by H. Leone Greene
The number of Christians participating in short-term missions has increased dramatically in recent years. Just like long-term missions, short-term missions are essential in world evangelization. As Leon Greene puts it, “every Christian is called to missions” (159).
Gabriel Publishing. P.O. Box 1047, Waynesboro, GA 30830, 2003, 275 pages, $16.99.
— Reviewed by Chin Do Kham, scholar in residence at Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois.
The number of Christians participating in short-term missions has increased dramatically in recent years. Just like long-term missions, short-term missions are essential in world evangelization. As Leon Greene puts it, “every Christian is called to missions” (159). To make his point, he states: “A short-term mission is indeed an ordained calling that should not be taken lightly. The rewards of a short-term mission can be inestimable, but they are not automatically guaranteed” (10).
The primary purpose of a short-term mission is “to demonstrate God’s love” (22). In order to accomplish this purpose, “all team members must be dedicated disciples, healthy in body and mature both in the faith and in demeanor. They must be well prepared, behave responsibly, and have the goals of winning souls, discipling lives, relieving distress, and working for the kingdom” (22). The benefits of participating in short-term mission include changing the participants, influencing the local church at home, blessing the recipient church and affecting both Christian and non-Christian supporters.
As the title indicates, the book is indeed a well researched, well organized, comprehensive manual for planning an effective mission trip. It is well supported by the author’s first- hand experiences as he starts every chapter with an entry from his personal dairy during one of the many different trips he has taken. The book is divided into eight chapters, followed by nine appendices and a list of recommended reading materials.
Greene presents the theological significance of short-term missions, affirms the value of participating in them, but cautions readers of the possible pitfalls that can result if trips are not approached seriously, carefully and prayerfully. He defines short-term mission as anything “less than two years with a clearly defined goal or project” (14). He spells out twenty-one advantages and nine disadvantages of short-term missions. He stresses the need for efficient preparation and for flexibility, as there will always be unforeseeable circumstances.
In the appendix, he provides a step-by-step preparation time line from the initial dreaming stage to reintegration back into the local church. The author seeks to help readers maximize the effectiveness of the short-term mission and its kingdom impact.
Most of the illustrations are from his personal experiences, mostly in the extremely remote areas of Honduras. The book is written primarily to motivate and prepare American Christians. I wish Greene had expanded his scope to address issues facing the global Christian audience as the participants of today’s short-term missions include many non-westerners.
Check these titles:
Guthrie, Stan. Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for 21st Century. Waynesboro, Ga: Gabriel Resources, 2000.
Wells, Tom. A Vision for Missions. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985.
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