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Episode 071: How to do Short-Term Missions with Excellence - Part 4

Don Johnson

Jan 30, 2018

Don Johnson concludes our mini-series by sharing why training and follow-through are crucial to the success of a short-term mission. He describes what appropriate training and thorough follow-through looks like, and how it impacts the well-being of all short-term mission participants.

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Don Johnson has been a mission worker with SEND International since 1986. He has served at a missionary radio station in Alaska, in Far East Russia, and in the SEND USA home office. Currently he is an Assistant to the SEND US Director and chairman of the board for Standards of Excellence in Short-term Mission.  Don has hosted and led short-term teams, and has trained many short-term mission leaders and teams.

In this Episode:

  • Participating in a short-term mission is very different than being a tourist.
  • Training gives people tools, understanding, and insight to accomplish the ministry and navigate issues.
  • Without adequate preparation, short-term mission trips can lead to emotional, physical, or spiritual harm to the Goers or to the hosts.
  • Appropriate training must be a priority and intentional. It takes time, investment, and work.
  • Short term mission training should be a biblical.
  • Training should be presented by qualified instructors who have a solid biblical understanding.
  • Training needs to be appropriate for the team that is going.
  • Training needs to be timely.
  • Some training needs to be presented early in the process. Training should continue after the short term mission trip.
  • The training of team leaders is critical.
  • The bulk of the training should be focused on the Goers, but not exclusively.
  • Senders can be trained on why and how to give, on how to support the short-term mission, and how to communicate with the team.
  • Host receivers (recipients) and ex-pat missionaries can also benefit from cultural training.
  • A qualified trainer should have had training, as well as personal experience in short-term missions. The trainer should be skilled at transferring concepts to others.
  • Research shows that thorough follow-through is the weakest area of short-term missions.
  • Thorough follow-through involves capturing growth and dealing with struggles.
  • Debriefing is an event that takes place pre-field, on-field, and post-field. A habit of intentional reflection is important.
  • The GoJournal is a printed and online journal that helps with pre-field, on-field, and post-field reflection for short-term missions.
  • A hand-off occurs after a mission trip when a team leader ensures that each member of the team is connected to someone who can help them continue to grow.
  • Obtain evaluations from everyone involved in the short-term mission.
  • There is more information about debriefing a short-term mission on Episode 022: How to Debrief a Short Term Mission Team with Don Johnson.
  • Evaluations work best when there is a foundation of trust and accountability with everyone involved, and when they are discussed personally.
  • A mission agency partner can serve as an intermediary and communicator between a sending and receiving entity.
  • There are resources available at the Standards of Excellence website, at the STM Toolbox, and at ShortTermMissions.com.
  • Don Johnson can be reached at djohnson@Send.org for questions.

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