YOU MUST GO
The mission trip is certainly not a new concept in the church today. However, I feel like it has, in large part, lost its luster so to speak. We talk about it occasionally; we hear from others that have gone talk about their experiences for a few minutes from time to time; our pastor may mention it here and there but it seems that very few churches place any sort of emphasis or need for people to go on mission trips. We like to think of a myriad of excuses for why we can’t go. The biggest one I hear is that it costs too much money. Of all the other excuses this is the one that bothers me the most. We talk about it as if it’s up to us to make it happen. But where’s the faith? If you think god wants you to go on a trip do you think he won’t also provide the way to get there? If we really believe that everything in the world is already his then certainly he can provide the amount necessary to “go to all nations”?
As Christians, we need to be seeking God and looking for where He wants us to serve. We should also be looking for opportunities to serve over seas. David Platt, in his book Radical, challenges his readers to spend a couple of weeks outside of America. His reasoning is for the perspective that being in another culture can provide. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Not only for the culture but also because I believe that we are much more likely to experience God’s presence on a mission trip. In my experience, I don’t need God very much here in the USA. Let’s face it, even amongst the poorest of us, our needs are met. But, when you step off that plane and enter another country, another culture, another world nothing feels normal. It is in that instance that you are vulnerable and that is precisely when we give God the most availability into our lives. I think about Peter stepping out of the boat; Joshua marching around Jericho; David facing Goliath with a sling; or Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego and the furnace. They all did something that seems patently ridiculous all because they believed in the power of God. Did they know how it was going to end? No, but they knew choosing God was better than choosing their fears.
In my first mission trip my wife and I went with a small group of people to Myanmar to train pastors and church leaders. We were going to be there for two weeks and I wasn’t all that comfortable speaking in front of groups really to begin with but felt like God wanted me to go. A few days into the trip, on Thursday, the leader said he needed someone to speak at a church on Sunday and he looked straight at me and asked if I would do it. I must have looked like a deer in headlights for a moment trying to figure out what was going on. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking but I said yes, looking back it may have been the Holy Spirit talking instead of me. So, here I am giving me first sermon ever, in a different country through a translator, and I was scared out of my mind. And that’s the point, when you get out of your comfort zone, you will have no other option than to choose God. And he will not disappoint you.
Short Term Journeys are a great way to get people excited about missions, the church, and God. When you go you will get connected with people on a whole new level. You will get new friends and family that live all over the world. Suddenly, missions won’t feel like a distant thing others do. When you hear about what is happening in the places you’ve been you’ll actually feel what they’re experiencing because you have first hand knowledge of the people and the place. It’s great for the church because you’ll come back different and excited about what God is doing. The experiences that you learn as you go will change the way you see the world and can impact how you serve here at home.
So, now what? Go see where your church is serving and find out if/how you can get involved. Pray that God will show you where he wants you to go. Think about different countries or people groups that you might feel a certain affection for. If that’s the case, find out if there are any groups that you could get together with already in those areas. Remember, the harvest is great but the laborers are few. If you ask God to send you, you can be sure he won’t say no.
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