We’ve studied the research of organizations like SEND International through our membership with the Standards of Excellence (soe.org) and we’ve come to understand the problems and opportunities of short term missions.
You see, the tension in short term missions is the tendency to prioritize either evangelism or practical service. The result is that ministry leaders question the value of short term missions. But there is a way to do both effectively. We focus on spiritual formation because it is the combination of both, sharing the gospel and serving others, which is necessary to make disciples.
The research shows that missionary staff appreciate short-term missions when it is a by-product of partnership and discipleship. Long-term missionaries relish the opportunity to disciple the next generation of missionaries and church leaders. These considerations have helped us create dynamic hybrid missions courses for every Converge participant; students/young professionals, mentors, hosts, and our own international team of coordinators.
We’ve found that pre-service online learning combined with on-site training is valuable for creating a partnership between host organization staff and short-term participants. Why did we go online with pre-departure training? Because we also learned that on-site pre-departure training was too long and costly, especially for participants from majority world developing countries. In fact, we learned that by creating an online training course, participants press into personal relationships with their Mentor, the Host, and others on the field where they become a living witness for Jesus Christ!
So, we built the Converge Course to include a Mentorship and a Host-led Enculturation guided by email prompts, assignments, and step-by-step instructions to complete a personalized missions project related to their career goals.
Can you see the importance of providing spiritual formation for future leaders who learn how to make a difference for Christ and his kingdom in every sphere of society?