Evangelical Christians are taking short-term mission trips in ever increasing numbers, with several billion dollars a year invested in these efforts. This thesis set out to understand if there was a gender difference in the motivations of young evangelical men and women, ages 14-25, who participate in short-term mission trips. Using historical perspectives on missions and functionalism, this thesis explores the motivations of recent short-term missionaries. I expected a large difference between the genders based on historical narratives of men and women missionaries, as well as my own experience in missions. However, after interviewing seventeen people, ten women and seven men, I discovered that men and women participated because of similar motivations, for example social and understanding motivations. Therefore, I argue in this paper that gender does not significantly impact motivations of evangelical Christian short-term missionaries, ages 14-25, because the qualitative data collected yielded nearly equal functional motivations for men and women. I also argue that short-term missions have several systemic issues that were revealed in studying the motivations; and that in order for these trips to be beneficial the systemic issues will need to be addressed. The thesis begins by examining historical motivations of women missionaries, and then summarizes functional theory to provide a platform for the research. The data collection methodology is described, and concerns that arose prior to the primary research are also discussed. The primary data analysis then reveals that both men and women participate in short-term mission trips for social relationships, desires to learn, and their moral convictions.
McGhee, Kelsey, ""The Popular Thing to Do" Examining Young Evangelicals' Motivations for Short-Term Mission Trips" (2014). Honors College Theses. 138.