I have been on a lot of mission trips. I have built churches in Mexico, spent weeks in the Andes’ Mountains, and slept on the ground of an orphanage.
I’ve never shared Jesus with my neighbor.
I discovered something recently. Mission trips are sexy. They attract our attention. That is why you are likely to jump at the chance to go. Everyday evangelism lacks appeal.
Let me give you some examples:
- “Four weeks in the jungles of Brazil”
- “Help rebuild Haiti”
- “Dig wells in an African village”
- “Love street children in Thailand”
- “Spend a month with the underground church”
Maybe you have been on these. Maybe you are planning on going. I really want to go to Thailand, I heard it will forever change my life.
Is it possible that missions serves my purposes more than it serves the purpose of God?
Do not misunderstand me, global missions is needed. God might want you to go on all five trips. The world is in desperate need of his redemptive power.
Mission trips are attractive because they require only a week or two of commitment. I get to travel somewhere new and experience a new culture. I benefit.
What happens when the mission God has called you to, is not sexy?
- “Share the Gospel with your lab partner”
- “Start a Bible study for your intramural team”
- “Take your roommate to church”
- “Wake up early and pray for your professor’s salvation”
I think these fall under the category of “unattractive”. They are not eye-popping. They are unattractive because they require actual commitment. No one will celebrate or ask to hear about this mission trip. You cannot put it on a resume or share pictures with your church.
I believe the true test of the great commission is found not in the attractive but the unattractive. It is found in the mundane not the extraordinary.
Would our campus look different if we embraced the unappealing?
Why travel the world when I can walk across the street?
Good post here, Bryan. Particularly with, “Is it possible that missions serves my purposes more than it serves the purpose of God?” I think that short-term missions trips can be great and serve great purposes both in His kingdom and in the lives of those willing to go. Yet, I often wonder if the short-term missions movement has kept some (the needed some) from considering, pursuing and doing the work of full-time missions work. Again, it is not glamorous and the fruit is often not seen or seen much into the game, but it is needed.
Thanks Evan! I think you are right, we often settle for one week a year and many never consider that God might call them to go full-time. I’m glad you are serving God on the other side of the world!