Long-term Impact through Short-term Missions: Key Components for Meaningful and Effective Crosscultural Partnerships


  • Dennis Horton


Short-Term Mission, Mission Partnership, Congregations and Mission


The purpose here is to highlight three such partnerships developed through short-term missions that have resulted in long-term mutual transformation and development. In so doing, these partnerships offer insights about the ways that faith-based short-term missions can become a reflection of meaningful crosscultural Christian fellowship, true koinonia. They embody the “healthy reciprocal relationships” that DJ Schuetze and Phil Steiner claim are “critical to successful short-term mission trips” (Schuetze and Steiner 2018, 1). These faith-based international partnerships reflect a different approach that seeks to have groups focus on one specific community over an extended period of time. This process, sometimes called “twinning,” works to build relationships that will inform the types of mission objectives as well as the methods for fulfilling these objectives. Twinning relationships move beyond quick fixes to fixing the problems, from charity to development (Cosgrove 2008, 376). These faith-based partnerships may be formed between two congregations or between one congregation and a Christian non-profit organization or between two Christian non-profit organizations which are typically supported by one or more churches as well as individual Christians. Typically, one of these partners tends to have greater material wealth and technical expertise which they seek to share in dignifying and empowering ways with the other partner (Cosgrove 2008, 375). The three sets of twins for this study are Christian non-profit partnerships with close connections to churches for their support and implementation of the objectives for development. The first is Adventures in Life Ministry and its partnership with Rancho Tunillo in Oaxaca, Mexico. The second partnership is Mission Waco Mission World and Rise and Stand Up with Power (Leve Kanpe Avek Pouvwa) in Ferrier, Haiti. The third is Straw to Bread and its partnership with Bethlehem Home in the Nyakach Plateau in rural Kenya.