While the USMC rightly is able to call themselves “the few, the proud”, God please show us mercy when it becomes the same mentality within the Church. Jesus commands us to go to Jerusalem (our town), Judea (our region), Samaria (their region), and to the ends of the earth (no explanation required) carrying His message. But it seems like those who take that complete command are “the few, the proud”.
We compartmentalize that command. We stay in Jerusalem. We neglect our Jerusalem for the ends. While I believe Christ calls us to focus efforts by His Spirit’s leading, I also believe that a focus on one does not allow for a neglect of others. Participating in the work of Jesus in a complete and full way is the call He gives.
Many churches, including our, are really good at expounding the truth of scripture, studying it, and meditating on it. Many in the church know the commands of Christ inside and out. They know where He calls, how He calls, and why He calls. The world is in need of that slumbered multitude to start actively living what they already know.
Francis Chan, in less than 90 seconds, expresses this sentiment better than I can:
The truth is… that should end the debate. Just go. But many of us need reasons outside of the divine command and we want to know how it will affect us personally. So, in that vein, here are a few ways participating in missions in a complete or holistic way will affect you:
1. You will experience God.
Life is distracting. It is often a veil of chaos that keeps us from seeing the world as it truly is: darkness vs. light. God is the light bringing hope to the darkness. When we step out of normal routine and into the relatively new and unknown, the break offers us a glimpse to see unfiltered flashes of light fighting darkness.
If you find yourself frustrated with the numb way you and others seem to drift through everyday lives unaware of the spiritual battle that wages all around, go on a short-term mission and see God at work unfiltered.
2. You will discover like-minded people.
Weekend worship is always a great time to find those connections. But, other than worship, you get about 5 minutes to connect with the people at the coffee bar and around your seat. Then, it is time for lunch. It tends to be very shallow connection. Real connection happens outside the walls.
Mission trips allow you an opportunity to find like-minded people who are not just fans of the same team but are actually investing heavy energy on the same team.
3. You will foster family.
Common place, common mission, common work. Elbows rubbing elbows and mutual knees and hands getting dirty. Short-term missions give you a real chance to connect with other believers in a deeper way. They create relationships at deep level faster than anything I have ever experienced. It’s like pressure cooker fast.
When a goal is accomplished through sweat, blood, and tears, bonds are formed that last. I remember people from a mission trip 7 years ago that I haven’t seen since… but I would consider them family. Need a place to crash? Sure. You are family. That kind of connection doesn’t happen in shallow circumstances. Mission trips take you deeper.
4. You will fight your fears.
“Who me? I can’t do anything of significance!”
You know what? You are right. But, our infinitely significant God can do much more than significant. We just need to get past the mental hurdles that keep us from obeying the Lord’s command.
Just like jumping into a less-than-warm swimming pool. It may take you a minute to adjust, but very soon, the waters will feel like home and you will wonder why you spent so much time out of the pool. Jump in the pool.
5. You will expand your perspective.
Perspective is what everybody wants for everybody else. We want our neighbor to stop being selfish, but somehow we wouldn’t be excited if they had the same wants for us. Mission trips force us out of our bubble and into a totally different field of view.
Did you know that middle-class, garage-parking, Americana is standard in the world… or even this country? Far from it. It’s time to experience a new culture so you can first, broaden your understanding, and second, see how the gospel is beautifully universal to all people and all situations. A perspective change doesn’t require a 24 flight to India. It can be had with a 24 minute drive into the city. You don’t have to be rich or as strong as an ox. You just need to be willing.
6. You will glorify God.
I probably should have started with this one. This is our purpose and calling as human beings in the first place. Experiencing complete and full mission of Christ gives us a greater perspective of His glory. Being a part of that whole mission gives us the amazing opportunity to display His glory to another people. To be salt and light. To glorify Him not just with our lips, but with the deeds/works that give life to our faith.
Hopefully you know your geographical focus that the Spirit gives you (local, regional, other region, or ends). Continue to pursue it. As you do, short-term mission trips far and wide help us see the whole picture of Jesus’ ministry and pursue the whole calling of Christ.
Oh, I forgot to give you a seventh reason. I want to perfect the numerical list (bible nerd reference). Here is the seventh reason: You get to say “YES” to what Jesus is asking of you.
Now that… that is a perfect reason.
Next step if you are FAITH Family:
In the coming months we will be detailing our 2018 short-term mission opportunities. They will include another trip to India, construction and family ministry in the Appalachians, church plant support in New Hampshire, food prep work for a camp in south Florida, and others. We invite your questions or ideas emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are brave enough to jump into the pool right now, we have a the ability to take more on our 4 day Appalachian Service Project trip at the end of September. It is a Thurs-Sunday trip that costs $135pp. That includes your lodging, food, and all materials required to fix the homes you will enter. It really is an incredible short trip that will allow you to experience all 7 reasons to go.