Dangerous STM question #5

Question #5: What is the impact on field resources/personnel?

by Dr. Timothy Tennent

Having hosted many short-term teams who have visited India, I am aware of the impact of any short-term team on the resources and field personnel who are working long term in the field. I can say that, almost without exception, those who host short-term teams do it with joy and fully realize the vital role they are playing in raising up long-term workers, helping people to gain more global awareness and to facilitate the best possible experience for the short-termers who come onto the field.

I am also aware that short-term visits can also cause the long-term workers, both missionaries as well as nationals, to suspend many of their own ministries during the visit. I also know the many hours which are spent in arranging vehicles, providing translators, accompanying teams to various tourist areas within the country, and so forth. Most field workers will tell you that it is a privilege to provide such services, but we should never underestimate the cost (financial and personnel) of this. Many visiting teams need to learn to be more modest in their demands on their host and to make sure that all expenses allocated by the host are fully reimbursed.

Matt: These are fairly strong reasons NOT to do a STM trip. One of the ways we can ensure we don't become one of those teams is to be up front with the missionary we're approaching about hosting us. 2 critical questions we can ask: #1 can we come? (do you even want us?), and #2 how can we serve you? (will we be more work than help?)

What do you think?