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What do you call a missionary who thinks he’s on vacation? A vacationary!

The word “derisive” in the definition may be a little harsh. I’m probably going to change the first line of the definition to “A term for a person on a short-term mission trip… (etc.); the tone of the term may be either playful or derogatory.”


vacationary n. [vacation + missionary] A derisive term for a person on a short-term mission trip who may lack formal missionary or evangelistic training and who may be treating the trip as a vacation.
2006 MacDonald “On a Mission—a Short-Term Mission” USA Today (18 Jun.) : Judd Birdsall, former managing editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs, a Christian journal, grew up in Japan in an evangelical missionary home. Too often these days, he says, untrained short-term missioners—or “vacationaries”—offend indigenous populations and undermine hard-earned relationships cultivated by long-term missionaries over many years. 2008 Salmon “Churches Retool Mission Trips” Washington Post (5 Jul.) 13 : Not long ago, the families of Fairfax Presbyterian Church spent thousands of dollars to fly their teens to Mexico for eight days of doing good. They helped build homes and refurbish churches as part of an army of more than 1 million mostly Christians who annually go on short-term international mission trips to work and evangelize in poverty-stricken lands…. Critics scornfully call such trips “religious tourism” undertaken by “vacationaries.” 2009 Hoke, Taylor Global Mission Handbook 125 : And North Americans evidently have enough discretionary funds to travel the world on short-term service projects—and increasingly Latins, Asians, and Africans are doing the same. Many are questioning the entire venture, and perhaps with reason. Some call it mere “glorified sightseeing, funding vacationaries,” and wonder whether it’s worth the cost.
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