Are Mission Trips Just Another Fad?

Lately, there seems to be a lot of criticism about the effectiveness of short-term missions. To be sure, there are pros and cons to short term missions, and there have always been critics.
But I wonder if the seemingly growing number of these discussions recently is an indicator of an entirely new season of missions for the church. In other words…
Are we approaching the end of short term missions?
This thinking has prompted us at Adventures to ask some critical questions that are really challenging us:
  • Are mission trips becoming just a passing fad, or do they still really fulfill the Great Commission?
  • Have short-term missions become so overdone that they’ve ceased to be remarkable?
  • What would take the place of a short-term mission trip? How would everyday people still have opportunities to come across the deep needs of the world and make a difference?
As a ministry, we have always prided ourselves on taking risks and staying on the cutting edge of missions, sensitive to the  things the Holy Spirit is doing.
Still, it seems premature to throw out the baby with the bath water. Jesus did short-term missions when he sent out the Twelve and then the 72. Whatever we do, whatever new fads we chase, this method of practical discipleship must be a part of how we operate — in some form or another.

If we’re going to follow Jesus (well), we’re going to have to go on mission.

Does this mean that we’ll always do one-week trips to Mexico with our youth groups? Maybe not.
Does it mean that the way the western church interacts with the rest of the world will look the same in this new millennium? Probably not.
But what it does mean is that at some basic level, we will continue to do what Jesus did: to heal the sick, feed the poor, and preach good news. Anything in addition to that may be a fad, but we can’t lose that basic, biblical model of missions. Otherwise, we may really be in trouble.

For more on this topic, her are a few other articles from us and other sources:
What do you think? Is this the end of missions as we know it? (And do you feel fine?)