The Role of Training in Short Term Missions
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This project’s objective was (1) to research the training that volunteers in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) receive for short-term mission trips and (2) to determine whether existing training manuals can be used to better prepare WELS short-term mission volunteers. A questionnaire was used to obtain data on the training offered to seventy-one WELS short-term mission volunteers. Students enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Martin Luther College (MLC), and Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) participated in this study. The participants served on a short-term mission trip between 2001 and 2011. The length of these trips ranged between two weeks to two years and included both foreign and home missions. The results of this study reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the training short-term missionaries are offered in the WELS. The conclusion from this research is that pre-trip, on-site, and post-trip training are essential for short-term mission volunteers. The volunteers, the host mission, and the sending church benefit when this threefold training process is administered. Existing training manuals provide material that would better prepare WELS short-term mission volunteers. These manuals include application forms, general background information, devotions, team-building activities, case studies, preparation checklists, journal topics, debriefing questionnaires, and additional suggested resources.