Ive been to youth camp after youth camp and youth retreat after youth retreat,
but this is the first time Ive actually done missions rather than just talked
about it! Those words still ring in my ear, because they came from our teenage
daughter, Ashley, during my first year as president of the North American
After we joined a local church, we jumped in and got
involved. Though my travel schedule is always hectic, I decided some priorities
had to take precedence over work, especially shared experiences with my family.
We thought it would be great to do something on mission together.
World Changers is one of the most effective ministries at NAMB. World
Changers will involve more than 25,000 students and adults from churches all
over the continent who will participate in 87 summer mission projects in 73
cities in 2002. Students make a difference in peoples lives by repairing homes
in low-income neighborhoods and by participating in community ministries like
sports camps and Vacation Bible School.
You may think a week away together as a family would be a time to relax and
be lazy, but World Changers is just the opposite. Paying their own way, church
groups travel to a city where they stay in churches or school buildingsoften
not air-conditioned. Thats where they eat and sleep during the short nights
before they return each morning to resume painting and roofing houses,
dismantling and rebuilding porches, plus other ways to help residents living in
the hearts of our cities.
My wife, Cheryl, Ashley and I joined our church in traveling to Jackson,
Michigan. We thought it would be a cool and comfortable climate to do such
grueling work. Not so that year! Jackson had its worst heat wave in history,
and all of us felt it.
But every morning we jumped up early, headed
to our respective assignments (all three of us were on different work teams)
and put in a full days workand then some.
That weeks experience for the Lord accomplished something in our lives that
nothing else could have done. As we gave ourselves away in less than ideal
circumstances, God allowed us to experience doing it for one of the least of
these brothers of mine (Matthew 25:40). Most important, we had the privilege of
seeing people we were serving come to know Jesus Christ as Saviorright in the
middle of a work project.
As I look back, I realize one of the most incredible experiences of my life
was to share that mission trip with my youngest daughter. I wish Id had the
privilege of doing that with my other children.
Last summer, our churchs mission trip to Canada was another opportunity for
families to participate together. We worked with a newly planted church in one
of Canadas major cities, and the results were amazing. Our friend Janet Knight
told me the most powerful ingredient was to watch three generations of her
family working side by side to help a church in another country. The trip made
them a closer family, plus they returned with a shared understanding of what it
means to be on mission for God. Carol Stables and her son, Jeffrey,
traveled together on their first international mission trip. Carol said they
were stunned by the spiritual dryness of a country steeped in human secularism
and a whats-in-it-for-me culture. Carol and Jeffrey now pray for missions
around the world because of their shared experience in North America.
I learned a lot from those experiences:
Missions in ministry is more effectively caught than taught. Our children
need to see us doing it, not just hear us talking about it.
Everything in life is not of equal priority. As families we must decide how
were going to spend our time. I recommend making time to share a mission
Our kids will remember not what they hear us talk about but what they see us
do and experience together as a family. A mission trip can change your kids
lives...and yours too!
Bob Reccord is president of the North American Mission Board, SBC, and
author of Beneath the Surface: Steering Clear of Dangers that Could Leave
You Shipwrecked and Forged by Fire: How God Shapes Those He Loves
(Broadman & Holman, 2002 and 2000).
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC