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For the first time in US history, a national code of ethics now exists to help donors, parents, volunteers, churches, field personnel and others to help distinguish effective short-term mission programs from glorified vacations. Agencies No Longer the Only Sending Entity The number of short-term mission sending agencies is on the rise around 3, US agencies currently send short-term missionaries. But what they do know is that God called them to send as many short-term groups as they can muster, to help a certain people in a certain country somewhere in the world.

However, these thirty-seven hundred agencies pale in comparison to the thirty-five thousand US churches which do the same. Thousands of people in thousands of churches also believe that God has called them to send their own church teams to help certain people in certain countries somewhere in the world. Increasingly the church sees itself as the direct recipient of the Great Commission, and is beginning to put its local feet to the worldwide task. Christian schools colleges, universities, high schools, home schools are also hearing the Great Commission call—and responding personally.

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Schools now send thousands of short-termers, often issuing academic credit for the effort. Other Christian institutions—none of them chartered or organized for Christian mission—are also beginning to respond personally to the Great Commission. Christian radio stations, campus fellowships, community hospitals and other groups have founding charter documents that state the purpose of the given group, and the purpose was something other than cross-cultural Christian mission.

Yet these groups, too, are beginning to send short-term missionaries themselves. Improved Literature Until recently, very little solid printed literature existed to guide short-term mission practitioners in their work. The little that was available was often self-published and usually provided only anecdotal evidence to support the bias either for or against of the given author.

Short-Term Mission In the Future Should the Lord tarry, the next few years will likely challenge the prevailing mission community at-large to grapple with these three changes:. As a result, many fields will begin limiting the short-term missionaries they receive to only those who comply with one of these code-setting networks. Receiving fields will therefore have demanded—and can now enforce—a higher quality of short-term mission. Formal, For-Credit Academic Training in STM Methods Several Christian schools now provide courses in world missions—and many of those provide entire degree programs in some aspect of missiology or Christian cross-cultural study as well.

But as of this writing, I know of no credit-granting institution which provides an entire for-credit degree program in short-term mission. But some savvy school administrator somewhere will soon recognize not only the importance of providing for-credit courses, but an actual entire degree program in effective short-term mission methods and strategies. The first school to actually figure this out will have applicants lined up a mile long waiting to get in. Short-term sending entities are already beginning to band together, completely bypassing the traditional mission networks.


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The US Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission is just two years old as of this writing and already has eighty members—and is forecasting membership of more than eight hundred sending entities within the next five years. The National Short-Term Mission Conference held every January in either California or Florida draws around three hundred attendees each year, helping to train short-term mission team leaders and improve short-term mission programs.

Older conferences and associations must make radical changes in order to incorporate the newer short-term practitioners into their much-needed spheres of influence. Older conferences and associations have an immense wealth of experience and insight to draw from—all of which is desperately needed by short-term mission practitioners. But history shows an overwhelming refusal for many such older groups to adequately adjust to the changing times. And the result will be newer short-term mission networks which spring up and completely bypass the very groups that could—and should—be helping them.

Conclusion Short-term mission has been around for a long, long time—at least three thousand years. It has been sometimes composed of sloppy work and selfish agendas. But with or without the help of the older traditional mission networks, the pressure of forty thousand US short-term sending entities and their one million or more short-termers has already created its own standards of best practice, better training and launched networks designed to improve the effectiveness of short-term mission efforts. Short-term mission can be a bona fide and perhaps the best?

Many of the college faculty were trained to lead these teams. Returning for their sophomore year, students and the faculty who accompanied them continued their study of mission and the Bible no longer from a theoretical vacuum, but now from the womb of actual hands-on missionary experience—student and teacher together. One year later, students then spent their entire junior year nine months overseas on a second short-term outreach usually in pairs or much smaller teams.

Students tackled the local language, wrestled with the culture, survived its gastrointestinal consequences and at times even battled the ideologies of missiology with the local missionaries. All the while, students remained engaged in hands-on missionary work as determined by their field receiving hosts. Some students had a great nine-month outreach, while others crashed and burned. When students graduated that fourth year, most were ready for some serious kingdom work wherever God sent them in the world.

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Although it varies from one YWAM base to another, the usual three-month DTS consists of about two months of training living in community students and staff together followed by a one-month short-term mission outreach, with everyone trusting the Lord to provide all the financial support needed. DTS students are taught to hear the voice of God—and then obey. What makes YWAM unique is that it is the only missionary organization that has had ministry outreach within every single geopolitical nation in the world.

No other missionary society has come remotely close to accomplishing this. Perimeter held its first mission conference in , sent their first short-termer one person for two years to Sudan in , and their first short-term team in And throughout the pre-field, on-field and into the post-field portions of each short-term outreach, Perimeter leaders are also intentional about helping develop world Christian attitudes and life-change behaviors in each of their short-termers. KTIS has since provided money, equipment and technical expertise on several occasions—most of that delivered through short-term efforts.

After selecting six of their own people, we went live on-air and recruited another two dozen people to form a team of thirty short-term missionaries more than seventy listeners made preliminary application for this team. KTIS discovered an innovative way to put international feet to the Gospel they broadcast locally every day.

They discovered how to help transform passive listeners into active missionaries. Their secret? Short-term mission. Jim Reapsome and Jon Hurst, published by Authentic. Waynesboro, Georgia, USA. Permission granted from publisher. Cannot be reproduced in any way without permission from Authentic. Current Short-Term Mission Trends With an eye toward bona fide strategic use of short-term mission for world evangelization, practitioners need to note the following four trends affecting the bigger short-term mission picture: 1.

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Among the myriad of possible answers lie six plausible explanations over the past six decades—all of which are sociologically immense and therefore outside of any missiological ability to direct or control: s: World War II. Short-Term Mission In the Future Should the Lord tarry, the next few years will likely challenge the prevailing mission community at-large to grapple with these three changes: 1. Not short-term mission trips. But short-term mission outreaches.

Not just one—but two of them prior to graduation. Although recently amended to a much more intensive short-term phase, a core piece of the original four-year curriculum requirements of Bethany College of Mission was short-term mission. Loren Cunningham launched YWAM in as an evangelistic outreach program focused on getting youth into short-term mission. Yet when speaking off the record with some YWAM leaders, unofficial estimates run as high as , or more short-termers per year. YWAM is unquestionably the largest mission sending group in the world—not because of their financial fund raising savvy and ability to pay high buck salaries—but because of their innovative use of short-term missionaries.

Wilsey said, stroking the dog, Dazzle. The top of its head was stained pink from her lipstick kisses. Wilsey violated laws governing nonprofits. Never mind that, in April, two board trustees resigned in protest , one telling a reporter Ms. On this pleasant late-summer afternoon, Ms. Wilsey, who wore a wrap of oyster-size pearls around her neck, was still wondering about those press reports in July holding that she had resigned her post as president of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which oversees her favored de Young , as well as the Legion of Honor museum.

The story of her resignation was simply not true, she said, and she had a recording of a June board meeting on her iPhone to prove it. Her coal eyes flashed when she was asked to identify the anonymous wag who had told a reporter her run had come to an end. Wilsey said. No one was going to run her out, she added. She would remain, overseeing politics and fund-raising. And I am going to laugh myself silly.

San Francisco has long had its share of society scandals to titillate everyone from the bohos of Haight-Ashbury to the swells on Nob Hill.

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People here still recall when the oil scion Gordon Getty revealed in that he had a second family in Los Angeles while married to his wife, Ann. Her name is on the Diane B. Wilsey Center for the Opera. But Ms.

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Wilsey is best known for her patronage of the de Young in Golden Gate Park. Many people credit her with saving it after the original structure was damaged in the earthquake. But friends and others who acknowledge her charitable works say she can be dismissive of less prominent peers, especially those who clash with her.

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In the end, Ms. Wilsey believes, her critics will be silenced. With the millions of dollars she has given to San Francisco institutions, she believes she should be praised, not pilloried. San Francisco society is dominated by wealthy families who settled there generations earlier. They include the Bechtels who made their money in construction , the Hellmans finance , the Gettys oil , the Fishers retail and the Wilseys real estate.

The people who are part of this small, exclusive world close ranks when a scandal breaks. A number of philanthropists refused to be interviewed for this article, including Vanessa Getty, a socialite and museum trustee with Ms. It is no different than the world of politics. And politics is something Ms. Wilsey understands all too well. She was born in Washington, D.

Buchanan Jr. Her father also served as ambassador to Luxembourg and Austria. As a girl, Ms. Wilsey accompanied her parents to Europe, where they dined with royal families and heads of state. A fountain gurgled. The outdoor table was set with pink monogrammed linens framed by nosegays of fragrant pink roses. To Ms. Picking at a skewer of grilled chicken, she said she was overweight as a child and vowed never to be fat again.

And this is my smart daughter, Dede. I just wanted to be dumb and pretty. Beauty, though, is relative. She was a debutante, and her father wrote in the magazine about her coming out. The Bo Diddley Trio played that night; guests did the step that was all the rage at the time, the twist.

Three years later, she married John Traina Jr. Across 15 years of marriage, they had two sons, Trevor and Todd. After the divorce was final, she married Al Wilsey, a real estate magnate and former husband of a good friend, Pat Montandon, then a society columnist in San Francisco. By all accounts, Ms. Wilsey found a forgiving patriarch in her second husband. He would whisk her off by helicopter to Mendocino, Calif. Brown, the former mayor, was a regular.

Guests in tuxedos and Oscar de la Renta gowns gathered in a receiving line to pay their respects to the Wilseys. The guest list for the event functioned as an annual measure of social status.