If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of “short-term missions.” In fact, if I could, I’d do away with them altogether…even more so in the trumpster era. There is no pragmatic, theological, or even practical reason to do them other than to feel good about oneself and doing “good” for those “poor” people. I am for learning experiences, learning times, and excursions which lead to more self-reflection and growth. But please, do not put “missions” on the front of that. Are you really that arrogant that you’d think you were the only one bringing God to “these people?”
So, as a scholar, I wanted to investigate this phenomena since it is such a common theme among White Evangelical churches and, most mainstream denominations have some form of it. While the findings are to one specific area, the suggestion of the findings could point to a much larger problem. Check it out, here is the abstract and here is the link to the full article…
This article is an exploratory look into the experiences of five ethnic-minority youth from the Los Angeles region who experienced and engaged with White Evangelical outreach organizations (WEOO) and short term mission (STM) groups over the period of five years. This article employs their qualitative narratives and examines the effects that race, gender, and racism had on them. Added narrative from emerging ethnic-minority adults is also applied in this article to discuss those impacts, albeit on a specific region of the country, of (STMs) which have become increasingly well-known over the past decade. The purpose of this article is to examine and explore the effects of WEOOs and STMs on the populations they are intending to serve. From the research findings, I will illustrate 1) subtle racism, microaggression, and patriarchy from WEOOs and 2) allow the narrative of ethnic-minority experiences to chronicle their experience in these types of organizations. Lastly, this article will briefly propose alternatives and insights from the data gathered.
For a great conversation on missions, race, & gender, check out Rediet Mulugeta on the Profane Faith Podcast.