Mission Trips Might Not Serve Local Needs, But They Do Serve God

Mission Trips Might Not Serve Local Needs, But They Do Serve God

"The fellowship and community that we share during a mission trip is all of the confirmation I need to know that this is what God wants us to be doing for that particular week."

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Mission trips are just one of the many things that Christians disagree about, but it tends not to be one of the "big" or "main" issues that people talk about. Some people see it as a minor issue compared to other, bigger things, but it's actually really important that we talk about it, so here I am, ready to talk about it.

Let me first say that I understand both sides of the argument surrounding whether or not we should go on mission trips and I don't want to try to change anyone's beliefs, just express mine. The argument against going away on mission trips makes sense to me. The most common thought process goes along the lines of "why go away on a trip to do work when there's so much to be done and so much need right here at home?" I get that. I see the need. I understand. But I think that anyone who makes that argument has never gone away on a mission trip, hasn't experienced what it's really like.

I have been on 6 (7 by the end of the month) mission trips and on each and every one, I've found that this single week out of each year is the closest I've ever felt to God, the most I've ever felt this kind of constant "yes" feeling, the feeling that I'm truly living exactly as He would have me live. That isn't a feeling I could get at home. At home, I wouldn't be able to put aside my regular job (which is an online job, meaning taking days off really doesn't happen) or other demands on my time like helping to take care of pets and my grandmother and the plants and honestly everything. In going away, it's much easier to truly set the week — the entire week — aside to do this work.

I think also that, if I was working at home, in my hometown/area, I would be more likely to be driven by the way doing all of this work looks, it's impact on my reputation. In a tiny town where everyone knows everything you do, this is an easy trap to fall into. But we aren't called to do work for our reputations, we're called to do work for God, His glory rather than our own. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't think I could do the work solely for His glory if I was doing that work at home.

I don't pretend to be a preacher or a theologian or anything of the kind, but I would say that there is Biblical backing to going away too. Though I am by no means anywhere close to as dedicated and faithful as Paul was, I can see some of his work in what we as a team try to do. Paul went on three huge mission trips during his lifetime, leaving behind his home to go out and share the Gospel of Christ.

The work that our team does isn't necessarily as large scale as Paul's work and it would be beyond prideful to say that it's on the same level, but I do think that we can look to his work as the greatest missionary to ever live (besides Jesus Himself) as a kind of precedent for what we do.

Jesus said Himself in Matthew, "go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19). For me, the most important word in that sentence is "go." I don't pretend to understand what God wants me to do even half of the time, but I have no doubts that our team is called to go, that this "go" is meant for us and so many others. And we see the proof of that in our time together, in our work and in our rest.

In our work, we see houses rebuilt and homes restored. I once saw a woman moved to uncontrollable tears by the gift of some cinder blocks. I saw an entire church get to worship in a building that they didn't think it would be possible for them to have. I have experienced firsthand what it looks like to find true, deep joy in something as small as leading Bible School kids through a ridiculous song. Our work might physically bless the homeowners and the people we are sent to serve, but it spiritually blesses us in a way that nothing else can.

In our rest, we find simple joy in being together. The fellowship and community that we share during a mission trip is all of the confirmation I need to know that this is what God wants us to be doing for that particular week. There was a guy last year who was on his first ever mission trip that said, when he looked around at all of us sitting, fellowshipping and genuinely taking simple pleasure in one another's company, "you know, I think this is what Heaven's going to look like." When he was asked about it later, he said that the level of fellowship we have on mission trips and the work that gets done for the Lord is exactly what he expects from Heaven.

I don't pretend to know anything that goes on between God and other people, but I know that for me, going away on mission trips is something that God has placed right in front of me deliberately. Yes, there is need in our home areas, but there is also the pressing call to go out, work, and share everything we've got with others in other areas. I can see both sides of the argument, but I can also see all of the things that I've experienced in my time going away on missions and can safely say that this place, so close to what Heaven looks like, is somewhere that I want to be.

Cover Image Credit:

Lily Snodgrass

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If You're A Millennial Christian, You Definitely Have A Relationship With Christ And These 19 Other Things

“Every Christian shall be addicted to La Croix” – John 3:16
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1. A lowkey tattoo



Probably on your ankle or wrist. Bonus points if it’s scripture or a cross.

2. Birkenstocks

You’re extra Christian if you wear them with socks.

3. A church camp fling

I don't know if it’s the fellowship or the fact that it’s never really allowed, but Christians LOVE a good camp romance.

4. Extra long Patagonia shorts

Modest is ALWAYS hottest

5. XL shirts (even though you probably would fit into a small)

Shirt or a dress? The world will never know… good thing you have those extra long Patagonia shorts!

6. A thicc study bible

So what if you never actually read the stuff at the bottom? The font is big and the bigger the Bible the closer to heaven, right?

7. Hipster glasses

Because apparently freedom in Christ means freedom from contacts

8. A large collection of Christian books

"Love Does," "Not a Fan," "Redeeming Love," "Popular," and "Everybody Always" are on pre-order. We have them all and copies to give to our friends

9. A nose ring

Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we can’t be ~edgy~

10. "Jesus Calling"

It likely sits by your bedside table at home, and you read it a few times a year.

11. La Croix

“Every Christian shall be addicted to La Croix.” –John 3:16

12. A Young Life t-shirt

Whether you have dabbled in Young Life or can name all the camps in a single breath, everyone owns one!

13. The skill to create a killer Instagram story

Spending time in the Word = Spending time creating some sick instastories for the followers. Simple.

14. A Jeep, Subaru, or Suburban

Squad rolls up to church in style

15. A deep love for podcasts or a sermon series.

Did someone say The Porch? Elevation? Passion?

16. A one-piece swimsuit

Two types of people in this world: people who try to make a one-piece cute and people who rock the OG Speedo

17. The Church Clap

It’s not a Christian party until the church clap breaks out. The Holy Spirit loves to dance!

18. A social media cleanse

Whether you gave it up for lent or just felt compelled to give it up for a season, everyone has done it. Bonus points if you alerted your followers about it beforehand in a super long post. Bonus bonus points if it ended after a week.

19. Chacos

Single strapped or double. Toe strap or none. We don’t discriminate!

20. A relationship with Jesus Christ

Although it's funny to make fun of the random stuff a lot of Christians do (and don’t do), what really matters is our relationship with Jesus. I know a lot of Christians who don’t fit this stereotype, and that is totally okay! Doing these things isn’t going make you a better Christian, but spending time in the Bible every day will!

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Rose Fuller

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The Truth About Politics In Religion And How It Affects Our Relationship With God

They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

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It's evident that religion can and has been used in politics from the values of voters and leaders. However, to use your religion or your relationship with God for making political decisions doesn't share the same meaning.

I've always loved finding all the best facts and research for argumentative work but I couldn't pursue that approach for this topic. Why? Because I've experienced the pattern in my relationship with God of how God defies logic.

God can't be contained to a definition or explanation. I liked the way I've heard one leader express that, "If you hear someone trying to explain to God as if he knows then he's a fool before he starts talking". That's a paradox within itself.

I've learned more recently to identify that the two sides of the paradox that you might wrestle with in understanding God are both true. That, yes, His hands are big and He knows exactly what to do to make you surrender but you'll also find no greater love than with Him because He has the biggest heart and knows what you need better than you do.

I think that accepting this paradox will differentiate between those that view politics religiously versus those that view it from 'what is God trying to do here'? The one that focuses on seeking 'what is God trying to do here?' would represent those with a relationship with God. This doesn't mean that referencing the laws of God exempts you from having a relationship but the love of God is the strength that sustains the relationship over the law. This is also a bit of a paradox because they're both important in Christianity.

There's the difference from seeing God as one-sided which is very prideful, limiting and incorrect compared to recognizing that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

I believe that what we believe and how we see God will bring limitations or provision on how we can be used in God's plan for His kingdom on earth when it comes to the way the world is run.

God, our relationship with God and the law of God all have to be considered in the things we do as Christians.

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