Building bridges versus burning them during your mission trip
Your choices on a short-term mission trip 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 your host culture.
- Be open-minded.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Be ready to share your gifts (i.e., talents, skills, abilities).
- Be conscious of the country/city you are in and its unique customs.
- Affirm the intelligence of people in all cultures and positions.
- Expect the Lord to use you.
- Think before you speak.
- Determine to be Christ-like in all things.
- Encourage the missionaries, pastors and other church leaders.
- Learn as much as you can about the host culture and the language spoken by its people.
- Be a good listener.
- Be excited about their pride in their country/city.
- Be enthusiastic and present a positive Christianity (not "Churchianity").
- If serving outside your home country, represent Christ not your home country.
- Keep your focus: Witness for Christ.
- Be flexible!
How to burn cross-cultural ministry bridges
Destroying ministry opportunities and relationships
- 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 people from your home country 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 what you are willing to eat.
- 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 . . .
- Be afraid of everything.
- Voice comparisons between various missionaries and pastors.
- Take sides in the problems or issues church leaders on the site may be experiencing
- Argue or debate!
trips 10/40 Window explanation and
map Seeking God's will?
African martyr's commitment
Mission Trip fundraising
Ten ways to ruin mission trips
Nazarene Missions International resources