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American or American’t? A critical analysis of western training to the world

Below from Karl Dahlfred – Church Planting missionary with OMF in Central Thailand.  His website is incredibly valuable and encouraging as a like-minded brother and partner in the Gospel.  Read more from him at:

A lot of ink (and pixels) have been spilled talking about the incredible impact that short term missions are making.  However, that conclusion is based almost entirely on the perceptions of those who went on the trip. And the impact in question is often the effect that the trip had on those who went, not those on the receiving end.  It is fantastic that so many people are blessed by going on short-term missions but are the people whom they went to serve getting blessed as well?

In a disturbing, yet eye opening article, David Livermore (“American or American’t? A critical analysis of western training to the world”, EMQ, Oct. 2004; Vol 40. No. 4. [pp. 458-456]) writes about a study that he did, “comparing North American pastors descriptions of their experiences training cross-culturally with the way national pastors and leaders described those same experiences.”


Here are a few quotes from the article, comparing the perceptions of the two groups:


North American Pastors   National Pastors
They’re so hungry for the training we can offer.  You conclude that you’re communicating effectively because we’re paying attention when we’re actually just intrigued by watching your foreign behavior.
We’ve got to do something. The window of opportunity is NOW!  You too quickly get into the action without thinking through the implications on our churches long after you go home.  
The issues we deal with are pretty much the same. You act as if the American church is the true trendsetter for how we should all do church. 

And a couple more comments from national pastors …  (Continue Reading at