If you can get past the kid yelling at the camera and the editing job, this video is worth watching because it brings up a number of points that we should all consider as we develop strategy for sending short-term teams.
For me, it helps to separate cross-cultural work into two categories:
1). Recruiting and sending long-term missionaries who go deep into the new language and culture in order to be nearly an insider in the culture. Often the deepest influence on a culture begins after the eighth year in the culture; more than half of all missionaries resign before they get past this milestone. Church resources that set aside for missions are well spent on keeping effective long-term missionaries on the field. See series of blog posts on ideas to help churches know how to fund missionaries.
2). Recruiting and sending short-term missionaries who nearly always learn a ton about depending on God, His work in other cultures, and the reality of overseas living. God often uses these trips to put people on a path of long-term missionary service. Our church resources that we have set aside for discipleship are well used for this purpose. If you only consider the ministry fruit, only the best designed projects with the highest skilled volunteers can come close to justifying the amount of money spent on these trips.
This distinction between missions funds and discipleship funds helps me to think rightly about short-term trips.
How do you think about this issue?
P.S. Thanks Ben and Chad for pointing this out to me.