How might God view a short-term mission experience?
Perhaps He sees it as part of a person's discipleship process which is a growth experience along the road of a person's spiritual journey.
If so, He would see the short-term mission as only a dot on the timeline of one's life. It would be just one more event on a person's spiritual pilgrimage.
A successful short-term mission experience is one that brings about a long-term commitment to God's purpose in the participants' lives.
Welcome to The Next Mile.
We offer practical tools and training for Short-Term Mission experiences with emphasis on Post-Ministry Follow-Through.
There are over one million people participating in short-term missions (STM) annually who, when they return, are not being provided the training and resources to take what they have learned and apply it back home in their local community. Until now, people have not had access to training, planning resources and relevant partner ministries to help with the follow-through process. A lot of resources (time and money) are consumed in sending out large numbers of people while the long-term impact is minimized due to lack of strategy for the return home.
The Next Mile is a collaborative effort of mission agencies and organizations joining together to address the "black hole" of short-term missions with resources for effective follow-through.
The heartbeat of The Next Mile is built around the spiritual pilgrimage concept. The project provides practical guidelines and resources to help local churches, organizations and team leaders excel in transforming people for long-term personal change and world impact. Organizing effective short-term mission experiences begins before the trip and so does The Next Mile discipleship process which starts before and continues long after the trip is through. The Next Mile is produced by DELTA Ministries International in collaboration with the Missions Affinity Network (National Network of Youth Ministries) and many other organizations who believe that quality Short-Term Missions (STM) include a comprehensive follow-through process.
Is the Short-Term Mission Really Over?
Primary Author & Executive Director for DELTA Ministries International
What if God has a longer view of the Short-Term mission experience? What if He sees the mission trip and all its parts as another element in a life-long discipleship process? Then he would care not only about the mission itself, but about all that someone goes through in preparing for the mission (the mile before) and all that comes after (the next mile), right? He would see the short-term mission as more than a dot on the timeline of someone's life. It would be a series of events on a spiritual pilgrimage seamlessly blended into all the other events of life.
Mile after Mile
The following illustration shows the short-term mission as only a self-contained event in a person's life. It starts and it ends. That's all. It's a picture of the default mode for short-term missions. This is what it looks like when people don't do anything more than "just go."