by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2011
On the local TV station there’s a news segment where the anchor reports whether the newest greatest gadget passes real life testing and meets expectations of the marketing hype or fails miserably. Sometimes a mission trip can be the same way.
My friend Chris described the problems he encountered when he participated on his first mission trip, which was hosted through the men’s ministry department of his church. Many things were promoted for this “mission experience of a lifetime” but a major portion of them missed the mark so much that he still talks about it today.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize the single purpose of a mission trip is not about having a feel good event for those going, and that touching the lives of others who don’t know Jesus is the primary goal. Yet, God doesn’t want us to be solemn or grudgingly share ourselves just to complete an obligation. “And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:7b-8 NLT) Consequently, when we focus on our human failings and negativity, we hinder God’s power and blessings. It is only through our delight in HIS successes that we accomplish the mission trip objectives. In doing so, His Glory shines through us even brighter drawing more people to ask questions about the Lord long after the mission experience.
Over the next few posts, I’ll address some of the issues Chris mentioned to me so you will have the opportunity to avoid the same mistakes when planning and leading your own mission trip.
KESHER TIP (connection): You Don’t Need Gray Hair To Have Wisdom
I love the verse in 1 Timothy 4:12 that says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” Whether you are new to leading a short-term mission trip, or maybe this is your first time to go on one, embrace the learning process and chase after the information you need to ensure it is a successful one. The Bible tells us, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God’s Word and life’s experiences].” (Proverbs 3:13 AMP)