Is it me, or do the words short-term and missions not really go together very well?
It’s not that I’m against exploring ministry relationships with people in other parts of the world — I’m all for it! — so long as we go with the expectation of working together over the long-term.
The phrase “global partnership” seems like a better fit for describing missions initiatives. Meaningful change takes time. For example, the Kingsview Sponsorship Program in Dominican Republic has been going officially since 2005 (unofficially since the 1990’s) — certainly a long-term relationship.
We’re now seeing university graduates from the program beginning to give back to their community.
Our recent exploration of mission opportunities in Ghana, is based on long-term connections established by our sister church in Barrie. We look forward to developing a longterm relationship with the work going on in Accra and Kumasi, and ways we can engage in this global partnership.
As much as we go on a missions trip anticipating that we will change those we go to help, practically without exception, we are changed by those we go to help. Who is helping whom?
Dan Sheffield, Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries for the Free Methodist Church in Canada puts it this way, “Mission encounter with ‘other’ cultures and faith systems has resulted in change to the sent… new appreciation of other worldviews and their contribution to the multi-faceted understanding of God…”
Isn’t it just like God to turn things around like that?