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National report on short-term mission

TORONTO, ON - The first in a series of reports based on findings from the Canadian Evangelical Missions Engagement Study (CEMES) has just been released by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Missions Research Forum (CMRF).

The report, entitled Canadian Evangelicals and Short-Term Missions, written by Rick Hiemstra, EFC Director of Research, reveals:

  • A majority of pastors see spiritual growth of team members as the primary purpose for short-term trips
  • A majority of pastors and lay people see short-term mission trips as an important form of discipleship
  • Twenty-two percent of Evangelicals said they went on a short-term mission trip in the last decade, spending on average $1,691 per trip
  • Evangelical pastors were three times more likely than lay people to have gone on a short-term mission trip
  • Most trips undertaken by pastors and lay people were confined to North America, South America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Only a small percentage of pastors and lay people choose to go on short-term trips to the 10/40 Window, the area of the world missiologists identify as the “least reached”
  • Canada is increasingly seen by Evangelicals as a mission field with both spiritual and physical poverty and for that reason there is a desire to see mission resources ‘rebalanced’ away from the international destinations to Canadian ones

John Denbok, spokesperson for CMRF, says after reading Mr. Hiemstra’s report he is concerned that Evangelicals may be at cross purposes to their stated objectives for short-term mission trips.

“If a short-term mission team says it is going to build a school but the real goal is discipleship of the team members how effective will the team be in reaching its goals?” he asks. “Put another way: What is mission? The discipleship of the team or the people the team are going to help? Since short-term missions are a significant investment for Evangelicals I think there is a need to be clearer about goals and motivations for trips.”

CEMES was commissioned in the fall of 2014 by the EFC and CMRF. During an 18 month period more than 3,400 lay people and pastors were consulted. Mr. Hiemstra was the lead investigator for the study.

A second report is expected in March. It will look at people’s understanding of missions calling, sending and training. A third report will look at church mission budgets and a fourth report will focus on churches’ communication about missions. The final report in the series will look at mission definitions.

All of the reports will be posted online at: https://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/cmrf
A list of the CMRF partners is also included.

For more information contact:
John Denbok
Canadian Missions Research Forum