I’ve been doing some thinking recently about short-term mission trips: partly looking at why we do them, and partly thinking about how we structure them; so it was interesting this morning to read highlights of the Barna Group report over at The Truth About Short-Term Mission Trips. Here are a couple of clips:
- Most people take service trips outside the country; however, 33% of the mission trips were to locations in the U.S.
- A person does not have to go far in order to grow personally through serving others. People who took domestic service trips reported the same degree of life-changing experiences as did those traveling abroad.
- The typical person who has been on a mission trip has taken two such journeys. Two percent of Americans are service trip enthusiasts, having been on five or more such adventures.
- People frequently go on short-term trips with immediate family members, most often with siblings. Only 14% of these trips were parents facilitating a family learning experience. This means that just 1% of Americans have ever taken a mission trip as a family
Who takes short term mission trips?
- 9% of American adults (only 3.5% of American adults went in the last 5 years)
- 11% of churchgoers
- 23% evangelical Christians
- 12% of Mosaics (ages 18-24)
- 9% of Busters (ages 25-43)
- 7% of Boomers (ages 44-62)
- 9% of Elders (ages 63+)
How do short-term mission trips affect those who go?
- 75% say the experience changed their life in some way
- 25% say it helped them become more aware of other people’s struggles
- 16% say it taught them more about poverty, justice, or the world
- 11% say it increased their compassion
- 9% say it enriched their faith
- 9% say it broadened their spiritual understanding
- 5% say it boosted their financial generosity
What are your thoughts on short-term mission trips, and I’m really interested to hear thoughts and ways in which you engage young people in these area. I’ll try and post some of my thoughts on this later in the week.