Building and burning bridges on mission trips
Short-term mission trips
Want more out of
Searching for God's will?
An African martyr's statement on
Mission trip fund
10 ways to ruin a
short-term mission trip
International resource pages
Share on Facebook
Your choices will determine whether you are building bridges or burning them as you try to minister cross-culturally
How to build bridges
Doing incarnational ministry in a broken world
- Include missionaries'/pastors' kids in activities.
- Be punctual, and then be willing to cheerfully wait on others.
- Be understanding of others.
- Receive graciously whatever is given to you to eat or is presented to you as a gift.
- Be considerate of others on your team (Remember: there is no "I" in teamwork)
- Remember daily devotions.
- Realize that in any occasion, "This is temporary . . . this too shall pass."
- Write to your home church and to your financial and prayer supporters.
- Keep promises.
- Be friendly.
- Be a willing and cheerful worker.
- Be careful.
- Willingly adjust to their culture.
- Be open-minded.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Be ready to share your gifts (i.e., talents, skills, abilities).
- Be alert to the country/city you are in and to its unique customs.
- Recognize the intelligence of people in all cultures and positions.
- Expect the Lord to use you.
- Think before you speak.
- Have a serious determination to be Christ-like in all things.
- Encourage the missionaries/pastors/leaders.
- Learn as much as you can about their language/culture.
- Be a good listener.
- Be excited about their pride in their country/city.
- Be enthusiastic and present positive Christianity (not "Churchianity").
- Represent Christ, not the USA (if overseas).
- Keep your focus: Witness for Christ.
- Be flexible!
How to burn bridges
Destroying relationships/ministry opportunities
- Judge hastily.
- Stick with your first impressions.
- Talk bad or critically about missionaries.
- Make light of another religion.
- Be pessimistic.
- Recoil in shock from poverty conditions.
- Confuse disadvantage with ignorance.
- Act as though you think North Americans are the only ones who know how to run a church.
- Be condescending.
- Worry about your performance.
- Expect to sleep late.
- Expect your mission trip to be a tourist vacation.
- Be nosy.
- Be moody.
- Be fussy about food.
- Expect food to appear whenever you want it.
- Be particular about where you sleep.
- Share complaints, secrets or things you don't like with anyone . . . anytime . . . anywhere!
- Be afraid of everything.
- Make comparisons between various missionaries / pastors.
- Take sides in the site's problems or issues
- Argue or debate!
SNU missions course materials and syllabi
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma
City, OK 73132 | Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax:
© 2002 - Last Updated: January 22, 2015 | URL:
You have permission to reprint what you just read. Use it in your
ezine, at your web site or in your newsletter. Please include the
Article by Howard Culbertson. For more original content like
this, visit: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert