Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission

( [email protected] ) Oct 06, 2003 12:22 PM EDT

In a reaction to the recent criticism against a “superficial trend” in short-term missions work, a coalition of evangelistic and missionary organizations released a new “Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission” statement.

Following the development of the seven standards, Roger Peterson, chairman of the national steering committee commented, "In the '90s virtually all [missions] publications were anti-short-term missions. [They said] people were in it for themselves, were insensitive, and didn't learn the language. The standards are saying we recognize those criticisms are valid."

Members of the steering committee include Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With A Mission, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Assemblies of God, and the Southern Baptist Convention, among other groups.

The following is the brief overview of standards as posted by the standards of excellence website


An excellent short-term mission seeks first God’s glory and his kingdom, and is expressed through our:

1.1 Purpose—Centering on God’s glory and his ends throughout our entire STM process

1.2 Lives—Sound biblical doctrine, persistent prayer, and godliness in all our thoughts, words, and deeds

1.3 Methods—Wise, biblical, and culturally-appropriate methods which bear spiritual fruit


An excellent short-term mission establishes healthy, interdependent, on-going relationships between sending and receiving partners, and is expressed by:

2.1 Primary focus on intended receptors

2.2 Plans which benefit all participants

2.3 Mutual trust and accountability


An excellent short-term mission collaboratively plans each specific outreach for the benefit of all participants, and is expressed by:

3.1 On-field methods and activities aligned to long-term strategies of the partnership

3.2 Goer-guests’ ability to implement their part of the plan

3.3 Host receivers’ ability to implement their part of the plan


An excellent short-term mission exhibits integrity through reliable set-up and thorough administration for all participants, and is expressed by:

4.1 Truthfulness in promotion, finances, and reporting results

4.2 Appropriate risk management

4.3 Quality program delivery and support logistics


An excellent short-term mission screens, trains, and develops capable leadership for all participants, and is expressed by:

5.1 Character—Spiritually mature servant leadership

5.2 Skills—Prepared, competent, organized, and accountable leadership

5.3 Values—Empowering and equipping leadership


An excellent short-term mission prepares and equips all participants for the mutually designed outreach, and is expressed by:

6.1 Biblical, appropriate, and timely training

6.2 On-going training and equipping (pre-field, on-field, post-field)

6.3 Qualified trainers


An excellent short-term mission assures debriefing and appropriate follow-up for all participants, and is expressed by:

7.1 Comprehensive debriefing (pre-field, on-field, post-field)

7.2 On-field re-entry preparation

7.3 Post-field follow-up and evaluation