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

Raising the Bar on Mission Trips

You have heard the critiques of mission trips. A couple weeks ago I spent an hour listening to the pain of a gentleman who had recently experienced a very sad and disturbing trip. What made it even sadder for me was that he had found it on ShortTermMissions.com. In ten years we had never heard anything negative about the trips sponsored by this organization. I spent another half hour listening to the leader’s version of the story. It was the worst I had personally heard.

There were several complicating factors: the unexpected death of a field leader, betrayal and major theft by another field leader, numerous mismatched expectations between the team leader and four of the people on the team, and then add in drinking by the team leader. It grieves me to think about it. But it has been a kick in the pants to move ahead with two items we have been considering for some time:

1. Actively supporting Mission Trip Reviews.

MissionsTripsReviews.org provides a format where people can rate their mission trip. It isn’t as easy as rating the delivery of a toner cartridge by an Amazon provider or rating microwaves (ours just died). But it does allow participants to rate the leadership of the team and organization, the administration of the trip, and the value of the project they worked on.

It is scary to be critiqued but it helps us improve and makes us the better for it.

2. Requiring all organizations we work with to become members of the SOE.

The second action moved up on my to-do list is requiring the organizations who post trips on ShortTermMissions.com, currently 112 of them, to commit themselves to implementing the Seven Standards of Excellence in their programs.

These changes won’t magically solve all the problems, but will raise the bar on the trips offered through ShortTermMissions.com.

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