The real cost of a short-term trip adds up in a hurry. If you count the hours spent in preparation, the logistical preparation and the cost of travel, housing and food, you might begin to balk at the value of short-term missions.
But consider this. Our trip to Kenya, which is leaving tomorrow is going to cost $30K for everyone to go. Is that too much money to spend on a short-term trip? While we are there we are teaching 200 pastors how to preach 2 Timothy. So for $150 per pastor, we can offer training, helping them understand a book that focuses on pastoral leadership while giving them tools to help them preach the main point of the text.
Now consider that in the US, it would cost $1500 per person if they took a class at a seminary. We are teaching the same material, we're just not giving out degrees.
This is not an argument against formal training - I am the product of teachers at Trinity and am happy I went. This is an argument to squelch some of the naysayers that say short-term missions is a waste of money. In the case of theological training, it is a worthwhile investment.
Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International. As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.