From the LYWB.com Team: To help you make the most of the next few months, we’ve pulled some posts from our archives about summer. Here’s one to help you decide if you should take a summer mission trip.
I love mission trips!
The experience, the ministry, the travel, the photos . . . I love all the good stuff mission trips are made of! But as summer approaches, we all need a reminder that missions and ministry are a lifestyle—not a trip to block off on our calendar each summer. Sharing our faith and ministering to the practical needs of others is something God calls us to do in our own backyard, 365 days a year.
Ministry can happen inside our homes just as easily as it can in a hut an ocean away.
Psalm 96:2–3 says, “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
Telling people about Jesus is something we should do daily. Ministry can happen inside our homes just as easily as it can in a hut an ocean away. With that bigger picture in mind, ask yourself:
Why do I want to go on a mission trip?
This is not a trick question. Before you agree to give a chunk of your summer and a chunk of change to a summer mission trip, take a minute to ask yourself why you want to go.
Here are some great reasons to go on a summer mission trip:
- You see it as an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20).
- You want to be a “doer” of the Word (James 1:22).
- You want to participate in the ministry work of your local church.
Here are some not-so-great reasons to go on a summer mission trip:
- You’re looking for an experience to give you a “spiritual high.”
- All your friends are going.
- You need a new mission trip T-shirt for your collection.
- You don’t have anything better to do.
Here are some bad reasons to go on a summer mission trip:
- A guy you like is going.
- You think going on a mission trip can earn you brownie points with Jesus. (You’re already the apple of His eye!)
- You think that in order to do missions or ministry, you need to leave your zip code.
Once you’ve examined your motivation and still want to go, let me encourage you to see a short-term mission trip as just one part of your ministry this summer.
Your Neighborhood, Your Mission Field
The Bible calls us to a lifestyle of ministry rather than a short-term scheduled event. That might mean heading somewhere exotic to minister to a foreign people group, but it also means serving your own family well (1 Tim. 5:8), investing in your local church (Gal. 6:10) and loving your neighbor (Mark 12:31).
Whatever else Jesus might have meant when He said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He certainly must have meant to show kindness to the people on your block. You don’t have to take many steps past your front door to demonstrate your faith to others.
We see this pattern in the life of Jesus. Yes, there were times that He went to a neighboring city to minister, but that wasn’t the only time He preached, taught, or reached out to those in need. He served others and talked about the kingdom wherever He went.
Beyond the Mission Trip
Can I encourage you to plan a mission summer? If an official mission trip or camp experience is part of the plan, that’s great, but don’t stop there. Plan ahead for ways to tell of God’s salvation from “day to day.”
- Is there a long-term volunteer opportunity that would give you opportunities to minister over the long haul?
- How can you devote yourself to prayer and ministry that last longer than a week?
- Can you talk to your pastor or youth pastor and ask them how you can serve in your church this summer?
Mission trips remind us that there are many people who need to hear about the love and grace of Jesus. But when we see our own space as a mission field, that part of the experience is available to us after summer and well beyond high school.
Here’s a thought to get you started: Name an individual or group of individuals in your town who need to hear about God’s love. What do you need to do to plan to impact them with the gospel this summer? Tell us about it below.
PS: Maybe a mission trip isn’t a part of summer plans but camp is. Don’t miss tomorrow’s post, “Dear Summer Camp Girl.”