The following information on organizing and conducting short term missions programs is derived from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Code of Best Practice in Short-Term Mission is designed to assist organizations in running successful programs.
Their motivation in developing these guidelines was that God is glorified in all that your program strives to do. Not every situation will lend itself to the literal application of each of these suggestions but they are advisable.
The guidelines are based on the underlying core values of commitment to culturally appropriate expressions of lifestyle and ministry activities, a commitment to all the stakeholders in the short-term mission program, such as the participants, sending local church, mission agency, and host church or ministry, to the ideals of partnership and co-operation, and to communication between the stakeholders as early and as fully as possible.
Determine Your Aims And Objectives
- Have a defined purpose for your program.
- Have clear and realistic aims and objectives, including how achievable your expectations of the outcomes, and a consideration of how your program serves the long-term objectives of all those involved.
- Clearly determine the benefits to, and responsibilities of, the participants, the sending organization or local church, and the host organization, missionary, or local church and communicate them to all parties.
- Develop partnerships when possible with your host organization to agree upon program priorities, task responsibility and ownership, and mutual expectations.
- Include opportunities for personal and spiritual development throughout the trip for all participants.
Publicity, Selection, and Orientation
- Be as accurate and truthful as possible in making known what participants can expect on the trip and in describing the trip and its objectives to your sending organization.
- Publicity should clearly represent the ethos and vision of the sending organization. It should not reflect negatively on the host culture or ministry. It should also define the purpose of the program in terms of service, discipleship, and vocation.
- The application process, including timeline, all financial obligations, and the use of funds, should be clear and thorough.
- A suitable selection process should be established, including selection criteria and screening. A pastoral care element should be included, regardless of whether or not the individual is accepted as a short-term participant.
- It is essential that there is a disclosure of the relevant details concerning the short-term participant between the church, agency, and field.