ideas and tried to solve common problems they all experienced. And for the next 30 years they met regularly under the banner of the Fellowship of Short-Term Missions Leaders. I have been an active participant in many of these meetings.

Today, in 2014, the passion among short-term mission leaders continues to burn. Much has been learned. Books have been written. But organization and church mission leaders change, new groups are formed, and sometimes the lessons that had been learned can be forgotten. Some fall back onto the assumption that surely it isn’t that hard to effectively and safely lead a team overseas!

So short-term mission leaders who strive to improve continue to gather, still in the fall, and still led by volunteers. We now meet in partnership with Missio Nexus under the banner of the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission. The most recent meeting was just a few weeks ago in Atlanta, where we also oversaw a short-term mission track for the 1000 attendees at the annual North American Mission Leaders Conference.

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