It's so easy to plan. After a while you just drop into your routine - this is summer, must be time for VBS and a mission trip.
What is hard, really hard, is to stop and listen. And open yourself to God's searching Spirit. Why are you doing this? Whose glory do you seek? Are the people going prepared to do God's work wherever - are they doing it now?
"...the reason at the heart of each mission trip should be because Christ commanded his disciples to be servants, both to each other and to the world. He commanded the church to make disciples of all nations, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. When we participate in short-term mission trips, we're doing our part to fulfill those commands.From Youth Specialties site - this article by Jeff Edmondson
If that isn't at the heart of our mission encounters and if those commands don't shape our planning, then we've missed the point. And if we miss the point, it's a safe bet that our kids will, too. We don't do short-term missions for the fun and excitement, or because everyone else is doing it, or because we're told we have to go. We go to serve and share.
Jesus' ministry was a living example of what the Church should do. When he healed people in the streets, he served. When he went from town to town, he served. When he fed the multitudes with a handful of fish and bread, he served. When he sent out his disciples two-by-two, he sent them to serve. At the Last Supper, he became a servant to his disciples by washing their feet.
Then there's the Great Commission. In Acts 1, before he ascended into heaven, Jesus ordered his disciples to go out into the world and be his witnesses. When we take our youth group on a mission trip, we're taking Jesus to the world. Our mission trips should not only be about serving but they must also be about sharing Jesus with those to whom we minister. The world is capable of bringing charity to those in need, but the world can't offer Jesus."
So we need to make sure we are ready to go, THEN we decide where to go.
Jesus' ministry model seemed to set in motion a concentric circle of ministry action. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and then the uttermost.
What could we do here this summer?
- 3 backyard Bible clubs (neighborhood outreaches)& a weekending block party at each
- 2-3 light construction projects (cleaning yards, painting, building a wheelchair ramp, siding and roof work on homes here)(I think our contacts with the Older Americans council will provide the names of folks we can help)
- 3 service opportunities (movies in the park, running sound, lights, concessions, baby stations)(This should come together by next weekend if we can get the city and the Heritage Museum in partnership)
- 1 concert in the park by the Wayfarers Bluegrass band after a cookout and baptisms
- supporting a World Changer's team in the area with food and water
- and probably a bunch more I can't even think of.
I'm going in praying that others are looking locally as well as to places farther away. We may well still go to KY this summer, or somewhere closer, but Valparaiso is our Jerusalem so it's here we need to put the most effort during the whole 52 weeks that make up a year.