See also TRAINING:ShorTerm


What needs to go into a solid, generic training curriculum for short-termers?...

ANSWER From: Richard Heyduck<> Can't neglect the basic training in trusting God. I've seen some real strength in this area in YWAM. I have seen a few that seem to have more trust in their parents than in God (or so it seems to the parents). This is especially the case in terms of finances.

ANSWER From: Cody Watson <71153,1545> The categories [you] listed didn't necessarily include cross-cultural sensitivity. The Luna Game could be a good addition. I am sure you are aware of others.

ANSWER From: George Beals <> When I train teams going out, I always try to help them understand why they are going and what the church hopes for them to accomplish when they go. Team members who go out with wrong expectations are disappointed with what happens. They think the #1 reason the church is sending them is to build a building. We try to relate to them that our first expectation we have for them is to see how God is working in the ministry they will be visiting and in the part of the world...

We try to teach our teams that the number one word in short-term missions is FLEXIBILITY. God is not caught off-guard. He knew what was going to happen. C.T. Studd, great missionary to China, India and Africa said that we need to respell "Dis-appointment to His Appointment." We always try to have our teams keep their eyes open to what God is doing and where He might be leading our teams.

ANSWER From: Bruce Dow <> [This is actually a summary of Bruce's original message--I hope I haven't butchered it!--NW]...I have trained quite a few students in preparing for short term missions. The content of the seminars was based on Inter-Varsity's STIM (Student Training In Missions)...

-Do a camping trip with all the planning for the campout done by the students. Focus on team building, flexibility, experiencing and overcoming culture shock. If the students forget things (like food or camping necessities) or get soaked sleeping bags, or weather is bad, make it part of the training of how we respond when things are not perfect. The stress also reveals heart attitudes (and sometimes real attitude problems) that can be dealt with before going overseas.

-TOPICS: Biblical basis of missions, support-raising, Self-esteem and building trust, cultural differences, team-building, coping strategies, and dealing with culture shock, (evangelistic training if necessary)

-CHURCH RELATIONSHIP: eat lunch in the homes of different church families in order for the students to build relationships with the "core" church body (not just with students) so that it can truly be a sending body that prays for the students. Have a commissioning service in the church...

-DEBRIEF: After the summer, we held a debriefing session in our home to give the students an opportunity to meet, fellowship, and share their experiences (good and bad) in an understanding context and help them deal with some of the cultural issues.

-USE VARIETY: games, simulations, role playing, lectures, lunches (eating Moroccan food without utensils), internationals, other missionaries, videos (incl. The Gods Must Be Crazy), camping trips, visit an ethnic church...

-Spend time with the students--let them catch, see, experience your vision and passion for the lost and the world.

-Spreading the four weekends out over a semester gave the students time to assimilate what they were learning, do additional reading, establish relationships with church members and each other, and not be totally overwhelmed.

ANSWER From: Justin Long <GEM@XC.Org> You need to make sure the whole element of STRATEGY is well-covered: where to go, how to pick your target, how to make contact with people in the area. Also, the area of SECURITY and SENSITIVITY when working in restricted-access nations: I've seen many short-term missionaries who are so eager to evangelize that they ignore the missionary's requests & advice and just start preaching in the streets because "I felt led to, and I'm sure God's Spirit was in it..."

ANSWER From: <> AIMS has published a similar item entitled Short-Term Missions Training: Keys to Success. In this particular publication they have include a section on Cultural Awareness which would directly effect a short term trip. I would suggestion that you add this to the other categories you already have.

Just recently I lead a team of 26 to Uruguay, South America. Though I was the mission trip leader I was not the Youth Pastor over the team. After returning from the trip there was a considerable "falling out" from the group. I would not classify this phenomenon as "Reverse cultural shock" but rather a low valley after a very high mountain top experience. I tried to prepare the team for this low experience but I feel I did not do a good job. I would suggest adding something of this nature to your manual.

ANSWER From: Andy Ring <Andy_Ring@SIL.ORG> Three suggestions for adding components to the 4 training categories (from WBT's Short-Term Assistant pre-field orientation program):

5) CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT (orientation to the cultural assumptions, lifestyle, environmental differences, etc. short-termers will encounter, and how to handle the inevitable personal stress reactions),

6) ORGANIZATIONAL ETHOS (history, organization and policies of the national or international agency short-termers will work with)

7) PARTNERSHIP ISSUES (what sponsorship means to the home church, relationship to the sending body, role as representative, reporter, mobilizer, and fiture career service candidate)

WBT has a weekend congregational missions orientation program called the JOURNEY. A new program is currently being prepared for missions committees offering a people group sponsorship program called alpha... It targets priority people groups identified by JP2000 and offers tours for two week prayer teams, two month trips for research teams, and two year culture crossing internship teams for those wanting to explore career service in establishing a Christian witness among a priority people group.

I'd love to see a book come out that we could also use - something like an inductive study around the issues mentioned above, with opportunity to fill in data from library/research materials about the location and people which a team is preparing visit.

ANSWER From: (Meg Crossman) Carol Davis at Church on Brady has developed some of the best strategies I've heard for the extremely well-done short-terms they send out. Spend a lot of time with her on this. #1--Each person on the team has a major role to play in preparing for the team to go: One will be in charge of getting the visas; another will work on the airline tickets; someone else will check on the shots. It gives time for the team to bond more deeply as they find out who follows through and who flakes out, well before they get to the field.

#2--BE VERY CAREFUL OF OVERTRAINING In training people for Prison Ministry, I started by giving them a full day of training, information, etc. The result is they were scared and overwhelmed (Too MUCH information.) Instead, I gave them a little bit of training and then coached them as we went, letting them discover a lot on their own and teaching them once they had an experience on which to base their understanding.

#3--Please, please emphasize the importance of DEBRIEFING!! I find a short intense debrief either on the way home or immediately after returning is very valuable [Larry Walker has the team select together a brief "team" answer for the question, " How was your trip?" because that will give many people the only exposure to the information--make it positive and interesting.] Secondly, a follow up Debrief after rest and reflection (maybe a month or so after return) is absolutely vital for harvesting the results of the time, healing any lingering wounds, solving any unfinished team business, and gathering valuable lessons for the next trip. It should be unhurried-- maybe even a one day retreat together.