I’ve been on a lot of mission trips in my life. Tennessee, Alabama, Mexico, my home state of Arkansas, and even my own hometown have been sites of mission trips I’ve taken part of. And as I’m leaving this week to go on a mission trip to Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore, OK, I can’t help but think about my past experiences with mission trips and what it really means to me to be mission-minded.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gone on trips in the past with the wrong attitude. And I’m not even sure that the way I view mission trips now will be the same as I do in a year, two years, or ten years from now. What I do know is that I love mission work, and I want to make the most of it. I want to do mission work the way God wants me to. I want to be mission-minded.
I’m happy to say I’ve never been on a boring mission trip. It’s always exciting to go to a new place and meet new people, or to go to a familiar place and see old friends. Mission trips are filled with engaging events that are meant to help you have fun and connect with others. I think that’s really awesome. Anyone who’s been on a mission trip can probably tell you stories about fun stuff that’s happened to them one of these kinds of trips.
But it shouldn’t all be about fun. I’ve been on mission trips where the focus was more on fun than on making any significant contribution to the people we were visiting, and though that may make for some great stories, it’s not nearly as meaningful and enjoyable as when you really put your heart and soul into making someone’s life better and showing them God’s love. Mission trips are called mission trips because you go there with a mission, a goal. And if that goal is simply fun, then you may was well call it a vacation.
The truth is that mission work does and should require sacrifice. People have to take off work and maybe even sacrifice time with their families to pay money to travel somewhere and do work for someone else. That’s a lot to give up. Not to mention the emotional and spiritual investments you make in the people you minister once you’re there. Mission-mindedness requires willingness to give a part of yourself in order to share God’s love with someone else. I think that’s a beautiful thing, and I think that’s the center of the way God desires for us to view mission work.
We can invest all the money we want. We can send as many people as we want. We can build things and paint things and cook things and donate things, and that’s all great. Every mission trip should have some of that. But ultimately, what people need is just for someone to sit with them, look them in the eye, and make them feel loved. Mission-mindedness is about showing God’s love to others by giving them our love. If you can do that, then your mission trip is an automatic success.
I love my church because it’s filled with mission-minded people. Not only when it comes to our annual mission trip, but even in the way we approach our local community. We try to meet people’s needs in order to show them God’s love through our service. That’s what mission-mindedness is about, whether you’re serving people at home or halfway across the world. It’s not about fun. It’s not about statistics. It’s not about anything more than spreading God’s love to people who desperately need it. I’m praying that I’ll be mission-minded this week at Hillsdale, and that I’ll take that mission-mindedness home with me and continue to show others just how much God loves them.
Thank you guys for reading this. Please be praying for our mission team at Hillsdale, and check back for more blog posts in the future!