Going on a short-term missions trip can be a life- and faith-transforming experience. It can enrich the way we view the world. It can cause us to rely on God more fully. It's an opportunity to develop deep relationships with our team and the people we serve.
A short-term missions experience can also involve weeks of physical and spiritual challenges. An unprepared team can wreak havoc on each other and the people they intend to serve.
To get the most out of a missions trip, we need to go prepared. Whether we're going on our own or with a team, the keys to preparation are here in this workbook. In this ten-week course, you will find
This revised and expanded edition includes updated content throughout and new chapters on facing risks, fears, and suffering, and making the most of the trip after returning home.
If you are planning to go on a short-term missions trip, don't leave home without working through this book!
“Tim Dearborn is extraordinarily wise. This workbook is an outstanding guide to help all Christians think more thoroughly about our mission in the world—wherever and however we serve. The questions in this manual are useful for each of us personally, for discussion groups, for congregations. They challenge our assumptions, upset our provincialisms, widen our horizons, and deepen our visions. Most of all, this guide ushers us into following Jesus more faithfully—globally and locally.”
“This workbook is really a complete resource kit to help the short-term ministry team prepare themselves culturally and spiritually for their service. It provides just what is needed (and what we have lacked)—a program of preparation and reflection that will help turn the short-term ministry into preparation for a lifetime of service. Don’t leave home without it.”
“Tim Dearborn’s very helpful workbook draws on over twenty-five years of experience in enabling the Western church to relate in partnership for mission with the church and mission groups in the non-Western world. The workbook focuses on the key issue in short-term missions: the challenge of crossing into a different culture. It leads the short-term mission aspirant through a practical and theoretically rigorous learning process. It enables the short-term mission team member to discern the richness of the gospel as experienced and lived out by people of many cultures. I commend this book warmly.”
“‘Mission preparation’ is a spiritually invigorating, powerfully pragmatic exposure to effective global ministry. Captured passions turn into lifelong commitments; resources are maximized toward relevant actions. Tim is sharing a lifetime of wisdom. Don’t leave home without it.”
"This is the best tool I’ve seen for preparing individuals for the entire short-term mission experience. The topics covered prepare the soil of one’s heart to allow the transformation process to begin. Don’t let a team leave without working through it!"
"Tim is a lifelong friend who never fails to inspire. I am thrilled to see an updated version of his practical and deceptively simple book. Via simulations, discussion questions, and the study of Scripture, mission groups are able to process the joys and frustrations of doing ministry together. The book is so full of gems that it's hard to count them all!"
"Tim Dearborn's insightful knowledge on short-term missions coupled with years of field experience and leading mission trips internationally qualifies him to write on a subject that still continues to be relevant in advancing God's great kingdom enterprise in a fast-changing world today. This new workbook as an essential tool for separating the 'wheat from the chaff' in short-term missions because it provides the best platform for inducting not only the participants but also the churches, mission agencies, and organizations that are involved in short-term missions. This is a must-read and should be second only to the Bible for short-term missionaries. I strongly recommend it."
"If we Christians are not personally engaged in God's great mission in the world, we have missed the very thing God created us to do. But doing what we were made for isn't always easy. Traveling to the hard places and entering other cultures to witness and to serve can be fraught with challenges. And how we do it has everything to do with the impact we have as ambassadors of Christ. This classic guide from my dear friend Tim Dearborn continues to be an excellent resource for preparing your most important missions tool—your heart."
1. The God of Mission
2. Learning to Delight in Differences
3. Embracing Change
4. Maximizing Personal Growth
5. Working Together as a Team
6. Communicating Clearly
7. Staying Spiritually Fresh
8. Preparing for Risks
9. Anticipating the Return Home
10. Making the Most of Your Trip Once You're Home
Appendix 1: Leader's Guide
Appendix 2: Recommended Reading and Additional Resources
Appendix 3: Language Acquisition Phrases and Cultural Research Questions
Appendix 4: A Quick Guide to a Christian Theology of Suffering
Appendix 5: Bookmark and Journal Insert
Appendix 6: Debriefing Prayer of Examen