If you were to go on a mission trip … why?
Over the years I have done my share of mission trips. I led many of these. Yet in recent years I have become more discriminate on the type of short-term mission project that is actually fruitful and productive.
- For several years, I had friends who took two-week trips to India. They were understandably exited to be personally leading over a hundred people to Christ every day. Over two weeks, their small team would lead five thousand to Christ. I asked, “So in a Hindu culture where they will readily accept Jesus into their worldview of 330 million gods, what is being done to follow-up and disciple these five thousand people?” Crickets.
- In recent days, I met someone preparing to go on a year-long mission trip. I checked out the organization she would be working with, and while the group is evangelical, the emphasis is on the adventure of it all and not on the work itself.
The allure of travel and adventure has always carried some appeal in planning a mission trip. I’ll confess that in my student ministry days, that was a part of my reason for choosing some of our locales.
But if the allure of adventure is what it takes to get me to do missions and ministry, I have to ask myself the hard question of why I want to go at all.
Are you eager to do the same mission work in your own neighborhood that you’re eager to do overseas?
I am NOT nixing the prospect of a mission trip, but don’t travel a great distance to do something in an exotic location that you are not already doing at home.
Let’s come at this from another angle. The best way to do missions is to begin at home. The world has come to your doorstep. Don’t go to the ones “out there” until you have reached out to the ones who have come to you.
One man was radically changed by his encounter with Jesus Christ. The man was so deep in sin and darkness that he was possessed. People were afraid of him and he was isolated from family and friends, forced to live in the city cemetery.
But Jesus changed all that. It was so radical that the people were still afraid, but only because the man was now different from the man he was before. Understandably, the man wanted to go with Jesus when He was leaving the area. But Jesus told him, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19).
Want to do missions? Start here: ““Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
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This post supports the study “Right Here, Right Now” in Bible Studies for Life.
Just to say thank you for your thoughts re: Mission Trips to do something that we are not willing to do at home. Yet, in some cases this opens up a new world in some people’s heart. I always asked our short term mission trippers to go home and keep being mission minded.
Thanks, Joe. I agree. I have seen some people radically changed from their involvement in a short-term mission project, so I am not dismissing the validity of going. The best groups I’ve seen are those who were adequately trained, even doing mission projects in their own community before going on the short-term trip.