Many churches have started placing a greater importance on its members going on mission trips. With the ease and affordability to travel, many churches are able to send adult teams as well as youth groups on short-term mission trips to work with missionary families or churches.
Maybe you participated in a mission trip when you were in youth group, or you may have worked with your church doing some local community mission work. Since then, you may have lost touch with the importance of mission work, and short-term mission trips. The truth is, mission trips are a vital part of the body of Christ. As an adult who works full-time, it may be difficult for you to give up a week of hard-earned vacation for a trip like this, but here are four benefits to serving on your break.
Living Out God’s Word
I mentioned in an earlier article God’s missionary commission for His disciples. Because Christians have entered into the fold of God’s family, one of our duties as Christians is to proclaim the good news. Mission trips are important and necessary according to Scripture (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 10:14). Missionaries spread the gospel to places that may not have heard the story of Jesus. Moreover, mission trips often meet immediate needs for those experiencing tragedy or loss.
Beyond Your Red, White, and Blue Comfort Zone
Mission trips expand our worldview. Often, I feel like our faith is “Americanized.” In America, especially in the Bible Belt, we treat church as another social norm. We make sure to go for Christmas and Easter services. We may even go weekly or monthly to see and be seen. Christians in persecuted countries do not have this luxury and tend to worship in homes, hidden from the outside world. Admittedly, some of us view church as that building with the steeple and the pretty stained glass. While it is a blessing to have a nice building, it is not a requirement to advancing the Kingdom of God.
We may also have a habit of viewing our church and faith in light of our political views and patriotism. While it is important for us to align our political views with Scripture, political leanings and love for country should never overshadow the Word of God and the message of the gospel. Mission trips can break our mold of how we view the church. Through them, we can begin seeing the Church, not as a building, a social gathering, or a stage for politics, but as Scripture often explains it: the body of believers. This body is where we can find ourselves richly awakened to the reality of the Christian faith. All the unnecessary can be stripped away, and still God’s Word and His people will remain.
Heavenly Work and Worship
Worship and church in other places can look very different than what we are used to seeing. When we exceed the walls of our country, we expand our view and understanding of how vast and deep the body of Christ really is. I believe that when we see other believers working and worshipping together in different venues, languages, and contexts than we are used to, we get a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like.
Christ’s Love and Faithfulness in Action
A few years ago I was able to go on a short trip to Honduras. I served in an orphanage there and was blown away by the love of God I saw in the faces of those children and adults. They were quick to embrace and warmly welcome my mission partner and me upon meeting us for the first time. My life was blessed by encountering Christians in true pursuit of understanding the Bible better.
The missionary families that I worked alongside in Honduras not only show the true, unconditional love of Jesus Christ to the people around them, but they also live out their faithfulness by being open to wherever God placed them.
The next time you notice that you have some vacation time to spend, ask yourself, “Do I want a vacation or a life experience?” If your answer is the latter, consider seeing the world through the eyes of service. Many churches offer mission trips once or twice a year. If yours does not, research the local churches around you to see about going with them. You can also investigate to see if your church’s denomination has a missions agency and apply with them. Experience the joy of serving others and Christ.