By Rich Jenkins
“Why do mission trips?” a member of my congregation asked, “They’re just
I couldn’t believe my ears. I was
dumbfounded. I confess I was momentarily angry, grieved that someone just
didn’t get it. Undoubtedly, many of our churches have a few unconvinced people
like this. And in some cases, this mind-set may have a discouraging effect.
I answered that question and others during a missions emphasis message and
experienced nothing but positive feedback.
“Why should we do mission trips? We already give to the Cooperative
Program, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® for North American Missions, and
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® for International Missions.”
Because the recipients of those Cooperative Program and missions offering
gifts—our NAMB and IMB missionaries—urgently request that we come alongside
them. I trust their judgment and support their calls for mission teams to come
do short-term projects. It generates excitement, captures the community’s
attention, and makes a noticeable impact when a group is willing to give of
themselves to serve people they’ve never met. If a missionary or church needs
help hosting a large scale, short-term event they believe will enhance their
long-term work, then I’m all for it. Many times the ministries of our
missionaries require outside assistance. It’s more than they can do alone.
Partnering together we can accomplish more for the glory of God.
“Isn’t it a waste of money?”
It often costs a lot to travel to a
distant city or another country to serve. But surely the salvation of a soul,
the spiritual growth and expanded vision for the participants, and the
encouragement and assistance provided to missionaries is well worth the cost.
It says something very meaningful to the recipients of the missions activity
when they realize that all these people paid out of their own pockets to come
and serve simply out of love. It’s the Lord’s work and as such is by no means a
waste of money.
“Why do we have to go somewhere else to do missions? Don’t we have needs
right here in our own area?”
Yes, we absolutely should do missions at home. A church can certainly do
both. We are given the biblical pattern of evangelism in Acts 1:8 where Jesus
said, “… you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and
to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus’ call to take the gospel doesn’t exclude the local community
(Jerusalem) in order to serve somewhere else in the state (Judea), North
America (Samaria) or overseas (the ends of the earth). His call is inclusive of
all and exclusive of none. This is not an either/or, but a both/and
proposition. Short-term mission trips are certainly an expression of that
“Isn’t it a glorified vacation?”
Mission trips are hard work. There’s so much to do and so little time to do
it. Not a vacation! I’ve been on several World Changers trips and associational
trips that involved light construction. I’ve never seen youth so ready to go to
bed! This is because they work hard throughout the day and worship intensely at
Yes, most mission trips usually provide a portion of one or two days to get
away from the work and go sightseeing. Such outings are a welcome and
much-needed break in the midst of a busy week but hardly constitute a vacation.
They also provide a more in-depth look at the culture you are serving.
So…Glorified? Yes, because God is glorified as people see the love of Christ
in action. Vacation? No, because on vacation we like to be served and enjoy
comforts. On mission trips we serve others and often forgo our own
Given the benefits for the participants and those they serve, short-term
mission trips are undeniably an effective part of the overall strategy of an on
mission church. OM
Rich Jenkins is pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Springfield,
What’s your mission choice?
The North American Mission Board has many opportunities for you or your
church to serve in short-term missions. The Bridge (www.thebridge.namb.net) is
an online volunteer/project management system where missionaries and churches
post missions opportunities and volunteers find places to serve. Here are more
ways to serve:
Operation Noah Rebuild is a partnership between New Orleans’ area
associations and churches, the Louisiana Baptist Convention and the North
American Mission Board. Skilled and unskilled workers are needed to help
rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Visit www.OperationNoah.net for
Wondering how you can leave a legacy of missions to your children and
grandchildren? How about a mission trip for the whole family. Families on
Mission is a pre-packaged, week-long family mission opportunity that allows
everyone to be on mission together. Visit www.namb.net/fom or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Every year Baptist Builders respond to hundreds of requests for church
construction assistance. Visit www.namb.net/bbuilders or email email@example.com
If you like the open road, Campers on Mission is your highway to spiritual
fulfillment. Campers on Mission is a national fellowship of Christian campers
who combine their love of the outdoors with ministry in North America. Ministry
opportunities are posted at www.TheBridge.namb.net. Visit www.namb.net/CampersonMission to
find out how you can join these active volunteers.
The North American Mission Board is the third largest disaster relief agency
in North America. State Baptist Conventions have trained more than 85,000
volunteers to respond to national and international disasters. To find out how
you can join this volunteer force, contact your state Baptist convention
disaster relief office. Also visit www.namb.net/dr.
Bring some comfortable clothes, grab a hammer, and get ready to work hard
and have fun. World Changers offers pre-planned, pre-packaged, week-long
mission projects for junior high and high school students, where you and your
team help fix up homes and serve low-income communities in many ways. As you
serve, you’ll have opportunities to share the love of Christ and tell others
how He’s transformed your life and wants to transform theirs! Visit www.World-Changers.net.
PowerPlant is a pre-packaged student mission experience that involves and
educates students in church planting and evangelism. At a project, students are
placed on ministry teams to work alongside a church planter. Visit www.Power-Plant.net to find out how you can
participate in this amazing ministry.
Student Mission Groups: Throughout the United States and Canada, hundreds of
Southern Baptist ministries need your help. You can find project needs in North
America by visiting www.TheBridge.namb.net. Need help planning
the trip? You’ll find free resources to assist you in planning the perfect trip
World Changers – World Changers seeks to provide a dynamic,
week-long missions experience for Christian youth and adults with opportunities
to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC