Partnership for the Long Term

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Paradigm Shift—“…a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events.” According to Wikipedia, Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996), American physicist and philosopher and the first to use this term, only envisioned this phrase to be used in the realm of the ‘hard sciences.’ But as many of us know, we use this phrase today to describe everything from the political landscape to our own spirituality.

So, when it comes to the world of global missions and Short Term Mission (STM) in particular, what sort of ‘paradigm shift’ is needed and being advocated for in the North American church, especially from someone like myself who has been involved in Short Term Mission for many years?

It is, of course, a ‘profound change’ in the idea that Short Term Mission, especially the variety that is engaged in by churches, does not align well with the Missio Dei that we’re called by God to participate in, if we don’t see it AND experience it outside of Long Term Partnership. And why Long Term Partnership? Simply because the Missio Dei is long term; Long Term in the fullest sense possible and encompassing the grandest purposes of none other than God Himself.

We look and purpose to engage ourselves as churches according to the Missio Dei, in the way of the Missio Dei, and as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit engage in the Missio Dei. And yes, this even includes Short Term Mission! STM that follows the ministry example of Jesus even as it is exemplified in Matthew 9:35; on the move, demonstrating and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom— all in the context of the Long Term, Grand Narrative of the Scriptures and God’s eternal purposes.

There’s nothing ‘Short Term’ about God’s purposes for His creation, and there should be nothing ‘Short Term’ about our efforts to join Him in those purposes either; even our churches’ Short Term Mission trips. This is the WHY behind Long Term Partnership and for many churches, it is the ‘Paradigm Shift’ or profound change they need to undergo today!

Contact Gateway today to continue or begin this much-needed conversation!

– Randy Schmor