Zehner, “Short-Term Missions”

Zehner, Edwin. 2013. Short-Term Missions: Some Perspectives from Thailand. Missiology 41(2):13-145.

Abstract: Recent interviews with congregational leaders in Thailand suggest a need for reframing some of the concerns commonly expressed in missiological writing on short-term missions (STM). North American writers have expressed concern about the ministerial inefficiency of short-term missions, the attendant de-professionalization of foreign missions, and the potential for STM to encourage dependency among recipients. Interviews with Thai pastors in 2007 revealed a different set of concerns. Many expressed an interest in resourcing for stronger congregational life, a concern that is usually missing from North American writing on short-term missions. Short-term missions were also valued most greatly by leaders whose congregations did not have alternative access to the material and relational resources made available by the visitors. Finally, in contrast to concerns that short-term missions promote dependency, the interviews suggest that many Thai leaders were using the relational networks to access moral and material resources that enhanced ministerial vitality and independence.