The 7 Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Missions

By Josiah Holland | June 2019

Background

You can learn more about the 7 standards from the organization behind them at soe.org.  SOE is a membership, accrediting, and resourcing body for churches, agencies, and schools.  The help their members apply the 7 Standards to specific ministry contexts through coaching, consulting, on-site training, conferences, and workshops. XPCulture is a proud SOE Resource Provider and we highly recommend working with the folks at SOE if you’re serious about following these standards.

These standards serve as a code of best practice for short-term mission practitioners and have been copied directly from SOE.

The 7 Standards

1. GOD-CENTEREDNESS

An excellent short-term mission seeks first God’s glory and his kingdom, and is expressed through our:
• Purpose — Centering on God’s glory and his ends throughout our entire STM process
• Lives — Sound biblical doctrine, persistent prayer, and godliness in all our thoughts, words, and deeds
• Methods — Wise, biblical, and culturally-appropriate methods which bear spiritual fruit

2. EMPOWERING PARTNERSHIPS

An excellent short-term mission establishes healthy, interdependent, on-going relationships between sending and receiving partners, and is expressed by:
• Focus – Our primary focus on intended receptors
• Plans which benefit all participants
• Mutual trust and accountability

3. MUTUAL DESIGN

An excellent short-term mission collaboratively plans each specific outreach for the benefit of all participants, and is expressed by:
• On-field methods and activities aligned to long-term strategies of the partnership
• Goer-guests’ ability to implement their part of the plan
• Host receivers’ ability to implement their part of the plan

4. COMPREHENSIVE ADMINISTRATION

An excellent short-term mission seeks first God’s glory and his kingdom, and is expressed through:
• Truthfulness in promotion, finances, and reporting results
• Appropriate risk management
• Quality program delivery and support logistics

5. QUALIFIED LEADERSHIP

An excellent short-term mission screens, trains, and develops capable leadership for all participants, and is expressed by:
• Character — Spiritually mature servant leadership
• Skills — Prepared, competent, organized, and accountable leadership
• Values — Empowering and equipping leadership

6. APPROPRIATE TRAINING

An excellent short-term mission prepares and equips all participants for the mutually designed outreach, and is expressed by:
• Biblical, appropriate, and timely training
• On-going training and equipping (pre-field, on-field, post-field)
• Qualified trainers

7. THOROUGH FOLLOW-THROUGH

An excellent short-term mission assures debriefing and appropriate follow-through for all participants, and is expressed by:
• Comprehensive debriefing of all participants (pre-field, on-field, post-field)
• Thoughtful and appropriate follow-through for goer-guests
• On-field and post-field evaluation among sending and receiving partners

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