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Tuttle, Kathryn A. The Effects of Short-Term Missions Experience on College Students' Spiritual Growth and Maturity. Los Angeles: Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, 1998.

Summary:

Study of 131 students at 4 CCCU (Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities) schools found that most significant changes seemed to correlate with the quality of training and debriefing.

a)      Methodology:

The Belief and Commitment Scale (BCS) and the Faith Maturity Scale (FMS) were administered to 64 test participants both before and after they went on short-term mission trips, and also to 67 control participants. 20 students who had been on at least one STM were also interviewed.

b)      Results:

        Those who reported good to excellent training (38 respondents) also reported significantly higher mean change scores on the following BCS questions than those who reported non-existent, poor, or average training (22 respondents):

o       "I help others with religious questions and struggles."

o       "I accept people whose religious beliefs are different than mine."

o       "My life is committed to Jesus Christ."

o       "I go out of my way to show love to people I meet." --pp.246-47

        There were also significant differences between the same groups in their responses to the following FMS questions:

o       "My faith helps me know right from wrong" (good training/debriefing increased, bad group actually decreased).

o       "I go out of my way to show love to the people I meet." (both groups decreased, but bad debriefing group decreased more.)

o       "I think that Christians must be about the business of creating international understanding and harmony." (good debriefing group increased, bad decreased).

o       "I am thrilled when I see a person's life change because of Jesus Christ." (Good debriefing increased, bad decreased). -pp.247-49

        63% rated training as good or excellent, while 37% said it was nonexistent, poor, or average. -p.263

        67% rated debriefing as good or excellent, 33% said it was nonexistent, poor, or average. -p.263