As a youth pastor, there are few things more integrated into the fabric of ministry than mission trips. For whatever reason, the ability to plan these events is required of my position. I would venture a guess that over 80% of churches currently searching for a “youth person” have leading a mission trip as an expectation.
I love mission trips. I love working with new people. I love watching teenagers grow through experiences that they have, and I love the fact that Jesus considered your next-door neighbor and a random person in Pakistan to be the people we are to be reaching. Anyone who has listened to a “missions” sermon or gone to a conference has heard someone use Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Usually this creates a bullseye image of circles where we are the center and each of those areas is further away. While for an individual, that is an accurate view, there is a better one, which provides a more hopeful and exciting view. The image that should be created is a pond on which rain is failing.
If you have ever looked at a pond during a storm, each rain drop creates a “bullseye” when it hits. That circle then expands and hits other circles from other raindrops. This image is what the Great Commission is at its core. My Samaria is someone else’s Judea … your ends of the earth is someone else’s Jerusalem. The best part is that everyone everywhere falls into multiple categories of Christ’s parting command.
So how are you helping to reach your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the world? It isn’t doing 25% of that, or even 75%, it is about seeking to be a part of 100% of the mandate. In 2017, Faith has so many ways to be a part of each of the “circles.” Maybe you can go one of the trips that are being offered or help support someone who is. Maybe you could jump in with a ministry that is working in our Judea or Samaria. Perhaps, you just need to bring a cup of coffee to a coworker that you know is struggling and allow them to know that you care and Jesus loves them.
Make 2017 the year that we strive to impact 100% of the Great Commission!