Outcomes of Southern Baptist Short-Term Missions among the Sukuma People and Implications for Future Short-Term Initiatives
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SubjectShinyanga Baptist Association (Tanzania)
Sukuma (African people)--Religious life
This dissertation examines the realities from the receiving end of short-term volunteer mission projects among the Sukuma people of Tanzania by assessing their outcomes. The work also offers implications for future STM initiatives to assist participants in avoiding pitfalls and implementing an effective strategy for STM. Chapter 1 defines the short-term missions explosion and current issues facing volunteerism in missions. The chapter also provides a definition of church health used in the study. Chapter 2 begins with an overview of theological issues facing short-term missions. Next, the chapter addresses specific missiological and anthropological issues pertinent to the effectiveness of short-term missions in an East African context. Chapter 3 offers a brief historical overview of short-term missions in general as well as to Tanzania specifically. It looks at the practices and perceptions of short-term volunteers involved in Shinyanga, Tanzania. Chapter 4 surveys the components of New Testament church life and practice evidenced among the believers and churches in Shinyanga, Tanzania based on the results of a survey. The chapter examines both the biblical proximity and the indigenousness of the churches in each of the areas of New Testament church life and practice. Chapter 5 presents the outcomes of the STM projects among the receiving churches. The chapter evaluates four specific assumptions made by volunteers concerning the results of their endeavors. It also draws implications for avoiding pitfalls and championing successful methodology in future STM initiatives. These recommendations are made to assist STM to engage the receiving culture effectively. This work contends that short-term volunteers do not always accomplish what is reported. That cultural and anthropological understanding and theological precision is of utmost importance to the preparation of short-term missionaries is made evident. The study seeks to support short-term missions; the conclusions, though critical at times, are intended to construct a more effective short-term missions philosophy and methodology. This dissertation serves as a wake-up call to volunteers, sending organizations, missionary personnel, and national churches alike that more harm than health can result if a biblical, culturally adept approach to the involvement is not embraced and implemented.