In Part II of our four-part series on short-term missions, we look at the benefits for the host church. In general, short-term involvement can be a huge encouragement to Global South churches. It can also serve as a catalyst for the church’s ability to build trust in a community. Many times short-term missions can have very positive outcomes for the host ministry.
The following are five of those positive outcomes as we continue evaluating short-term missions and the pros and cons.
1) Provides a temporary boost to a local project.
The involvement of a short-term missions team can often provide the opportunity for Global South ministries to improve the scope and reputation of their ministry. The preparation for the visit of the team often requires promotion and increased visibility. While these increases are often temporary in nature, it gives the local believers the chance to meet new people. And it gives them the opportunity to evaluate local situations that can make their ministry more effective. The visit by the short-term team can be used as a test case when the local ministry is developing its future goals. It can also help them develop realistic expectations for future ministry.
2) Effective in evaluation of long-term fit for an international worker.
This is good for Global South ministries that are considering engaging with a long-term overseas worker. A short-term opportunity gives an excellent chance to evaluate the gifts, skills, ability, and attitude of any person considering joining on a more permanent basis. The local ministry can determine the impact of culture shock and the individual’s ability to cope in times of uncertainty. It is a good starting point for dialogue about the potential effectiveness of a foreigner in the field. A short-term visit affords them the opportunity to discover these things without a large investment.
3) Showcases the reality and impact of the ministry.
Many Global South ministries and church movements already have partners around the globe helping to resource and pray for their work. One of the struggles often faced is the ability of Global South personnel to communicate all that they are doing to their partners. When a short-term team visits, the face-to-face interaction makes true communication possible and efficient. The visits allow them to have a dialogue, ask questions, meet recipients of the ministry, and truly grow the partnership. The relationship built during these times can make future communication better and more complete.
4) Provision of specialized resources.
Whether it is manpower, funding, or specialized skills, a short-term team provides resources to the local church that may not ordinarily be available. Doctors from overseas serve impoverished constituencies that do not have medical care. Senior pastors from Global North churches train new pastors who are a part of grass-roots church movements. Teachers from the West can offer relief to local teachers working in challenging circumstances. Whatever the skills or gifting available, it can be put to good use in an overseas setting. And it can help local believers to reach new heights and learn new things to expand the Kingdom of God.
5) A Fresh Look.
It is a struggle working in the trenches of poverty, oppression, and persecution. The local believers in Global South nations sometimes fail to see all that is truly going on in their ministry. The visit of a short-term team allows those working in the field to see their ministry through fresh eyes. This could mean a renewed vision for all that God is doing. It can even be a critical eye for ways to improve their ministry. Seeing things in a fresh new way can bring encouragement and empowerment as they carry on seeking to do God’s will.