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As a former missionary to Romania who has experience with short-term mission teams, I can only give a hearty “Amen” to this list of Ten Commandments for short-termers. There are teams that obey these laws and have great, effective ministries overseas. Other teams break all the commandments and their ministries suffer for it!

1. Thou shalt always remember that the primary function of a short-term team is to learn, and not to help.

2. Thou shalt always defer to the long-term missionaries, even when thou dost not agree with them.

3. Thou shalt surely leave all they agendas at home before thou arrivest on the mission field.

4. Thou shalt be prepared to spend large amounts of time doing nothing, for thus verily is the way of the mission field.

5. Thou shalt be careful to obey in all details, the security rules and advice of the project which thou visitest.

6. Thou shalt be both attentive and accurate in the communication with the mission base before they visit.

7. Thou shalt be careful to pay for all the expenses of thy visit.

8. Thou shalt take great care in thy giving and spending, lest thou appearest to be filthy rich.

9. Thou shalt be careful to respect the doctrinal and theological views of the project which thou visitest.

10. Thou shalt surely keep thy word in regards to follow-up activities.

(from Paul Cull, leader of Projeto Casa Esperanza in Brazil)

Originally posted November 21, 2006

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6 thoughts on “10 Commandments for Short-Term Mission Trips”

  1. Bill Pfister says:

    Thou shalt not stare at the people you are there to minister to and with and get right up in their faces taking pictures incessantly.

    Thou shalt not come ready to tell others about how we do it back in the US.

  2. Amen and hallelujah!!!

  3. Jeff Goins says:

    Thou shalt… pray?

  4. Paul Vernon says:

    “Thou shalt not come ready to tell others about how we do it back in the US.”

    Love this one, Bill, it should be in the ten. The wording should be changed to “back in our home country” but we Americans do tend to be the worst at this.

  5. to resume it all :

    You shall be lead by the Spirit alone at all time
    and you would not need to fear trespassing any of these laws…
    Just like Jesus was indeed : the Father was alive through Him !
    I like that better !!!
    Cheers to all anyway !!!
    Stephan from the mission fields

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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