November 9, 2011

Why HANDS? How HANDS Teams Build the Body of Christ

Blog Archives:

For the month of November, our blog is featuring weekly posts discussing the challenges and benefits of HANDS short-term mission projects. Stay tuned next Wednesday for a new post!

Historically, the emphasis of short-term mission trips has been on the work that is accomplished—the buildings built, the walls painted, the rooms renovated, and so forth. At EduDeo Ministries, however, the emphasis has shifted to be more holistic and relational. Why?

Although EduDeo knows that HANDS teams bring critical resources to a country, we firmly believe that their focus should not be on this alone. HANDS trips are as much about learning from, serving among, and sharing with local people. Teams should not have the attitude that they have everything figured out, as there is much to learn from those in other countries, such as spiritual vitality and dependence on God.

Many HANDS participants have shared incredible stories of how their lives were changed and how God used local believers to minister to their needs! The Body of Christ can minister like never before to different needs within the body. For example, while the Western church has been blessed with finances and a heritage of supporting missions, the African church has been blessed with a humble ability to trust God through trying times, often with a joyful, rhythmic spirit. We need each other.

Many communities are deeply encouraged by seeing others serve and work alongside them helping them fufil the vision God has given them. At EduDeo Ministries, HANDS Teams serve under a local construction contractor and with localworkers and are often hosted by local ministry leaders. It is not an “us and them,” it is an “us” — the united body of Christ working together.

Through the HANDS program, EduDeo strives to engage people in the work of a Christian school ministry in a developing country through a construction project. Teams are prepared prior to their trip to understand the purpose of and appropriate approach to short-term missions. EduDeo encourages working hard, but also taking time to discover how local people live and the stories of teachers and students. Ultimately, these experiences are about walking together with local people to understand their lives, their culture and to praise our common Saviour.

For discussion: Have you ever felt that the physical work accomplished on a short-term mission trip is emphasized over the relationships built? If you have served on a trip, can you share how you were blessed by interacting with your brothers and sisters in another country? We encourage you to post a comment and let us know. Let’s put the issues on the table!


EduDeo Staff
Nov 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

The Globe and Mail is also tackling this question. They do not mention "building the body of Christ," but they raise some excellent points, including a change in perspective for those who serve. More on that in a later post...

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