I have been on several mission trips in my life.
One time, in particular, I remember being with a group of seminary students on a trip out of the country. During that amazing experience, many in our group talked seriously about wanting to move to this country for an extended time, maybe even shift life their plans and move permanently.
As much as I was inspired by the great work being done, my initial thought was that I probably wouldn’t be able to commit to moving there unless God called me clearly and dramatically to do so. In fact, there was a good chance that by the time I got back home into the regular routine, the amazing mission trip opportunity would just become part of my list of life experiences.
So I made another commitment – instead of committing to go for months on end, I committed right then and there to try and be a part of a mission trip each year.
I’m glad the Lord gave me this thought!
For the most part, I have participated in some sort of week (or weekend) mission most years since. The experiences have been varied. They have included Extreme Discipleship Weeks for a few years, trips to other parts of the country, a couple of international trips and community student ministry mission weeks with Harvest Ministry.
Over the last four or five years, our family has taken a week each year to go on a Family Ministry Trip. These trips do include lots of fun stuff, but also include music ministry in nursing homes, retirement communities, outdoor evangelistic events and music in other churches. These have been a blast for our family!
We need missionaries. I believe in mission work. The ongoing work of full-time missionaries is crucial to the church.
But we also need lots of people serving on short-term missions. It’s good for personal faith. It’s good encouragement for full-time missionaries. It’s good for the communities where we serve. It’s good for discipleship and raising up expectation and experience for students and participants.
I realize many youth groups and young adult mission trips are geared toward the experience, but I know God works in the hearts of people, the church is strengthened and the gospel is propelled in those times.
J.D. Walt once said, in worship we give to God and in mission we receive from God. This is why people return from short-term mission trips feeling like they were the ones who really received a blessing.
One could argue the Christian is on mission every day. We must always look for ways for God to use us. But we also need those times of going specifically on mission trips. They are a great opportunity to see faith in action first hand and to watch it grow.
Here’s a little bit from our trip to Haiti a few weeks ago.
And here’s a little update from a Family Ministry Trip a couple years back.
Possible Action Steps:
- Volunteer to serve on short-term mission trip
- Sign up to serve with your church student ministry on their next mission trip.
- Create a day-long mission opportunity and invite others you know to join you.
- Connect with a missionary you support and visit them or have them visit you.
- Pray for an opportunity to serve in mission.
I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.