C. Requirements for Involvement in Short-Term Missions
To ensure that a local church is accomplishing its goals through short-term missions specific requirements must be established to determine what short-term projects the church will involve itself in. These requirements will help the church leadership to determine what short-term projects will and will not be participated in by the local church.
The first requirement that must be met before the local church can participate in a short-term project is that it must be consistent with the purpose and goals of the church’s International Ministries. By participating in short-term projects that are not consistent with the purpose and goals of the church’s International Ministries the church will in effect be stealing resources that could have been used to accomplish its purpose. For this reason the local church should not participate in those projects that are not consistent with the purpose of the church’s International Ministries program.
The second requirement that must be met before the local church can participate in a short-term project is that it must be a project that is tied to a known ministry of the church. The local church leadership has the responsibility to know and be familiar with a ministry before they send members of their congregation overseas to participate in that ministry. Ideally any short-term project that the local church involves itself in should involve an international worker that has been sent out by that church. At the very least, the church leadership should be familiar with the international workers who will be involved in the project.
The third requirement that must be met before the local church can participate in a short-term project is that it must be approved by the international worker who will be involved in the project. The local church leadership must be sensitive to the demands that a short-term project will put on the international workers involved. The international worker involved in the project should be included as much as possible in the planning of that project to ensure effectiveness, safety, and to prevent long term damage on his ministry.
The fourth requirement that must be met before the local church can participate in a short-term project is that it will involve only those members of the church who are of an appropriate maturity level. Because these projects can range from providing manpower for a building project to intense evangelism the maturity level that is needed to attend a trip must be determined on a case by case basis. This means the church leadership must involve itself in the planning of such a trip to ensure that this requirement is being met.
The fifth requirement that must be met before the local church can participate in a short-term project is that the money for the project should not be taken from the general International Ministries budget. Support for these trips should be raised by the individuals involved in them. Additionally, these individuals must adhere to the following guidelines when raising their support:
- Ideally the needed funds to attend a short-term trip should come from your own earnings.
- If you find it necessary to raise additional funds you must restrict your solicitation to personal friends, and family members.
- Apart from special permission from the elders you may not solicit funds from the congregation as a whole.
At times the elders may find it necessary to suspend these guidelines for a special project (i.e. to help supply needed materials for a building project that will benefit a worker supported by the church or to send a candidate to the field for an extended evaluation).